Miller Historical Society 06/01/11
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The Shifting Sands

Miller Historical Society’s Newsletter

Hello resident or friend of Miller Beach! 


As you may already know, this month marks the one year anniversary of the founding of Miller Historical Society. MHS was incorporated on June 29, 2010 as a non-profit, 501(c)(3) community organization with the aim of preserving the rich history & heritage of the Miller Beach Community. MHS remains devoted to educating the public about our history as well as the fascinating architectural and cultural diversity of the Miller/Aetna area.

Our first year was quite busy for MHS. Last summer, the MHS community outreach booth was a fixture at The Miller Beach Farmers Market. We spent the time at the Market passing out informational pamphlets, Signing up new members and entertaining market goers with our Miller History Quiz. Fall and winter were also focused on community outreach and growing our membership. During the 2010 holiday season MHS partnered with the Miller Improvement Group and Rabbi Eliezer Zalmanov from Chabad of Northwest Indiana to bring the new tradition of an interfaith Miller Community holiday display to Lake Street. The 2010 holiday display featured a newly planted, decorated and lit live Christmas tree along with a six foot tall illuminated Hanukkah Menorah. 

In early 2011, MHS began its History Lecture Series with our first two presentations, “The History of the South Shore Line” & “African Americans in Miller Beach.” Of course, spring was capped off with the Miller Town Hall Centennial Celebration, April 30th. 

As we now move into our second year, Miller Historical Society looks forward to building stronger connections within the Miller Beach community. If you are interested in becoming a member or would like to learn more about the history of our great lakefront area please join us! All new friends and old members alike are invited to attend our monthly meetings. Meetings are held at 12:30pm on the fourth Saturday of every month at the Miller Branch Library on Lake Street. We look forward to seeing you there!

This will prove to be an important and dynamic year for Miller Historical Society. We remain hopeful that working together with the help of our community partners & friends, The Miller Improvement Group, Miller Citizens Corporation, Miller Beach Arts and Creative District, our First District Councilperson and the new city administration, we can protect the history of Miller Beach and facilitate the preservation of a beautiful but endangered Miller landmark, Historic Miller Town Hall.



Miller Town Hall Centennial Celebration!
Cullen B. Daniel, President of MHS gives a presentation on the history of Miller Town Hall and the Miller/Aetna Community

Saturday, April 30th MHS sponsored the Centennial Celebration for Miller Town Hall. We wished the historic building a happy 100th birthday with an “Olde Fashioned Birthday Party” including music, pointy party hats, a Miller Trivia game and of course free food! The menu included all beef hot dogs, grilled Portabella mushrooms, assorted chips & soda pop, and of course a rather large birthday cake!

Throughout the day more than 50 people attended the celebration including several Mayoral candidates as well as four of the five candidates then running for First District Councilperson, Lita Iatarola, Robert Leonard, Michael Shawn Sanders and Marlyn Krusas .

Current MHS member Susan Wood, a former Miller resident and one-time Lake Street and Shelby Street business owner, took the award for farthest distance traveled. Susan flew in all the way from San Antonio, Texas with her grandson to attend the celebration.
The celebration marked 100 years since the Miller Town Hall building, designed by noted Gary Architect JJ Verplank, was completed in April 1911. This historic building first served as the seat of government for the Town of Miller, Indiana. Following the annexation of the Town of Miller by the City of Gary, the building went on to serve as the Miller area’s firehouse until 1975 when it was converted into a a civic center. In recognition of its historic significance, the building was appointed to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 by the United States Department of the interior.

Miller Historical Society is devoted to the preservation of this historic and architectural gem. Our goal is to facilitate a historic restoration of building and reopen the Town Hall to the public as the Miller History Museum. Our vision is that the new museum will serve as a Welcome Center for the Miller Beach Community as well as a venue for local visual and performing artists.    


New Signage for Miller Town Hall & Independence Day Celebration
Thanks to efforts from MHS, historic Miller Town Hall now has signage


 In commemoration of the Centennial of Miller Town Hall, Miller Historical  

Society dedicated and placed this new temporary plaque at the historic landmark. The plaque replicates the shape and design of the old hand painted “Welcome to Miller” signs that once greeted visitors at the main entrances to the community. MHS is currently raising funds to replace the plaque with with a permanent bronze marker acknowledging the history and significance of this National Register of Historic Places site. If you would like to donate to this cause, please send a check payable to Miller Historical Society, P.O. Box 2723 Miller Beach, Gary, Indiana 46403 and indicate that you wish to donate to Historic Marker Fund.

In honor of Independence Day and to celebrate the first anniversary of the founding of our Society, MHS will be hosting a community picnic at Old Miller Town Hall on Saturday July 2, at 2:00pm. Come on out and join the celebration for family fun, free food, music and good times.  


MHS Lecture Series 
Pavillion construction
Marquette Park Pavillion under construction 1921

The mission of the Miller Historical Society is to preserve and protect the rich history of Miller Beach and the adjacent Duneland communities. In order to do this effectively, MHS promotes an appreciation of the history of the Miller-Aetna area through delivering engaging exhibitions, publications and public programs, collecting and preserving local heritage and culture, and supporting historical research. Our MHS Summer Lecture Series was created for this purpose. This summers first lecture, entitled “From Marshes to Marquette Park, how innovations in engineering and architecture transformed swamps and swale into the crown jewel of Miller’s lakefront” will be held Wednesday, June 22nd at 7:00pm at the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education,  200 N. Lake St. Admission is free and light refreshments will also be served free of charge.


Once again, thanks to all our friends, volunteers and community partners for making this first year so wonderful & memorable. We at “The Society” look forward to another year of working together with all of you as we strive to save the history of Miller Beach from the Shifting Sands of Time!



Cullen B. Daniel President/Curator
Miller Historical Society

In This Issue
Miller Town Hall Centennial
New Signage for Miller Town Hall
MHS Lecture Series
Quick Links

Featured Article
Miller Town Hall’s 100th Birthday Cake



Save $5
Become a Member of the Miller Historical Society Today
 and Save $5!!! Regular yearly membership dues for MHS are $15. Join today with this coupon for only $10

Coupon can be printed and sent along with $10 membership dues to Miller Historical Society PO Box 2723 Miller Beach, Gary, Indiana 46403
Printer Busted? Simply write “Shifting Sands Newsletter Coupon” on a piece of paper and enclose with dues.

Offer Expires: July 30, 2011
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