Bailly Homestead & Chellberg Farm Trails
|Little Calumet River / Bailly Chellberg Trails. pdf||472.38 KB|
The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Indiana Dunes State Park has a large number of trail systems spanning across three Indiana counties from East Chicago to Michigan City. These trail systems offer many types of trails for virtually every trail activity one could want.
One such trail system is the Bailly Homestead & Chellberg Farm Trails, snuggled between Highway 12 and Highway 20 in Porter County, Porter Indiana. Rich with the history of the Northwestern Indiana settlement and 19th Century farming practices to a diverse natural environment makes this trail system an interesting and educational adventure for all ages.
This easy to moderate hiking trail consists of two loops with extensions connecting to the Little Calumet River Trail and the Indiana Dunes Environmental Learning Center totaling 2.1 miles of shady woods, ravines, wetlands and grassy meadows, and a one way trail that leads to the Bailly Cemetery. There are boardwalks (some with stairs) that allows for close viewing of the wetlands and for easy crossing of ravines. The trails are wide with a natural surface of dirt, bark and some sand and are relatively flat with benches and interpretive signs throughout. The shorter loop can be hiked in about 30 minutes while it may take several hours to complete the longer loop and extensions. The hiking experience changes with the seasons giving one an opportunity to witness the beautiful fall colors, blooming spring flowers, lush green summers or snow covered winters as the trails are open year-round.
Along the trails are opportunities to visit the Bailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm. The Bailly Homestead is a National Historic Landmark and was acquired by Joseph Bailly, the first known non-native settler in northwest Indiana. The Homestead consists of the main house which was built in the 1830’s, a two story log cabin which was used as a summer kitchen then later served as a chapel, a store house, and a brick house built in 1874, the ground floor was a kitchen and the second floor a studio. Bailly Cemetery (just north of the complex) is considered a family graveyard; however, there are numerous gravesites outside the Bailly family. The first recorded burial was Robert Bailly, son of Joseph Bailly, although there are tombstones dated as early as 1811.
The Chellberg Farm is a living history and working farm. Representative of a typical turn of the century Swedish and Northwestern Indiana farm, volunteers re-enact what life was like during that time. The original house burned in a fire in 1884 and was replaced by the brick house that now stands in its place. The new house was built in 1885 and the land was farmed by three generations of the Chellberg family. The farmhouse is wheelchair accessible as is the trail leading to the farmhouse.
Parking, restrooms and a picnic shelter are available at the Bailly/Chellberg Visitor Center. The main trailhead is also located at the visitor center.
Article by Norma Snyder