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Crown Point Sheriff's House –
Haunted Place: The Crown Point
Sheriff's House and Jail Building
226 South Main Street
The Crown Point Sheriff's House and
Jail can be found just off the main town square within walking distance
of the Courthouse. The town of Crown Point was established in the Northwest
corner of Indiana, about 35 miles southeast of Chicago and only 15 miles
from the Lake Michigan shoreline.
As of June of 2007, the house was closed, due to renovations being done in the rooms of the house itself, but will open again for tours when the work is complete.
In 1882 The Sheriff's House was built
to serve a succession of elected sheriffs for 76 years until 1958. It
is a two story brick building designed in second empire Victorian style,
complete with deeply sloping mansard roofs. Thanks to the efforts of the
Sheriff's House Foundation of Indiana, the building is currently being
refurbished and renovated. The Northwest Indiana Building and Construction
Trades Council has been generous in this effort by donating workers and
materials for needed plastering, carpentry, electrical, roofing and other
areas needing a facelift.
The large two story brick jail with
its own tall chimney, is located in the back of the building. It isn't
in very good shape inside, but it too is having work done so it can be
used for storage but still won't be part of the tour for the public.
Tom and I visited this building on our road trip of 2007. At sunset when we arrived, the house and jail was much larger, spookier and imposing than the pictures on their web site led me to believe. While it was closed, we peaked into the large front window, and saw the plaster work which was being restored.
YIkes! Tom's pictures do catch the real aura and character of this fine Victorian building, and the spookiness of the place comes through loud and clear.
Indiana 1926, a large two story brick jail
building was added on to the Sheriff's House, making it more convenient
to keep an eye on people in custody; bringing work home from the office,
so to speak. Thus the back part of the Sheriff's House was called the
Lake County Jail.
This Lake County Jail became known
as the place from which John Dillinger made his fantastic escape in 1934.
After John Dillinger was caught by authorities in Tucson, Arizona, on
January 30th, 1934, Lake County was first in line to drag him into court
for a trial, because he was involved in a bank robbery where innocent
people were killed.
Bank robber/gangster John Dillinger
knew he was headed for death if he remained in the hands of the state.
While in custody in this jail, he used the materials at hand to help him
temporarily foil the wheels of justice. Using jail-issued razor blades,
John carved a gun from a wooden washboard, staining it with black shoe
polish. He then threatened his guards with the fake gun, helped himself
to a real automatic, and took hostages temporarily to ensure his escape
to Illinois. All this was for nothing as it didn't get him very far. The
following Sunday after his bold escape, John Dillinger was killed by Federal
officers outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago.
Though this jail was closed since
the 1970s, An entity or two is stuck.
Perhaps a prisoner is still being
held here, though in reality was freed long ago from this period of time
of being in custody in this jail. Personal reports from the living and
photos taken of a jail window and inside the building point to this being's
Or perhaps, the entity is of a guard
or a law officer who was fooled by Dillinger's fake gun.
1) Back Portion of the Crown Point
Sheriff's House Building.....Lake County Jail
a) Cell doors have the habit of
opening and closing by themselves.
b) Some unseen entity seems to be
trying the bars of cells, looking for a loose one because the living
have heard the bars rattling in cells with no living person in sight.
c) As is the case in other haunted
places, the unseen entity is fascinated with electricity and likes to
turn the lights on and off.
d) Voices and footsteps have been
heard in here, when no one living is anywhere near the jail area.
Pictures taken by ghost hunters from
Northwest Indiana Ghost Trackers during their April 6th, 2000 paranormal
investigation point to the fact that this jail is haunted by one or two
entities. When blown up, some pictures clearly show an apparition standing
by one of the jail's barred windows, looking outside to the camera, and
an apparition standing in the jail area in a picture taken inside the
Indiana the second picture below, taken by Tom, I wonder if that is an orb over the table?
Crown Point Sheriff's House and Jail Building pages on AOL
Photos © Tom Carr