For want of $500 in repairs, the Porter County Courthouse was destroyed by fire on Dec. 27, 1934.
It was a spectacular fire that changed the face of downtown Valparaiso.
Firefighters from as far as Gary and LaPorte raced to Valparaiso to fight the fire. A LaPorte firefighter’s face was frozen while driving the firetruck without a windshield in subzero weather. A LaPorte firetruck overturned on the way back to LaPorte, injuring four firefighters.
Several other firefighters were injured while fighting the fire, said Kevin Pazour, executive director of the Porter County Museum.
The building was a costly loss. In 1886, the county auditor put the building's final cost at $157,348.10 — about $4.3 million in today’s dollars, Pazour said. Among the contents lost were valuable murals in the circuit courtroom, where the fire apparently began, along with records of current and previous trials and some tax records.