Merrillville, Indiana is a town with a fascinating history. It was once the home of the Potawatomi Indians, who used a clearing in the forest for ceremonial purposes and named it McGwinn Village. In 1834, a white man named Jeremiah Wiggins settled there and the village was renamed Wiggins Point. The area quickly grew in popularity and became known as Centerville.
In 1848, the post office changed the name to Merrillville in honor of Dudley and William Merrill, two brothers who left their mark on the community. The town of Merrillville included a store, a blacksmith shop, a cheese factory and the California Exchange Hotel. In 1876 and 1880, two railroads crossed through Merrillville, connecting it to Chicago markets. During World War II, Merrillville was a typical Midwestern farming community.
At that time, there was only one black family living in Merrillville and they faced discrimination from their neighbors. In 1957, Beverly Wells became the first black woman to graduate from Merrillville High School. Today, Merrillville is a thriving city with a population of over 35,000 people. It is home to many businesses and attractions such as Deep River Waterpark, Star Plaza Theatre and the Southlake Mall. The city also has several parks and recreational areas for residents to enjoy.
Merrillville is an important part of Indiana's history and its story is one that should be remembered and celebrated. From its humble beginnings as McGwinn Village to its current status as a thriving city, Merrillville has come a long way in its journey.