|Open Saturdays and Sundays
April-mid November with special Christmas hours
5250 U.S. Hwy 6
(mailing address P.O. Box 305)
(across from Camelot Bowling Lanes)
Portage, IN 46368
762-8349 (during Museum hours)
or 762-1675 (Portage Parks Department)
Named for one of the members instrumental in getting the museum built, the Alton Goin Museum sits peacefully in the 33-acre Countryside Park on U.S. 6 in Portage. The Museum was built with community support and volunteers, showing just how much historical preservation means to the people of Portage.
As the Historical Society's collection of antiques and memorabilia grew, so did the need for more space. Until the completion of this new museum, the Trager Farmhouse was used to display exhibits. The Alton Goin Museum was dedicated in June of 2003 and now houses many wonderful antiques, most of them relating to Portage area history. When you come to visit, you can see such exhibits as a miniature model replica of parts of the city, Indian artifacts and reproduced clothing, one of the old Township fire engines, and Portage High School memorabilia. Take a look at some highlights of the Museum's collection. The Museum also sells informational booklets such as the new one showcasing historic homes in Portage. Stop by and take a look!
Left: 2005 before the Renovation. Right: Nov. 28 Open House after the Renovation.
More than a hundred years ago, Charles and Elizabeth Trager moved into a two-story, timber-framed farmhouse in Portage Township. As was typical of the day, their home had neither electricity, nor indoor plumbing, nor any other modern conveniences. Nestled in what is now known as Countryside Park, the old Trager farmhouse still stands--a reminder of days gone by.
The Trager Farm Historic Restoration Project, started in 2004 by the Portage Community Historical Society, is the Society's way of preserving this piece of history for generations to come. A grant was awarded to the Society to restore the Trager home to its original late nineteenth/early twentieth-century style. The renovation of the building itslef was completed in the fall of 2006. The house was officially opened on Nov. 28 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and Christmas Open House. The Trager home will eventually become a living history exhibit. What did people wear back then? What kinds of chores did they have to do? How did they cook their food? What did they do for fun? You'll be able to find out what life was like on a working turn-of-the-century farm.
The original barn was also slated to be repaired and modernized. Unfortunately, it was completely destroyed in a fire in the summer of 2005 that also damaged the milkhouse and tool shed. The Society, the Park Dept., the architect, and the builders finalized the floor plans for its reconstruction in late 2006. A new barn now stands at the spot--one big enough to house such larger display items as plows, buggies, and other farm staples.
The Society had the milkhouse and tool shed repaired, as well. It also added another building to the property--an outhouse. No working turn-of-the-century farmhouse would be complete without one. Sears and Roebuck catalog, anyone?
The Society just didn't have the resources to restore the Civil War-era Linden log cabin it got from the National Lakeshore. The wonderful people at the Kankakee Valley Historical Society were able to transport it to their location where it will be beautifully restored as part of their historical complex.
While you're visiting the Museum, take time to enjoy the natural surroundings, too. The historic buildings and the Alton Goin Museum are situated in Countryside Park, one of the Portage Parks Department's many beautiful and relaxing parks. Purchased in 1984 by the City of Portage for drainage improvements, the park has been turned into a peaceful farm-like setting. The Prairie Duneland Trail also passes through part of the park, making it a great place to stop for a break. Bring the family out for the day. Explore the history of Portage, fish in the stocked lake behind the Museum, hike the Trails, or come out to Countryside Park in the winter to sled down Portage's largest sledding hill! Picnic tables and portable, outdoor restroom facilities are conveniently located.
Park, Museum, Buildings
History of Portage
Want to Become a Member?
Created by Donna Smith for the Portage Community Historical Society
First Posted Oct. 19, 2005. Last Updated June 11, 2014.
Please e-mail me with comments, problems, or suggestions.