Situated in Lake County, Hammond is part of the Chicago metropolitan area. The city’s lower cost of living compared to neighboring Illinois, industrial employment and commitment to green space combine to make it an attractive place to live.
The first permanent settlers in Hammond were German farmers who arrived in 1847. The second-oldest city in Lake County, Hammond derives its name from George Hammond, who established a meat-packing plant there in 1869. Hammond’s slaughterhouse was the first industrial facility in the area. The town incorporated in 1884; Marcus Towle became the first mayor.
Hammond’s population of 80,851 makes it the most-populated city in Lake County. Manufacturing accounts for 16.2 percent of industry; industry includes steel, petroleum products, corn products and soap. The top employer is St. Margaret Hospital. The median household income is $38,396.
Four districts comprise Hammond’s cityscape: North, South and Central Hammond and Hessville. Architecture ranges from the Founding Fathers' historic homes to modern designs and styles. Median home value is $96,900; median rent is $754.
Public education consists of 14 elementary, six middle, seven high and three middle/high schools. Ten private schools are available. Calumet College of St. Joseph and Purdue University Calumet offer secondary education. Worship opportunities include the First Baptist Church of Hammond, one of the largest congregations nationwide.
Geography and Climate
Covering 24.8 square miles, the city sits within prehistoric Lake Chicago, the precursor to Lake Michigan. Wolf Lake straddles the boundary between Hammond and Chicago, Ill. The Grand Calumet and Little Calumet rivers flow through the city.
I-90 and I-80/94 are the major highway routes; Amtrak provides service twice a day. Public transportation includes the South Shore Line, an interurban commuter rail, and bus transit via the Northwest Indiana Regional Bus Authority.
Hammond’s climate brings warm summers and cold winters. Average summer temperatures hover around the low to mid-70s; December through February temperatures are in the 20s. The city receives almost 39 inches of precipitation a year.
Things to Do
The city’s annual Festival of the Lakes offers a variety of activities; cultural entertainment includes a symphony and the Towle Theater. The Hammond Civic Center hosts entertainment such as the Orak Shrine Circus, and visitors to the John Dillinger Museum can learn about the life of the Depression-era gangster and the birth of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The International Cultural Festival highlights the city’s ethnic communities.
Horseshoe Casino offers a selection of restaurants, gaming and entertainment, and Cabela’s outdoor sporting goods store provides shopping fun in its 185,000-square foot facility. The Woodmar Shopping Mall features boutiques and discount retailers.
Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the 131-acre Gibson Woods Nature Preserve. The city’s recreation department maintains a number of parks that offer cross country skiing, ice skating, bikeways and hiking trails in addition to picnic facilities, fishing, miniature golf and other activities.
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