LaPorte County is a county located in the U.S. state of Indiana. As of 2010, the population was 111,467. The county seat is the city of LaPorte. This county is part of the Chicago metropolitan area, Northwest Indiana and Michiana. The largest city is Michigan City. It is included in the Michigan City-La Porte, IN Metropolitan Statistical Area.
LaPorte County was formed in 1832. La porte means "the door" in French. French travelers or explorers so named the area after discovering a natural opening in the dense forests that used to exist in this region, providing a gateway to lands further west.
Before white settlement, all of the land that forms modern-day LaPorte County, and adjacent Starke County to the south belonged to the Potawatomi Indian nation. These Indians were forcibly removed to Kansas by the United States government in 1838, and many died on what survivors called the Trail of Death.
When the county was initially proposed and organized, its boundaries did not extend as far south or east as they do today. A section of land north of the Kankakee River originally belonged to Starke County. However, residents living in that area had difficulty crossing the river in order to reach the rest of the county. It was necessary to travel some distance east to Lemon's bridge, before making the journey south. Effectively isolated from the rest of Starke County, these residents asked that their land be annexed to LaPorte County, which was completed on January 28, 1842. Thereafter, the Kankakee River formed the southern boundary of the county. Finally, on January 10, 1850, some twenty sections of land were annexed from St. Joseph County to the east, giving LaPorte County the boundaries that essentially exist to this day.
Whether the correct spelling of the city and county is "La Porte" or "LaPorte" is disputed, although state law refers to "LaPorte County."
LaPorte County is also famous for being the scene of the Belle Gunness serial murders. She lived on a farm on the outskirts of LaPorte County.