Munster is a town located in North Township, Lake County, in Northwest Indiana, United States. This bedroom community lies in the Chicago metropolitan area, approximately southeast of the Chicago Loop, and shares municipal boundaries with Hammond to the north, Highland to the east, Dyer and Schererville to the south and Lansing and Lynwood directly west of the Illinois border. The 2010 U.S. Census counted the town's population at 23,603.
The earliest known inhabitants of the area were the Potawatomi. Although a village did not exist in what was to become Munster's town boundaries, a trail along the dry sandy ridge now known as Ridge Road was well traveled by the tribe. Today, Munster's downtown area, the Town Hall, Police and Fire Department headquarters, the Centre for the Visual and Performing Arts, and the Munster Post Office are all situated on Ridge Road.
In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, the area that is today Munster was part of land claimed by France as French territory. In the 1760s the British claimed the land where the Potawatomi lived as part of the British Empire. Twenty years later George Rogers Clark overran the British, claiming the land for the new and independent country known as the United States of America. In 1828 the federal government relocated the Potawatomi Indians to the Oklahoma territory.
As the numbers of native Americans dwindled, pioneer settlers began to inhabit the area which would become Munster.
When Jacob Munster, a young man from the Netherlands who until the 1860s spelled his surname "Monster," opened an area General Store complete with a U.S. postal station on the back, the local farmers and settlers came to rely on the postal station, which soon became a United States Post Office. The post office was named Munster, as it was located in Jacob Munster's general store.
Before long more and more people moved to the "Munster" Area, and in 1907 Munster was incorporated as a town, with 76 residents voting "yes" for the incorporation and 28 voting "no."
Munster soon became a booming town that attracted many people. Munster saw difficult times through the rough years of the Great Depression and the two World Wars, like many other new towns in America.
During the Cold War, Munster served as the site of the Nike-Zeus Missile defense base C-46. The site was closed in 1971, and is now under private ownership.
In September 2008, Munster's northern portions suffered record flooding resulting from the impact of Hurricane Ike, which caused the Little Calumet River to overflow. A main break occurred in the levee located near the intersection of Calumet Avenue and River Drive in the northwest quadrant of the town. Munster has requested the Army Corps of Engineers to elevate the levee in low lying areas.
The 2010 Comprehensive Plan for Munster's next twenty years includes plans for a new town center with upscale shopping and dining to be organized around a proposed train station.