Friday, February 06, 2009


Historical population figures for Hammond, Indiana:

Census Pop. %±
1880 699
1890 5,284= 655.9%
1900 12,376=134.2%
1910 20,925= 69.1%
1920 36,004= 72.1%
1930 65,559= 82.1%
1940 70,18=3 7.1%
1950 87,595 = 24.8%
1960 111,698= 27.5%
1970 107,983= −3.3%
1980 91,985= −14.8%
1990 84,236= −8.4%
2000 83,048= −1.4%

You might ask, "George, what are you doing, posting this list of the rising and falling population of Hammond, Indiana?"

Well... in the first place, I'm crazy.

Actually, since I was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, I feel particularly akin to Hammond folk, and I was doing some research on a man named Jean Shepherd. He wrote "A Christmas Story" which has become a Christmas classic about a kid named Ralphie who wanted a Red Ryder bee bee gun and whose mother was worried he'd shoot his eye out. Jean was born in Hammond and raised there and worked in the steel mills before serving in WWII in the signal corps. He died living on one of the keys in Florida, I believe. I came across the population figures and they reminded me of what happened to Dayton, Ohio. The same rise and fall in population and industry. Dayton took quite a hammering, losing Delco and National Cash Register during those years. We're talking 100,000 or more jobs. Horrible stuff. Hammond's plight is/was Dayton's plight, and they occurred in overlapping historical dates.

Anyhow, I was struck by a bolt of nostalgia, seeing those population figures for Hammond. Sometimes nostalgia takes me for a real trip, recalling my childhood and youth in the Midwestern state of Ohio, southern Ohio. And I just wanted to put that down for whoever might run across it and also have nostalgic memories. Jeez, I hate nostalgia. When I was young, I swore I'd never let nostalgia get me, but it has.

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