Chellberg Family Story

red brick farm house
The Chellberg Farmhouse

This house has a story to tell, a story of a hardworking, Swedish immigrant family who lived and worked here for three generations. As you take a virtual tour of the Chellberg farmhouse, let your imagination guide you. Imagine rising before the sun to begin the farm chores. Imagine coming in after a hard day's work to the welcoming aroma of a home-cooked dinner and lively Swedish conversation. Imagine living without the modern conveniences of electricity and indoor plumbing.

The Chellberg Farm represents a typical 1890 through 1910 Swedish and Northwestern Indiana farmstead. The brick farmhouse was built in 1885 as a replacement for an earlier wood-framed house that was destroyed by fire in December of 1884. The bricks for the new house came from a brickyard in nearby Porter. In the 1980s the National Park Service restored the farmhouse to its turn of the 20th century appearance, except for the dining room, which had been modified by the Chellbergs in the 1920s.

black & white family picture with 3 adult children standing behind parents
The Chellberg Family

Let's begin our tour by learning about the Chellberg family. Anders and Johanna Chellberg, with their young son Charles, made the long journey from Sweden to this country in 1863. Traveling first by boat and then by train, the Chellbergs arrived here four months after their departure from Sweden. After their arrival in northwest Indiana, the Chellbergs became part of a growing Swedish community. They often gave other immigrants a place to stay and helped them find work. In 1869, the Chellbergs purchased 40 acres of land and established their own farm. 40 additional acres had been added to the farm by 1874.

Anders and Johanna had four children. After Ander's death in 1893, their son Charles managed the farm. Charles and his wife, Ottomina, had four children: Frank, who died when he was a year old, Ruth, Naomi, and Carl. When Charles died in 1937, his son Carl continued to farm until 1972, when he sold the property to the National Park Service. Let's continue our tour by looking at where the Chellbergs lived.

room with rag rug on floor with lady sweeping it, windows and bookcases on wall on both sides of a fireplace.

The Dining Room

When the house was constructed in 1885 this space was divided into three rooms, the kitchen, dining room, and pantry. The pantry area might also have served as a small bedroom. Because it was remodeled around the mid-late 1920s the dining room's current appearance does not date back to the time period which we are interpreting, the 1890s through 1910s. The fireplace, flanked by windows and bookshelves, is typical of the 1920s and 1930s. Today, this room serves as the visitor orientation room. Now let's step into the parlor.

room with 1900's furniture

The Parlor

Guests were entertained here. A vent above the wood-burning stove allowed the warm air from the stove to circulate to the bedroom above where the children slept.

bedroom with brass post bed with 2 large window on the wall beside it
The Downstairs Bedroom

The Chellbergs converted this former dining room into a bedroom. The bed has an iron frame with brass knobs. The furniture is not original, but shows the way the room would have been furnished. The next room on our tour is the kitchen.

old kitchen with table in front of a wood burning cook stove with doors on both sides.

The Kitchen
The new kitchen and pantry were added to the house around 1901. The kitchen was the busiest room in the house. On the kitchen floor there is hatch door that leads to the root cellar. Because it was cool and dry, the cellar was the ideal place to store food. A hand pump in the kitchen provided water for the cooking, washing, ironing, and bathing that took place there. Today, the kitchen is still the busiest room. Weekend volunteers prepare meals on the wood-burning stove just as Mrs. Chellberg did long ago. This concludes our virtual tour. We invite you to visit this site in person.

The Chellberg farmhouse is open to the public during festivals, demonstrations, and ranger-guided tours. Check with the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center and calendar for dates and times. The Chellberg Farmhouse is wheelchair accessible via a short ramp located on the north side of the front porch. The trail leading from the main parking lot to the Chellberg Farmhouse is accessible as well.

Last updated: February 4, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

1100 North Mineral Springs Road
Porter, IN 46304


219 395-1882
Indiana Dunes Visitor Center phone number.

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