LaGrange County is a place where the quiet lifestyles of a Mid-Western community and the bustle of small town America come together in a peaceful co-existence. Close to 32,000 people live in this small rural farming community bordered on the north by Michigan, by Steuben County on the east, Elkhart County on the West, and Noble County to the south. A long list of community festivals and events begins with the snow in the early winter months and continues until the vivid colors of late fall have disappeared from the landscape. Activities such as parades, queen contests, history reenactments, sporting contests and other festivities supported by community service groups are a major part of many LaGrange County celebrations.
The LaGrange County Department of Parks and Recreation maintains many scenic parks offering a wide variety of activities including hiking, fishing, swimming, picnicking and cross country skiing. Currently, over 400 acres of land are dedicated to the LaGrange County Parks system. Aquatic activities are a major pastime for residents and visitors to LaGrange County. The 64 lakes dotting LaGrange County offer activities such as water skiing, swimming, boating and fishing. The population increases in the summer months as people from nearby cities travel in search of a relaxing, quiet summer retreat. Public access is available on a majority of LaGrange County’s 64 lakes, as well as on the Pigeon River. These lakes and rivers are ideal for boating and canoeing. For hunters, campers, and wildlife enthusiasts, LaGrange County is home to the 12,000 acre Pigeon River Fish and Wildlife Preserve, which is one of the largest parcels of land in the state dedicated to the protection on Indiana’s wildlife and waterfowl population. Also located in the Pigeon River Fish and Wildlife Preserve is the state-operated Curtis Creek Trout Rearing Station. At this modern fish hatchery, trout are raised and then released throughout the state, providing fisherman with some of the best trout fishing in the United States.
The county seat is the centrally located town of LaGrange, which celebrated its 175th Birthday in June of 2011. The historic red brick county courthouse, built in 1878-79, dominates the main street of the county’s largest community. The courthouse has recently undergone a complete restoration, and the historic building is still the center of the county government. The town offers many countywide celebrations including the LaGrange County 4-H fair in the late summer, and corn school, which is the October street fair, which has been celebrating our autumn harvest for over 90 years. The 4-H fairgrounds, located on the northeast corner of town, is also the home of our annual Steam and Gas Engine Show. A complete schedule of horse and pony shows, along with a summer schedule, is provided by the Tri-State Harness Racing Association. Click here for more information on the town of LaGrange.
This quaint town in the western part of the county is quickly becoming a capital of tourism in northeast Indiana. Shipshewana is known for its large flea market where visitors can find everything from antique treasures to fresh fruit and produce. Charming Bed & Breakfast Inns, Country Inns and Craft Shops, and a wide variety of restaurants offering home-style cooking have blossomed in this small town. The countryside near Shipshewana offers visitors a look at the simple lifestyle of the Amish people. Horse and buggy transportation, used by our Amish neighbors, is a common sight in and around Shipshewana. The town has an annual Mayfest celebration, many quilt auctions, and a Christmas festival with many activities for both residents and tourists. For more information on the town of Shipshewana, click here or here.
A quiet, slow-paced atmosphere is part of the daily life in Topeka, a community located in the southwestern part of LaGrange County. Possibly the most active day of the year is Topeka is when the town holds its Annual 4th of July celebration. A fireworks display, softball tournaments, a road race, chicken barbeque, children’s rides, a celebration parade and games are all part of Topeka’s 4th of July program. The surroundings of Topeka are much the same as Shipshewana. Amish farmsteads and small home-based businesses dot the countryside. The Topeka Auction Barn bustles with the business of farming, and in November, they conduct one of the largest sales of registered Belgian and Percheron horses in the United States.
Howe, a community located in the north-central part of the county, has the distinction of being the first white settlement in the area. The first families located here in 1834 under the town name of Mongoquinong. The name of the settlement was later changed to Lima and then to Howe. The area, originally called Mongoquinong Prairie by the native Potawotami Indians, is rich and fertile with many beautiful lakes. Also winding its way through the town is the Pigeon River. An 18-hole golf course is also located in Howe, just a few miles northeast of Howe at Cedar Lake.
Wolcottville is a community in the south Central part of LaGrange County that is divided by the LaGrange/Noble County line. This small community is home to a winter snowmobile festival and an Annual 4th of July celebration. The many lakes in this area make it a popular recreation spot in the summer months. The businesses in Wolcottville cater to the lake visitors during the summer months and offer a wide variety of antique shops. Many camping areas, parks and lakes are within a ten-minute drive of this community. Click here for more information on the town of Wolcottville.
Brighton, Mongo, South Milford, Stroh
These four towns, located in eastern LaGrange County, are the center of actives for many nearby lakes. Mongo is located in the heart of the Pigeon River Fish and Wildlife Preserve and offers visitors scenic woodland beauty and peacefulness. The Pigeon River flows through the heart of the preserve and has many public access sites. The depth of the water makes it an ideal river for fishing and canoeing. South Milford is located nearby, and comes alive in the summer months as vacationers frequent the many area lakes. The town of Stroh is built on the banks of Big Turkey Lake and offers visitors fantastic fishing, camping, and swimming.