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The city is known as the "City of Churches" for its more than 100 churches, and has been nicknamed The Crossroads of America. Valparaiso is located six miles (10 km) north of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan. It was founded in 1851 by Samuel W. Beaubien and named after Valparaíso, Chile, where his son-in-law David Porter had become a vice consul. History [ edit ] The first permanent settlement in what would become the city of Valparaiso was made ca. 1824–1825 by James Taggart Murphy, who built a log cabin at that time near what later became downtown. In 1830s Jacob Walker erected another log house further south to serve as an inn for travelers coming through northern Indiana on their way to Chicago or Galena; this building still stands today.