“Valparaiso Technical Institute” (VTI) specialized in Radio Engineering, Television, Broadcasting, Police and Aviation Radio, Ultra High Frequency, and all related Electronic training.
VTI was originally established as a department of the “Northern Indiana Normal School” in 1874 by G. A. Dodge. At that time, Dodge was employed as telegrapher of the Pittsburg, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railroad and saw opportunity in better educating future telegraphers. Reorganized by Dodge and F. R. Lunbeck in 1891, the school flourished and became the largest telegraph and railway instruction institution in the United States and later became known as “The Dodge Institute of Telegraphy”.
As radio entered the scene, training in "wireless" communication was added to the curriculum of the institute. Dr. J. B. Hershman purchased the “Dodge Institute” in 1939.
He moved the campus to the site formerly home of "Herald Press , established in 1887. In 1869 the company was incorporated as "Powers - Higley & Company". Their initial line of products focused on educational materials a personal wooden desk that included a blackboard and a scrolling educational lithograph was produced, called the "Chautauqua Desk" - this desk became a very successful product for the company. "Powers-Higley & Company" products were marketed by the "L. E. Myers Sales Company", founded by L. E. Myers. By 1913, "Powers-Higley & Company" and "L. E. Myers Sales Company" had merged and operated under the name of" L. E. Myers Company". Around 1915, the company was sold, but continued operating under the "L. E. Myers Company" name. In 1921, a nonprofit company, the "Children's Foundation of Valparaiso", became affiliated with "L. E. Myers Company". The foundation focused primarily on the publication of educational materials for children. Immediately south of this building was the Pitkin & Brooks building, which was a manufacturer of glassware.
Following World War II, the Dodge Institute was renamed the “Valparaiso Technical Institute” (VTI).
Dr. J. B. Hershman changed the name to "Valparaiso Technical Institute" in 1944.
Classes at Valpo Tech after WWII were almost totally veterans going to school under the GI Bill. In 1953 Valpo Tech had about 85% GI's.
Classes in the Fall 1990 session were finally cancelled due to the fact the faculty had all retired or quit. Students in the lower semesters just lost what investment they had made. Students in the Sixth Semester stood to lose a lot, diplomas and degrees for those who qualified. A meeting was held with these students and several faculty, where an agreement was made that Valpo Tech would rent classroom space, some of the retired faculty would come back and teach, all so that they got legitimate diplomas or degrees.
Valparaiso Technical Institute went defunct in April of 1991, ending 117 years of operation.
Information courtesy of:
Collection: Steven R. Shook
Date: Circa 1950s
Publisher, Printer, Photographer: Valparaiso Technical Institute Bookstore, Dexter Press (#42063)
Don E. 'Gene' Wiggins