Hammond, located in Lake County, is a major industrial center of Northwest Indiana. It is named in honor of George Hammond, who established a slaughterhouse there in 1869. The facility was the first industrial establishment in the region. The town’s proximity to Lake Michigan greatly enhanced its development and industrial growth. Hammond began as a small settlement of German farmers, who had arrived as early as 1847. With the establishment of George Hammond’s slaughterhouse and beef packaging plant, the settlement grew into a bustling town. The town grew into a city and was incorporated on April 21, 1884. Marcus Towle was the first mayor of the city. Hammond experienced tremendous growth following its incorporation. The population reached a record high of 111,698 in 1960. It is home to the First Baptist Church of Hammond, one of the largest congregations in the country. Purdue University operates a branch campus, known as Purdue University Calumet. The city was home to one of the first professional football teams in the United States, the Hammond Professionals. Although industrial by nature, Hammond maintains its green cover. There are 950 acres of city parks, a marina on the lakefront, and the 129-acre Gibson Woods Nature Preserve. The Lake County Visitor Center houses the small John Dillinger Museum, devoted to the brief and violent life of one of America's most notorious gangsters.