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Our Officers

Mark Kurth


Mark and his wife Shelby live on the 1856 Forrester Farm (west of La Porte, in Scipio township). They are serial old-house owners, having restored previous homes in Beverly Shores and Chicago. Mark and Shelby were also instrumental in getting their Chicago neighborhood, Ukrainian Village, designated a City of Chicago Historic District.

At the time they purchased the Forrester property, the home had been unoccupied for nearly 10 years and had no heat, water or electricity. For most of the first year, they lived in a camper on-site while working on the house. By late fall of 2014, work was far enough along that they were finally able to move in. Since then, they’ve gone on to restore the other buildings on the farm, including a 1915 English barn. The Forrester Farm was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2017.

Mark has been an active supporter and member of Indiana Landmarks for 20+ years. He recently retired as Director of Design for an engineering & product development firm in Chicago and is devoting some of his new-found time to Preserve Historic La Porte.

Elzbieta Bilderback

Vice President

Ela lives in a registered home in Indiana/Michigan Ave. Historic District. Currently a vice president of Preserve Historic La Porte, Ela has been a member since 2015. She was the President of the City of La Porte Historic Preservation Commission for three years.

Born and raised in Poland Ela always loved history and historic structures and finds working on preserving La Porte’s history important part of her commitment to her “new “home town of 30 years.

Peter Steele


Peter is a long-time designated homeowner (over 30 years) and Preservationist and long-time member of Indiana Landmarks (20 years).

Currently Treasurer for Preserve Historic La Porte, he has been a member of Preserve Historic La Porte (formerly People Engaged in Preservation) for over 15 years, and is a former member of the City of La Porte Historic Preservation Commission, acting as its Treasurer.

Peter and his wife live in a 1916 George Wood Allen designed Craftsman home in La Porte which is a locally designated single-site historic district. They have engaged in many projects to restore the home and related buildings to its original appearance. They are currently seeking a National Register designation for the home.

Peter has a degree in Civil Engineering from THE Iowa State University.

Michele Barber


Michele lives with husband, Mike, and dog, Henry, in a bungalow built in 1944 as a summer residence on 5 1⁄2 acres in La Porte County. Michele has been a member of Preserve Historic La Porte since 2002, and currently holds the office of Secretary. She is a also member of Door Prairie Questers, the La Porte County Historical Society, and the La Porte County Indiana Genealogical Society. Michele was also very active for many years with the La Porte County Historical Society as volunteer, Collections Manager, and Assistant Director. The most important PHLP project Michele was involved in was the writing and publishing of PHLP’s 2018 book The Historic Architecture of La Porte, Indiana: The First 20 Years of the Candlelight Tour. PHLP applied for and was awarded a Heritage Support Grant by the Indiana Historical Society to pay for the creation of the book which features the histories of 106 La Porte properties. Michele was the grant manager and editor of the book, as well as author of many of the histories (along with other PHLP members), and did the layout and formatting of the book.