Lake Maxinkuckee Its Intrigue History & Genealogy Culver, Marshall, Indiana

Linda and Craighton Hippenhammer of Culver  

Culver’s Hippenhammers serve at home and around the world

The Culver Citizen, Thursday September 18, 2014
The Pilot News, Sunday, September 21, 2014
by Jeff Kenney

Linda and Craighton Hippenhammer of Culver are perhaps best well known around the lake as being associated with the well-known, historic home -- "The House of a Thousand Candles" -- that they purchased on the east shore of Lake Maxinkuckee in June, 1992. But they’ve had much more on their minds than the history of one famous house.

Craighton, a professor of library technology at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois, and Linda, a doctor of radiology, are both interested in utilizing their skills, talents and means to serve those in need around the world.

"As followers of Jesus Christ,” says Linda, “we work at showing compassion to the poor and needy. We want to be a part of God’s global plan to make His love and mercy known to all."

Linda Hippenhammer's work has embodied those words in Afghanistan, Inner Mongolia, India, Cambodia, Zambia, Kenya, Panama and Equador, among other places, traveling with charitable organizations such as Global Health Outreach, Volunteers in Medical Missions, and World Medical Missions, for two to six weeks at a stretch, typically two to three times per year -- and all of this at her own expense.

Linda calls her radiology trade "the invisible high tech doctors in the back room with the expensive equipment."

She worked as a radiologist at two Illinois hospitals between 1987 and 2006, along the way becoming the first woman president of the medical staff at a local hospital when, in 2001, she became president of the Provena St. Mary's medical staff. She was given the Zonta Leadership Award in 2006.

When contemplating her impending retirement in 2006, Linda considered what to do next and eventually found herself in Afghanistan at Kabul's Cure International Hospital.

"Originally when I asked if I could be of any help, I was told no," she says. "But we radiologists are not so easily discouraged. A small portable ultrasound piece of equipment was bought to see if we could add value to short term mission medical groups and low and behold, there was strong agreement that we do."

Instead of the recommended change of clothes, she carries the 50-pound machine on the plane with her to avoid the often-experienced problem of missing luggage. With it, Linda explains, she can diagnose internal problems related to thyroid, gall bladder and even the heart. She encounters indigenous patients who often walk 50 miles for the opportunity for modern medical diagnoses. Many patients have never seen such technology.

"Our world is full of people with profound physical and spiritual needs," Linda points out. "Nearly three billion people live on less than $2 per day, and many are dying of preventable and treatable disease. These are the people I go to see, usually out in the hinterlands, away from big cities.

"It seems everyone is fascinated at being able to look inside themselves," she adds, "and it gives me a great opportunity, in a darkened environment, to explain how God in Christ came to earth and had a similar looking gall bladder, kidneys... and He did that out of love for them."

Linda Hippenhammer emphasizes she works alongside other, usually indigenous, pre-existing ministries addressing deeper needs in the name of Christ, which invite in organizations with which she works. "Their greater needs are spiritual, septic, clean water, safety, employment, and so on. I can only bring to the table the gifts and training I have been given, and thus I am a small voice that can come."

She also notes local doctors sometimes show up for training. In some places training medical residents is part of the expectation.

Serving the enslaved

Linda has also provided medical care for women and children among the staggering 27 million still victimized by human trafficking, many ensnared in prostitution of one form or another. She spent weeks in a tent in the red-light district of Mumbai, India, caring for some of the 100,000 commercial sexual workers there who service around six customers a day. Most are suffering from sexually-transmitted diseases, including HIV. Among those she cared for at a red-light district in Nicaragua were five and eight year old sisters sold by their mother who were rescued repeatedly with the help of the local police.

"If disease can be identified," she explains, "most countries will agree to assume responsibility for treatment. But these are women and children of the night that few societies want to acknowledge in the daytime."


Linda and Craighton have been able to serve together on some trips as well.

After serving as an Air Force officer during the Vietnam War, Craighton earned his Masters of Library Science and worked in public libraries for 11 years plus a stint as a newspaper reporter. Then in 1991 he was hired as a Public Service Librarian at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois.

He's accompanied Linda on many of her medical mission trips, acting on some in a support role as a logistics person, assisting in taking blood pressures, temperatures, setting up tents, guiding crowds of the sick into orderly interactions with doctors and nurses and pharmacists, testing vision and giving out free eyeglasses, leading devotionals, and so on. On some trips, he notes, he can be of help with hospital libraries.

For the past two years, for example, the couple has headed to Tenwek Hospital in Bomet, Kenya, where Linda reads CAT scans and Craighton works on improving library services and technology infrastructure.

"During those visits,” Craighton said recently, “I was able to visit, give lectures, and engage library and IT staff at two Kenya universities, first at Africa Nazarene University in Nairobi, and secondly at Africa Highlands Evangelical University in Kericho. These are mission activities that Linda and I both hope to continue on into retirement."


Stateside, Craighton has played in instrumental role in a remarkable endeavor which involves technology but also helps fulfill his own Christian calling to serve in the capacity of his gifts.

While at Olivet, he had observed the increasing impact of personal computers on libraries and their mission, a trend he sought to assist in using to good effect, eventually creating a new department called Library Informatics with a staff that grew to 25.

With the rise of open access publishing within university libraries and Olivet’s purchase of the Digital Commons institutional repository software in 2009, Craighton's continuing to develop work in that area led, in January, 2012, to his creation of a second technology unit within the library called Digital Initiatives, "where I could spend my full time efforts in digitizing and publishing faculty scholarship and archival and special collection materials."

He was contacted around that time by someone from the International Board of Education (IBOE) from the headquarters of the Nazarene Church in Kansas City, Missouri, who was interested in establishing a digital repository of Wesleyan religious resources suitable for reaching the whole world.

That project came to be known as the Wesleyan Holiness Digital Library, which is available now at

The repository is unique in being multilingual, and is robust in its scope. Craighton published an article in the journal "Didache: Faithful Teaching," at, which describes the development of the project in more detail.

"This is one project that I’m immensely proud of because of its ongoing likely potential of positive influences in lives of citizens around the world, many publications being in their own languages as the repository gets more fully populated with teaching material," he says.


The aforementioned article isn't Craighton Hippenhammer's first in academic journals. He's also documented the unique history and legacy of his and Linda's Lake Maxinkuckee house in, “The House of a Thousand Candles: The Lake Maxinkuckee Link,” in a journal called Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, in 2007, a piece that is available online at

"The article was necessary," he remarks, "since it put Culver on the map as having the best arguments for being the real 'House of a Thousand Candles' over the two other houses that claimed the same distinction."

Ironically, Craighton had initially questioned what he dismissed as "rumors" about the house's history.

He and Linda found their way to Maxinkuckee due in part to Linda's cherished summer memories of youthful summers at her grandparents' cottage near the shores of Lake Geneva (Wisconsin), something she hoped to provide for her own family. The Hippenhammers have two now-adult children and five grandchildren.

Around 1990, they started looking at lake properties in Illinois and Indiana areas, eventually purchasing the East Shore Drive home, "which has served as a wonderful gathering place for our extended family who live in far-flung places from coast to coast," says Craighton.

"The House of a Thousand Candles" was what Craighton describes as "a light mystery romance novel" written by Indianapolis author Meredith Nicholson and published in 1905. The book became a runaway best-seller (one of the top-selling novels of 1906 in the entire U.S.) and inspired three movies and many theater productions. Nicholson had been inspired to write the novel after spending some time at the home, which he never owned, but was owned by his friends Alfred and May Potts. Culver folks often ask about the secret passageways and other medieval amenities of the house in the novel, but they don’t really exist in the real house.

Craighton learned that the previous owners of the house (from 1971 to 1987), Dale and Collette Long, had applied with the Marshall County Historical Society in the early 1980’s for the house to become a recognized and officially designated county building or residence of historical interest. So the house is on the county’s official historical tour maps of places in the county to visit or drive by.

Around 2002, he finally read the famous book, and in the spring of 2003 he researched the house, giving a talk to the Culver Antiquarian and Historical Society on the subject that summer. His article followed shortly thereafter.

Linda and Craighton Hippenhammer have been part of the Wesley United Methodist Church community in Culver for many years (it's a place where, says Linda, she sees many others "using the gifts God has given them to reach out to others with the same motivation they have"), and are active and visible in various endeavors in the Culver area, which they alternate with Illinois as "home."

That’s, of course, when they aren’t serving others afar – something they don’t see ending anytime soon.

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