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

Allegheny House

1873 - May 15 - Mr. P. Spangler, has refitted the Allegany House, and it is more commodious and pleasant for his patrons. Marshall County Repbulican, Plymouth, Ind.

1877 - May 7 - "Pete", the gentlemanly proprietor of the Alleghany house at Maxinkuckee, had had made to odred a large and comfortable buss for the the accomodation of persons from a distance wishing to visit the lake, and willll always be reayd upon due notice to convey passengers to and from the surrounding railroad stations. - Weekly Republican (Plymouth, Indiana)

Built in 1855 it is colonial-style building, the Allegheny House/Spangler Hotel. Members of the Babcock fam ily stand in front of the Hotel in a picture taken during the 1930's.

A local historian, Robert Rust, tells us the Spangler Hotel opened in 1870, making this the beginning of the hotel, wayside inn era at Lake Maxinkuckee and in Culver from 1870 to 1930.

Located 1/2 mile east of the lake. Built 1855 as a tavern-inn another source says 1848 by Abraham Wicks and Frances (-?-) Bogardus on a hill over looking the lake. It is said that during the Civil War it served as one of the Underground Railroad stations.

It originally had three wings; one being destroyed by fire. It also had a bell tower which called the fisher men in at meal time from the lake. At the foot of the hill was a flowing well which provided the hotel with its. water. It also had a large ball room above the main living room area where dances were held until 1901. It had a large veranda running the length of the house. Until recently (1986) the old bell tower wss still a part of the structure. The horse rings used for tying up the horse are still in the wall. Over the years it has been remodeled. It closed sometime before 1930.

The Bogradus family ran it as a hotel for many years and it was also a resort during the summer for the people from Indianapolis.

Harriet Bogardus married Peter Spangler and he ran the hotel for about 65 years during which time it was also known as the Spangler Hotel. He died in 1933 and the Hotel was closed sometime before 1930.

Generations of the Bogardus descendants resided there before it was sold the last descendant being Ronald L. Babcock.

In 1983 it was given historical recognition by the Marshall county Historical Society. In the 1980's it was owned by Paul Cromley and he was refurbishing it.<

History of Marshall County Indiana, (Taylor Publishing Co., 1986 Publication # 357 of 1,422), Marshall County Historical 53

It has been recognized as a County Historical Landmark built in 1855. The honor was presented by the Marshall County Historical Society on April 28, 1983. The historical significance of the building led the present owner, Paul R Cromley, to make this house his home.


The story "Ben Hur" now being shown at the Char-Bell Theatre was written by General Lew Wallace while he was on fishing trips at Lake Maxinkuckee according to Mrs. Laura Babcock, of this city Rochester.

Mrs. Babcock stated that General Wallace wrote the story 57 or 58 years ago while staying at the Allegheny house, Lake Maxinkuckee, owned by Peter Spangler, father of Mrs. Babcock. Mrs. Babcock's brother, George Spangler, of Culver , has a Mexican dollar in his possession which was given him by Mr. Wallace during one of his frequent trips to the lake. - The News-Sentinel, Saturday, February 6, 1932

The old hotel - home is still owned by Paul R Cromley as of Jan 2017
So it was on Lake Street (now 18B Road) that Abram and Frances built their house high on a hill, overlooking Lake Maxinkuckee, and named it the Allegheny House as a reminder of Harriet's home state, Pennsylvania.

The two-story colonial-style house was built to be as durable as a barn. The hand-hewn beams for the building were harvested at nearby Wolf Creek. The timber was chosen from 150-year-old white oak trees. The house is 18 by 35 feet supported by huge beams pegged together with 4x4 braces. Wood shingles were used on the siding of the house and the roof.

In remodeling years later, it was found to have at least three fireplaces. The house had upper and lower porches with ample space for comfortable seating for rest and relaxation in the open air.

As Peter was honorably discharged from the Army, the decision was made to remodel the Allegheny House into summer hotel.

The house needed to be expanded for this purpose. An addition was built on the back of the house, allowing ample space for the dining room and the pantry. Since the house was built on a hill, the floor of the addition was somewhat lower than the parlor. This made it necessary to have steps down into the dining room.

The addition created four guest rooms on the upper story.

It required three steps down to enter each of the four guest rooms. There was one guest room on the first floor with a private entry from the porch.

A two-story addition extended to the west. The lower level was the tavern with an outside entrance. The door between the tavern and the hotel was so narrow that only a very small person could go through it. Above the tavern were guest rooms. This addition was taken down in the 1950s and replaced by a one-story room.

In the center of this hotel was the parlor, ready for the guests to socialize and get acquainted. There were large windows overlooking Maxinkuckee Village. The main door of the hotel opened into the parlor from the porch. The original door and iron latch remain today.

The dining room was entered through rather low but wide doors from the parlor. Near the cook house, at the foot of the hill, was a flowing spring from which all water was carried to the hotel. The steam, which flowed behind the house, was used for other household needs.

Many of the guests thought of the Spangler Hotel as a fishing lodge. Plank-bottomed boats were ready at the dock.

A bell on the roof gave warning to the fisherman to come in from the lake when it was time to eat. The dinner bell is still ready to ring from the uppermost gable of the hotel's roof, if only the pull cord had not given way.

The entire upper level of the main house was the ballroom with access to the upper-story porch. The original stairway to the ballroom has been replaced. The earlier one appears to have been very narrow, probably 24 inches wide. Many dances were held there with Abram and daughter, Harriet, as the musicians. They were said to be excellent, she with the violin and her father playing the cello. Other fiddlers took part as well and created music many times for hours of fun and enjoyment. The last dance was held in 1901.

The room of particular interest, the place where General Lew Wallace wrote part of "Ben Hur," was the southwest corner room, smallest of the four rooms on the second floor. He would have had space only for a single bed, a chair and a small table. The walls of the room have not been altered. The inside wall was just a divider wall with a board for hooks. The room is now called "The Lew Wallace Room."

A check of Lew Wallace's itinerary file shows him fishing on Lake Maxinkuckee on June 7, 1874. He had begun work on "Ben Hur" by then. "The Fair God" was published the previous year. "Ben Hur" was finished at the Governor's Palace in Santa Fe, while he was territorial governor.

Writing about Lake Maxinkuckee in the Chicago American newspaper, Lew Wallace pronounced it "the most beautiful place in the world with an old tavern sitting back from the roadside and looking as if it had stepped out of an English novel." He wrote the chariot race and other chapters of "Ben Hur" there.

It is believed but not verified that Mr. and Mrs. H. H. Culver stayed in the Spangler Hotel for some time after their marriage.

There was large barn behind the hotel for the horses and livestock. The fencing around the barn was of loose stone, now overgrown with vegetation. They had their own large icehouse. Large blocks of ice would be brought o the icehouse to be cut and stored for the summer ahead. Peter had a team of bay mules called Grant and Chancy that he drove to Plymouth delivering ice.

A four-room addition was built on the south side of the house for their son, George, his wife, Margaret, and son, Byron. The family moved to Culver (Lakeside Hotel) when the property was sold in 1924. George then operated a service station, a taxi service and an ice cream parlor. The addition has been taken down.

Ronald (Budge) and Ida Babcock returned the house with its one and three-quarters acres to family ownership in 1929. Ronald is the son of Issac and Ella Spangler Babcock.

He is thought to have been a dairy farmer. Their son, George, and wife, Frances, also lived in the house. In 1943, the house was finally sold outside the family

?-2024 - Paul R. Cromley

    PRT SW1/4:NW COR SW1/4 E ALG N LN219'

    Paul R. Cromley, present owner of Allegheny House/Spangler Hotel.
    Helen Shadle, a descendant of the Bogardus/Spangler family who has compiled genealogical records of her family.
    The Culver Citizen.
    Robert Rust, record of events.
    Daniel McDonald, A Twentieth Century History of Marshall County, Indiana, Volume II.
    Edwin R. Corwin, Our Township's Yesterdays.
    Culver-Union Township Public Library, Genealogy and History Department.
    Indiana Historical Society Press, from the Crawfordsville
    Evening Journal, June 13,1874.
    Chicago American, 1905.
    Antiquarian & Historical Society of Culver Fall 2006 Newsletter

Janice Powell recently bought an old hand made walnut buffet at auction and inscribed on one of the drawers was, Made from wood trees by Peter Spangler "ALLEGHENY HOUSE". The one picture is the bottom of the drawers old grocery crates were used. NOTE: Have turned the first 2 pictures aorund but still shows as is.

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