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

1974 Restoration of House of a Thousand Candles  

LAKE LORE: The Dale H. Longs are putting the finishing touches on "The House of a Thousand Candles" which inspired Meredith Nicholson to write a romantic novel that was a terrific best seller in 1905.

Contrary to local supposition the novel was not written in the now Long house, but at the a Colonial house at 1500 Delaware Street in Indianapolis.

According to what Mr. Nicholson told to Lakewater many years ago it practically wrote itself. In stead of setting it in some mythical kingdom, he used Indiana instead. He was a guest of the Vonnegut s and Muellers many times and also the Eli Lilly family at Lake Wawasee. making it a sort of conglomerate setting.

The Long family are from LaGrange, Illinois, although they have only recently established their permanent residence here and have been coming to the lake summers over two generations, occupying rental property.

They are an interesting, distinguished and productive family. The Longs had eleven children. Dale Long's father and mother had eleven and so did his grandfather and mother. Mrs. Long's parents had four daughters but their parents also had eleven. Her grandparents also had eleven!

The entrance hall to the restored and added-to house has the branches of the family tree painted on the walls by the Long's daughter, a beautiful and talented Puerto Rican artist. Each member of the families have a branch with their names listed, more than fifty in number.

This hall opens on the huge dining room with one table for the children and another for the elders. One of the Culvers occupied the place at one time and Roscoe Stevens poured the foundation for this addition. Mrs. Culver wanted a huge dining room and she got it. It was so huge that both Roscoe and Mrs. Culver decided to shorten it a bit and this is now a sun porch. Any way you take it, the house has local historical significance. If my dear friend Nick could see it he would be happy with what the Longs are doing. The "House of a Thousand Candles" practically wrote itself from October, 1904 to the next May. He said he couldn't wait to go upstairs and get going on it every night.

More on this romantic house next week when it belonged to the Wolfes, publishers of the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, and the late Charles Hughes, a steel salesman, who abandoned it for about 15 years after his infant child drowned in the lake. He moved to Florida and sold it to the Longs.

When the Wolfes acquired The House of a Thousand Candles they really made it over. They were a fun loving wealthy family who owned the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, a powerful newspaper politically. They sailed and fished and whiled away many happy hours with the Gignilliats, the Culver boys, and Blythe and Thomas A. Hendricks. Thomas was named after his illustrious ancestor who was a vice-president of the United States when Chester A. Arthur was president. Later they both became Indianapolis newspaper men and a close companion of mine. In 1931 they, were radio broadcasters who introduced me at the opening of the Notre Dame stadium at South Bend when I was running the news end of the old News-Times.

In 1921 Bob Wolfe and I were ushers at Tom's wedding to Peg Cothrell of Indianapolis. Mrs. Terre Haute Tarkington Jameson, sister of Booth who wrote novels like The Gentleman From Indiana, Alice Adams, and The Magnificent Ambersons, and won Pulitzer prizes, was a statuesque woman and carried a shepherd's crook. It is an untruth that floated around for many years in Indianapolis that Mrs. Jameson was escorted down the aisle at Tom's wedding by an usher who, gallantly extending his shaky arm , blurted incoherently, ''Come with me, my little Bo-Peep.''

Now back to the spectacular Wolfes . They built a spooky basement, with grotesque painted walls. They invited guests to go down a flight of stairs which collapsed and slid the victim into a cage with a stuffed lion. Undoubtedly, this was copied from Hinky Dink and Bathouse John's fun-saloon on South Clark Street, there they were adjoining aldermen in the Chicago Tenderloin.

Charles Hughes, a steel salesman, was the next occupant. He and his wife suffered a succession of tragedies, moved to Florida and never came back. Dr. and Mrs. Donald Reed, a registered nurse, were very kind and helpful in their last years, going to Florida for long periods to help them.

It Must Be Lakwewater by Bob Kyle Jul 18 & 25 , 1974