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

Culver Academy Boat House  



Just when the original boat house was built in unknown as yet - but it was propbably a part of the Culver Park Assemby.

1938 - March - Fire Last Saturday Destoryed Boat House
    Fire Last Saturday Destoryed Boat House;
    $100,000 Damage Will be MAde Good Soon

    Fire, sweeping over Culver's boathouse, in which all naval school equipment was harbored, caused damage amounting to $100,000 lat Saturday evening about 6 o'clock, just as the corps was marching in to supper. Losses included all the naval supplies, varsity crew shells, naval cutters, sails, etc. = everything except the Admiral Rodman and a few boats which had been extracyed a few days before for the purpose of dreding Lake Maxinkuckee for the Ice Carnival Rink, lost there several weeks ago. COl. Miller andMr. Henning left Tuesday for various boat-manufacturing concerns in the East in order to buy up all equipment needed for naval school activities; that is everything meeded for replenishing the loss caused by the fire. However, there will be no curtailment whatever of summer naval school activities, and the equipmewnt for the schools willbe newer and better, according to an administrative announcement. The fire started just as the corps was marching into Mess Hall. WHen the alarms sounded imperatively, vadets and police details did a right=about-face and went tot he scene, helping to grag along fire-fighting equipment and watching the immense blaze. Fire departments from Culver and Plymouth were immediately rushed to the spot, and the progress of the conflagration at first seemed to be checked. However as ahard as they might the smoke-eaters were unable at times to cope with their adversary, and once a fierce explosion shook the grounds. When cadets left the affair in the hand of the local fire departments to attend the movie, the flames were low, and the fighters were well able to cope with them. About midnight the smouldering embers of the boathouse told a tale of the last of the wealth that had gone up in flames. Tentative plans for a new boathouse on the lake are being considered, but as yet no definite action has been taken. Modern equipment, a fireproof building, and special crfew quarters would probably be included in such a structure. - CUlver Vedette March 19, 1938

The aftermath of the boathouse fire

Was built between March 1938 and May 6, 1939 it was described in the Vedette of that state as:
    ...the new boat shop, located across the rairoad tracks, beyond the English Building will take the place of the boathouse destroyed last year by the fire. In one end there is is a large assortment of modern machine-run tools for the building and repairing of boats. This equipment is undoubtedly the finest which can be secured, consisting of band and circle saws, lathes, and other accessoried of a machine shop. At the present time three shells are being completed there by the workmen.

    This modern shop occupies, however , only about a third of the building, which is approcimately 200 feet long and 70 feet wide. The rest of the structure is used for storing sailboats and the vasrious motor-powered boats used in Summer School. This part of the building is not quite finished, for there remain some cleaning and painting yet to be completed. Seperating the two parts is a slliding partion.
Note this new "boathouse" was off shore as pictured above (clicking it will provided a larger view) - it lays north of the main campus to the north across St. Rd 10 and "across the railroad tracks" - it is due North of the power house. The white roof long building in the front is the "Boathouse". Just when the on-shore "boathouse/storage building was re-built is yet to be discovered This is the area of the old boat house with a view of the buildings for a distance -

1947 - the Vedette of Feb 22 Spectacular Fire Destroys Hangar, Motor Equipment.
    A costly blaze of undetermined origin which caused many thousands of dollars damage to academy property swept through the hangar before breakfast last Tuesday monring. First discovered by cadets at approximately 6:45 a.m. the fire was raging in the northwest corner of the building...

    The building was used principally as a boathous for all crew shells, a motors classroom-shop doe pratical work, the depot for the motorized infrantry unit, and a storage place for other Culver naval equipment...
By the above picture it was located near the lake shoreline.

1947 - the Vedette of Feb 22 Crew Losses Heavy Plan Recouperation
    Although five shells, fove four-oared barges, and 70 oars were destroyed in the fire which demolished the hangar last Tuesday, prospects for a successful varisty and company spring cres season are good. The red cedar, Ward, though damaged in the bow and stern, is salvageable and will be repaired by the academy...

    The one remaing four-oared barge, which is in excellent shape will be supplemented by a pair of well matched boats for company use...

    A temporary canvas boathouse, approximately 20 feet wide by 70 feet long, will erected west of the old hangar to house six boats.
1947 - the Vedette of Feb 22 - Fire Sidelights is found Feb:
    All crew shell iin the hangar were due to be moved to the boat shop for annual repair next week!

    A complete set of outriggers for an eight-oared varsity shell were found lying on the floor of the hangar after the fire, the only remnants of a $2,000 boat that figured in many a race on Lake Maxinkuckee.

    The early hour of the fire caught many a cadet unawares and resulted in man a humerous scene.

    The only company boat saved from the blaze was ironically No. Thirteen. Also saved was a tewo-oared shell often called the flagship of the Culver fleet and object of many jokes by the crew.

    The fire was the second one to destroy a Culver hangar during the past hangar near the present boat shop, on nine years. A $100,000 blaze in a March 12, 1938, destroyed nearly every academy boat, the notable exceptions being the ROdman, most of crew shells, and other monor boats.

    Three masts for the Fowler, the main mast 45 feet long, and the mizzen (aft) mast 37 feet, 6 inches long, plus all rigging for the boat were destroyed, and relpacement porders have already been sent out. ...


The area of the boathouse 1947.

A view of the on-shore boathouse area:


The boathouse grounds was cleaned up and the building demolished to make way for the White-DeVries Rowing Center which took its place.
One final aerial view.

Interesting enough in the photo the seawalls that David Burns built along the lake front in that area still exist today - they of must of had to have some maintance done to them I would believe over the years by someone else - as the last work David done for the academy was in 1975. Also David preferred to lay stone with the joints recessed in and not flush with the stone facing - as one could note has been done with the wall.



Note clicking some of the images will bring a larger view

Some long time boathouse employees were:
  • Wilfred "Bud" Craft
  • Max Wentz
  • Dale Magnum






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