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

Commercial District of downtown Culver Part 3  

Part 2

A secondary commercial area was located on Toner Avenue (now Lake Shore Drive) across from the railroad depot. The 1924 Sanborn map shows this area, which, at that time contained a movie theater, several stores, a dance hall, and a garage. Some of these buildings are now gone and the remainder have been altered.

The areas surrounding the Main Street commercial district on the north, west and south sides were, and continue to be, mainly residential. Houses date from c.1890 to c.1940. Among styles represented are Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Bungalow, and Craftsman. 'Vernac ular types include gable-front, T-plan, and American four-square.

Within the commercial historic district, buildings are generally simple brick or wood frame structures, one to two stories in height. The Italianate style is seen in the Osborn Block), and in the building at 108 S. Main Street. Several buildings show the influence of the Arts and Crafts style in the early 20th century. Among these are the Easterday Funeral Home, and the building at 101 S. Main Street.

The Carnegie Library    

  and the U.S. Post Office 

are outstanding local examples of the Colonial Revival style. The scale, materials, detailing, and style of the buildings are typical of many small towns in northern Indiana.

The historic district generally has a good of integrity. Most intrusions are located on the edges of the district, except for the bank building at 101 S. Main Street, which is in the center. Other than the bank, intrusions are the buildings at 105 W. Washington Street, 105 E. Washington Street, 120 S. Main Street, and a concrete block garage at the rear of 120 S. Main, all of which were constructed after the period of significance.

The building at 115 S. Main Street, built c. 1920, is counted as non-contributing because of alterations.   

Among contributing commercial buildings, upper stories are generally intact, and storefronts have been altered. Additional descriptive information is included below under individual buildings.

U. S. Post Office, southeast corner Jefferson and Ohio Streets, Colonial Revival, 1935.

The post office is a one-story, brick building with a hip roof and rectang ular plan. The entry is in the center bay of the five-bay principal (north) facade. Original doors have been replaced with aluminum and glass doors, but the classical door surround remains. This consists of pilasters on each side of the opening, which support a frieze and pediment. Windows are wood, with m ulti-light, double hung sash. Window sills are stone. There are stone keystones in the brick lintels above the openings, and decorative stone panels above. At the front corners of the building are brick quoins. The interior of the building has a high degree of integrity.
The principal decorative feature is a mural entitled, “Arrival of the Mail in Culver .” It was painted in 1938 by Jessie Hull Mayer, an Indianapolis artist, as part of the Public Works of Art Project.

The 1906 Sanborn map shows the Culver Post Office on the east side of Main Street between Washington and Jefferson Street in a frame building on the site of the present Knights of Pythias building. The 1914 and 1924 Sanborn maps show the post office in the first floor rear of the State Exchange Bank building. This building, which was located on the northwest corner of Jefferson and Main Streets has also been removed. The present post office was constructed in 1935. It was built by James I. Barnes Company of Culver at a cost of $37,466.45.

Osborn Block (south), 113-111 S. Main Street, Italianate, c.1905.

This building and the one to the north comprise the Osborn Block. This building is a two-story, brick structure. The principal (east) facade is faced in concrete block, and is four bays wide. There are two storefronts. The south storefront has been covered with wood shingles. The north storefront is an intact, c.1920 bronze storefront made by the Kawneer Manufacturing Company, Niles Michigan. The transom has been covered. The floor in the storefront area is colored tile arranged to spell out “Mitchell & Stabenow.” Windows in the second story of the building are double hung, wood windows, with one light in each sash. Window openings are flat-arched. Sills and lintels are stone. Extending across the top of this building and-the north building of the Osborn Block is a decorative, pressed metal cornice. At the second level, between the two building is a stone tablet with “OSBORN BLOCK.”

The Osborn Block housed a number of important Culver businesses. In the south building,

the south room was a grocery store in the early 1910s.

In the late 1910s and 20s, it was the location of the Home Theater, a movie house.

Today, it is the Cafe Max.

  in the 1920s, the telephone exchange was located on the second floor. 

The Mitchell & Stabenow Clothing Store, located in the north room from at least the 1910s, was an early and longtime tenant.

In recent years, Andy’s Culver Clothiers was located here. Today, Fisher and Company Clothiers is here. For many years while Mitchell & Stabenow were here,   

H.L. Werner, a jeweler, was located in the room above.   

Osborn Block (north), 109-107 S. Main Street, Italianate, c.1900.

The north building of the Osborn Block is a two-story brick structure with a four-bay principal (east facade). The two store fronts have been altered. Second story windows have segmental arch openings with brick lintels and stone sills. Windows are wood. Sash are double hung with one light in each sash. A pressed metal cornice extends across the top of this building and the one to the south.

Charles Medbourn had a grocery store in the south room of this building by the early 1910s. By 1914, a dry goods store was located here. From the time the building was constructed or soon after

Thomas Slattery had the Culver City Drug Store in the north oom. The drug store, which was famous for its chocolate sodas, was here until the 1970s.
Today, the offices of the Culver Citizen occupy this space.

Service Station, southwest corner Main and Jefferson Streets, Vernacular, c.1935.

This is a one-story, concrete block building, influenced by the Moderne [modern] style. The main (east) part of the building has a one-bay garage on the south, and a room with a corner entrance on the north. Above the entrance and extending around the building is an overhang with a rounded edge. This simple line is echoed at the top of the building with concrete banding. A rear addition, rectangular in plan, contains more garage space. Original garage doors, as well as windows, have been replaced.

A service station was constructed on this corner in 1926 by a Mr. Hand, and leased by the Standard Oil Company. R.R. and Howard Mikesell were the first managers. The present building is similar in form and style to other Depression-era stations in Indiana.

Culver City-Union Township Carnegie Library, 107-111 N. Main Street, Colonial Revival, 1916.

The library is a one-story, brick building with a raised basement. The roof is hipped. The entrance, reached by a set of concrete and brick steps, is in the center of the principal (east) facade, which is seven bays wide. The original door has been replaced, but the elaborate stone surround - columns supporting a Doric frieze and broken pediment with a cartouche in the shape of an open book- is intact. There is a gable roof wall dormer above the entry. Windows are m ulti-light, wood casement windows with transoms. There are modillions under the eaves. On the lawn in front of the building is a World War Memorial consisting of a bo ulder with two bronze plaques. One plaque reads “In Honor of Those Who Served/World War I;” the other, “In Honor of Those Who Served/World War II.”

The general contractor for the building was Milo Ottshall of Akron. Zola Moss was the first librarian. Officers of first library board were Dr. E.E. Parker, president, Dr. N. S. Norris, vice-president, and Mrs. W. O. Osborn, secretary.

Commercial Building, 108 S. Main Street, Italianate, c.1900.

This is a two-story, wood frame building with a four-bay principal (west) facade. The storefront has been altered, and a decorative wood porch added to the front of the building. Second story windows are double hung, wood; with one light in each sash. There are wood lintels above the openings, and decorative wood brackets under the eaves.

  Hattie and Perry Wickiser had a furniture store and millinery here by the 1910s. Today, the building houses the Old Towne Restaurant.


Knights of Pythias, Marmont Lodge 231,110-112 N. Main Street, Tudor Revival, c.1915.

The K of P Building is a two-story, brick structure with a four-bay principal (west) facade.
The northern most bay has the entry to the second floor lodge rooms. The opening for the entry is recessed, Tudor-arched and has a decorative stone surround. The window above the entry at the second level is flat-arched but has a similar decorative stone surround and sill. The window in the opening is wood, double hung, with multi-light sash. The entry bay has a triangular parapet with stone accents and a tablet with the name and number of the lodge.   

  The three south bays of the first floor contain two storefronts which have been altered, with a metal awning above. 

At the second level, above the storefronts, are paired windows with flat-arch openings. Wndow sills are stone. Windows are wood, double hung with multi-light sash. Above the second floor windows is stone banding.

Apparently the building to the south, at 108 N. Main Street, was once the Knights of Pythias Building. A c.1910 photo shows it with “ K of P Hall” on its pressed metal parapet. This earlier building was later remodeled for the Easterday Funeral Home. 

Menser Building, 116-120 N. Main Street, Vernacular, 1903.

The Menser Building is a two-story, brick building with a four-bay principal (west) facade. There are two storefronts, each with an entry in the center, and a door accessing the stairway to the second floor. The storefronts have been altered. Above the first level is an added pent roof. Second story window openings are segmental-arched and have been blocked down. Windows are wood, double hung. There are added wood balconies at the windows. Between the two middle windows is a stone tablet with the building name and date. A corbeled brick cornice which wraps around the front and north side of the building is the most decorative feature.

The 1906 Sanborn map shows a meat market in the north room, and a bakery in the south. Nathan Rector is known to have rented a room in the buildng in 1909 when he started his pharmacy. By 1914, there was a grocery store in the north room, and a silent movie theater in the south.

The Culver Commercial Historic District is significant under Criterion A in the area of commerce, and under Criterion C in the area of architecture. The two block area on Main Street has been the principal commercial district for Union Township since the turn of the 20 century. The district contains several good examples of early 20th century architectural styles, including the Italianate style Osborn Block, the Tudor Revival style Knights of Pythias Building, and

the Colonial Revival style Culver City-Union Township Library.   

The area in which the commercial district developed was first platted as Union Town by Bayless L. Dickson in 1844. In 1857, Union Town was replatted by Thomas K. Houghton, and the name changed to Marmont. At this time, the present street names, including Washington, Jefferson Madison, and Main, were established. Marmont grew slowly until the Vandalia Railroad (later part of the Pennsylvnia Railroad system) was constructed along the west side of the lake in 1883, to the east of the Marmont town plat.

The existence of the railroad led to the creation or expansion of local industries, and established Marmont as a shipping center for area farmers. Also because of the railroad, there was increased interest in the Lake Maxinkuckee area as a resort. Culver Military Academy was established in 1894. Soon after, the name of the town was changed to Culver . The railroad, the resort community, and Culver Military Academy were all important factors in the growth of the commercial district.

Commercial establishments existed to serve a broad constituency: area farmers, town residents, the cadets and fac ulty of Culver Military Academy, tourists, and members of the permanent resort community. The commercial district, as it appears today, was developed during the first four decades of the 20th century. The district reflects the character of Culver ’s main commercial area at the time the U. S. Post Office was constructed in 1935.

An early picture of the businesses on Main Street comes from a 1905 directory. At this time, there were two bakeries, a bank (the State Exchange Bank), a barber, a drug store (Slattery’s), several dry goods stores, a shoe repair shop, a carriage and wagon repair shop, a furniture store and funeral home (Easterday’s), several grocery stores, a hardware store, two meat markets, a millinery, and a newspaper (Culver Citizen). There were also a boarding house, a post office,a church, and a lodge hall in the two-block area on Main between Washington and Madison Streets.

Part 4`