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

Maxinkuckee Water & Wells  

15th Annual Report to the Govenor, 1886 (Indianopolis Wm. B. Burford printer) By Indiana. Dept. of Geology and Natural Resources, Indiana. State Geologist, Indiana. Dept. of Statistics and Geology, Indiana. Dept. of Geology and Natural History


...Maxinkuckee, a lake three miles long by nearly two miles wide, in places, lies in nearly the extreme south-western corner of the county, distant from Plymouth about nine miles. Nowhere in the United States is there a lovlier body of pure cold water. It has become a famous summer resort, and deserves all the great praise it has received...

pg. 182-186

In many respects this is the most beautif ul of the m ultitude of small lakes with which Northern and North-eastern Indiana are studded. Its shores are high, beautifully rounded, and clothed with the native forest. The waters are clean and cold. Hundreds of swings flow out from the banks, and many more rise from the bottom of the lake. Very few weeds grow in the water, and there is far less of moss and peaty formation than is common to our Indiana lakes. Here, to a large extent, sand gives place to gravel, and the beach is firm and clean. Though it is one of the deepest of our small lakes, it scareely merits the name of " bottomless," given it by many of the people who reside on its shores and allow their imagination to fill the blue depths with wonders.

We were gravely told by one that every attempt to find bottom was a failure; by another that he knew that the water was more than three hundred feet deep, and by another that he had seen one hundred and eighty feet of line let down only one hundred yards off shore and no bottom was found. When we informed them that we did not expect to find any water one hundred feet deep they smiled contemptuously.

The result of our soundings gave seventy-six feet as the maximum depth. This was found at a point almost in the center of the lake, being very slightly to the west of the middle on an east and west line drawn through Rochester Point and a little to the north of that line. There is, however, a large area of this deep water, perhaps a thousand acres, which will average a depth of fifty feet .

The bottom of the lake is a very compact bowlder clay, covered in places with gravel, at others with sand, and at a few places, notably along the north-west shore, with heavy black muck. In many places a deposit of marl was found. A cross section taken by a line of soundings, from Rochester Point on the west shore, in a direction about thirty degrees north of east, to West Point on the east shore, gave the following depths: 6 feet, 7 feet 34 feet, 72 feet, 68 feet, 66 feet, 76 feet, 62 feet, 60 feet, 41 feet, 31 feet, 17 feet.

These soundings were taken at intervals of about one hundred and twenty yards.

The lake abounds in excellent fish. The big-mouthed black bass (Micropteros salmoides) was at one time very plentif ul, but has either been too largely fished out or has become so wary that only the skilled and patient fisherman can succeed in sticking him with his hook.

The perch are very abundant, and fine strings of croppies are taken early in the spring.

The fish are now being protected from the seine, the net and spear, and it is hoped that the lake may again become as noted for fine fish as it was a dozen years ago.

The construction of the Vandalia Railroad's northern branch to South Bend, with a station at the village of Marmount, at the north-west shore of the lake, so facilitated access that the beautif ul groves along the east side began to be dotted with cottages ; hotels were established, club houses were erected, steamers began to puff about the new landings, and a fleet of little white sail-boats blew over the water. The cottagers have shown most excellent taste in that they have preserved the natural beauty of the groves and green banks, while building large and costly summer houses and the caref ul ornamentation of lawns and groves! has handsomely supplemented without destroying the natural beauties of the place.

The springs which feed Maxinkuckee are very abundant, not only from the shores, but they may be seen in the clear water at a depth of ten feet gushing up from the bottom, and from the deepest parts of the lake rise columns of cold water, chilling the bather like an ice bath. These springs suggested the probability of obtaining successf ul flowing wells, and now so many have been found that along the east shore one can scarcely get be yond the sound of the spouting waters. The water from these wells is very clear and cold, and more or less ferruginous, a few of the wells be ing so highly impregnated with iron as to render the water slightly unpleasant to the taste until one gets used to it. Most of the water, how ever, is excellent at the first taste, and all of it is perfectly wholesome in use. Indeed, one of the causes of the prevailing good health of the cottagers, as well as the residents on the shores of Maxinkuckee, is found in the purity of the waters of the flowing wells and abounding springs. The borings made to obtain these wells have not been watched with sufficient care, nor have the meager notes made at the time been sufficiently preserved to enable us to obtain accurate information as to the true depth and character of the strata at each. Enough can be known, however, to, prove that at least two, and probably three, strata of water-bearing sand and gravel will be passed through in a bore of two hundred feet, and each of which will lift its water to heights of from six to twenty feet above the level of the lake surface.

The wells now flowing, and which were visited and examined, were seen in the following order,: beginning on the north-west shore of the lake near the Vandalia depot and going east:

First, at the Plymouth Club House, and the surrounding cottages of the members of the club, there are four wells. The well in front of the Club House runs a ram which supplies the house with water. This, like the other three wells, is bored about eight feet above the surface of the lake, and will flow to an additional hight of eight feet when confined. The members having wells near their cottages are Messrs. H. G. Phayer [Thayer], McDonald and Hill. Mr. Phayer [Thayer] utilizes the energy of his well in work ing a ram, while the much stronger flow at that of Mr. McDonald, wastes its force in a beautif ul fountain. This flow, when unconfined, rises in a two-inch stream ten inches above the top of the pipe, which is itself eleven feet above the surface of the lake.

These four wells are all bored to about fifty feet, and each passes through the same strata of clay, sand and gravel. The bank of the lake upon which the Plymouth Club House stands is about forty feet high, and at the foot of this bank are a great number of springs. Mr. McDonald informed us that he had counted twenty-four within a few yards.

East of the Plymouth House is the Palmer House, a fine new hotel, with an excellent we'll forty-five feet deep, the top of tbe pipe being fifteen feet above" The surface of the lake. The stream is one of two inches, and when confined to three-quarters of an inch, will rise to a hight of fourteen feet above the pipe. When this well was bored the water spouted twenty-seven feet high, flowing much blue clay and sand and often choking up. The first stratum of sand was struck in this well at a depth of twenty feet, the bore showing yellow clay to that depth. Below the sand a stratum of blue clay about fifteen feet thick was passed through, and the bore ended, at a depth of forty-five feet, in sand.

On the north-east shore, Mr. A. [H.] H. Culver has two wells, each seventy two feet deep, bored at points eighteen feet above the surface of the lake

The bores show the following strata:

Soil and yellow clay 8 ft.
Sand ft.
Blue clay 38 ft.
Sand and gravel12 ft.
Total72 ft.

These wells will flow to a hight of thirty-one feet above the surface of the lake.

Mr. Stechorn, near Mr. Culver , has a well fifty feet deep, which has a small flow.

Farther east, Mr. Willis H. Vajen has a good well which flows nine teen feet above the surface of the lake. This bore showed forty feet of continuous clay, followed by ten feet of sand.

Near Mr. Vajen's place, on the east, the Peru Club has its Club House, and here the club has bored to a depth of one hundred and sixty feet, ending in obdurate hardpan. The flow of water from some higher stratum of sand is weak, being about an eighth of an inch from a two-inch pipe. No section co uld be obtained.

Farther east, "Bay View," the Indianapolis Club House, has a good well only twenty-eight feet deep.

The next well is on the lot of Mr. George W. Miller, of Peru, who has built no cottage, but with his family passes the summers in a large tent. His well is fifty feet deep, and was driven by two men in three hours. The per cent. of iron in the water from this well is evidently much less than in most others near it.

At Highland House, the property of Mrs. Judge Hiller, the well is thirty-three feet deep, though the flow of water was as strong when the first sand was reached at a depth of thirteen feet.

The first well driven at this place to a depth of only thirteen feet obtained so strong a flow that the water could not be confined. The enormous pressure burst through all restraint, and rose in a column six or seven inches thick. This at once stopped the wells which turned Mr. Morman's ram a hundred feet away. The well was finally plugged up, when Mr. Morman's wells again began to flow.

D. W. Morman, Esq., of Indianapolis, has four wells averaging about twenty-two feet deep, flowing about fifteen barrels per minute, which feed a ram supplying his grounds with excellent water. These wells were driven two years ago. In July, 1886, he bored a larger well at a point eight feet above the surface of the lake. At a depth of ninety-eight feet the bore stopped in blue clay. The section showed eleven feet of yellow day, twenty-five feet of sand, and sixty-two feet of blue clay. A wonderf ul flow of water comes from this stratum of sand. The water will rise to a level of twenty-two feet above the surface of the lake, and when we were there the water was leaping in a fountain seven feet above the top of the inch and 'a quarter pipe.

South of Mormon's place J. B. Dill has a good flow, reached at a depth of twenty feet.

The well bored by Hon. J. H. Vajen, at his beautif ul place next south of Mr. Dill, was begun at a point eleven feet above the surface of the lake, and showed the following strata:

Soil and clay 6 ft.
Sand 3 ft.
Blue clay 23 ft.
Total 32 ft.

Mr. Vajen dug a well several years ago, which, on reaching a depth of eight feet, began to flow a milk-white water of about the consistency of cream, and which deposited a silicious, lime-like marl, and whitened the water of the lake for a distance of thirty feet from the water's edge. In the back part of Mr. Vajen's lot was a low. wet spot, which began to sink when the well began to flow,"and continued to sink until the white flow changed to clear, pure water. Mr. Vajen has utilized the pressure of water from his well, the stream running a ram which supplies his premises with water, and also furnishes the power which revolves the beautiful colored light at the landing pier before his gate.

High upon the hill beside the Plymouth road, about one hundred yards from the lake, and fully thirty feet above it, gushes out the "Original Spring," as it is known, which pointed the index finger toward the first flowing well. This spring pours out a four-inch stream, and the boring of wells has never diminished the flow.