What's Wrong With Culver? - 1956
Just What's Wrong With Culver?
Industry Continues To Pass Us By And Nobody Cares!
An Open Letter to the Citizens of Culver:
I am not in the habit of writing letters to newspapers, much less asking that my name not be used,
but due to business contacts in Culver, I hesitate to "step on anyone's toes".
I feel strongly about the issues in this letter and write it in all sencerity and with deep respect for
the citizens of Culver
Ever since childhood I've heard it said that what Culver needs is two or three nice clean, small industired.
I'm certainly inclined to agree, and wish to add my name to the long list of residents who are greatly
alarmed when the look at progressive communities like Bourbon, Bremen, Plymouth, Knox, and North
Judson with their steady, healthy gorwth in population, and then notice the stagnant population of this
A friend of mine, a native of Culver, after an absence from this town of about 12 years, remarked
upon his return to Culver that it looked about the same, only maybe a little smaller. That in my opinion,
is certainly the mark of a dying, withering community.
It seems that everyone talks about the desirability of small industry, but no one does anything much
The Chamber of Commece conducted a brief short-lived drive to secure an industry, but when they failed
on their first few prospects they fizzled out, and evidently have given up in despair.
Even out paper, which I assume would be in favor of a growing, progressive community, had not
published a single editorial regarding Culver's need for file, the advantages of small industry in Culver, or
Culvers desirablity as a small industruiasl town, (Or doesn't the Citizen write Editorials?).
The Lone Star Boat Company of Bremen has certainly provided more life for that town, yet we lost
out in Culver, the logical choice, it is said, because one or two "infulential" citizens asked them not to
Had the Chamber of Commerce heen on its toes and been able to offer a choice of locations and shown
a desire for the company, I'm sure we would now have a desirable slmall industry in Culver.
I understand that thorugh the hard work of the Chamber of Commerce, North Judson will soon have a
new company employing around 100 person. Think what that would have meant to Culver in temrs of
increased business in the community.
I often wonder how businessmen in Culver make ends meet as it is. I assume if it were not for the summer
tourists and Academy trade they would soon "go under".
Many people still have the old fashioned idea that industry means dingy, run-down buildings spewing out
smoke all over town. Nothing could be further fomr the truth. INdustry today is concered about its
appearance and its relations with the community in which it locates. Modern buildings properly landscaped
with parking lots adequate for all their employees are now the rule rather than the exception.
Most industries now locate either at the edge of town or even a few miles from the town, thus keeping
traffic away from residential areas.
I have seen towns in the past few years that have beed blessed with a new undustry grow from sleepy,
stagnant towns into vigorous, wide awake communities with new school improvements, new homes,
increased re-sale value of older homes, increased business for local businessmen, and more empoyment for
local people at better wages.
Has anyone stopped to figure out just hown many of our young people stay in Culver? Certainly a very
small protion of our people who graduate from high school and go on to college return to Culver.
How many families can you name that have moved from Culver in the recent years to fine employment
elsew here? I can name a great many, and theres is another great number that are employed outside
of Culver and only live here because of strong family ties, like myslef.
Many state that Culver has nothing to offer, but her potential adavantages far outnumber her
disadvantages. FIRST on the list of advanates for industry would cetainly be Lake Maxinkuckee and its
recreational facilities. We have many excellent churches in Culver and Union Township, a fine school
system where enrollment decreased last year when all other schools shown an increased enrollement,
room on all sides of the town for new homes, a comparatively low tax rate, adequate water supply,
good electric power service, a top notch telephone system, far better fire protection than communties
many times our size, and fari highway wocerage that would certainly be improved should the need arise
True we do not habe natural gas, and we have but one railroad, which id poorly situated, but fewer
materials are being shipped by rail these days and highway improvements could more than make up
for our railway inadequateness.
Today Culver is a town of primarily older and middle-aged people.
Young people have nothing to keep them in Culver and must go elsewhere to find employement
We are almost entirely dependent on the business of the Academy and summer lake residents,
and this is certainly not a healthy situation.
With new improvements in agriculture, allowing the farmer to produce more and better crops from
less acreage with less help, the need is for fewer youngsters to enter farming so we cannot look to
the farm for employment as we could 20 or 30 years ago.
Since it seems obvious that our Chamber of Commerce or Lions Club are either not willing to carry
the load along, of cannot carry the load alone why couldn't one of these groups, or both of them
sponsor a Citizens for Industry Committe and give all intrested persons an opportunity to help carry
the burden - (Name witheld on Request)
More Comment on Just What's Wrong With Culver
A Spade is Called A Spade by Rober K. Kyle
Since your highly letter of last week, "Just What's The Matter with CUlver?", has all the earmarks of
becoming a free-for-all, I want to get into it!
Furthermore I am signing my name because I don't believe in anonymous approaches. I have been the
target of any of them since coming to this benighted hamlet 20 years ago.
I have listened to this CUler "needs a factory", drive all these years and am becoing rather weary of
having the Academy and the Bank blamed for keeping out industrues. The truth is that this
community has no labor resrvoir. Both of the aboce institutions, which are the largest employers for
miles around, are hard-pressed for adequate help most of the time, and have way-above-average
percentages of labor turn over.
At Present Culver cannot adequately service any responsible industry of more than a handful of
Actually what culver needs is what industrial relations experts call the Spirit of the Community, when
them make scientific surveys of location possiblities, such as General Motors did at Logansport, and find
a deplorable situtation wholly misrepresented by the local business organization that bid for a GM factory.
No reputable firm or individual is goin to locate in Culver until the situation improves, and then it is
doubtful if factories are the solution to any community problem under the present trend of
diversification and spreadinf og industries. Just ask the Governor of California if he hasn't population
headaces? Or go to neighboring Bourbon or Bremen and inquire whether factories have helped much.
We migh as well be realistic in the face of 50 years of isrile and lack of planning, and plain selfishness,
and get down to cases as to why this communit is what it is:
(1) SIX STRATAS OF SOCIETY
This community is handicapped because of thises different levels of society, unable to agress
or present a united front. They are the townspeople, the resort people, the Adacemy people,
the rural people, the colored people, and he floating population. No serious effort has ever been
made to unify therse groups.
(2) COMPARATIVE HIGH LIVING COSTS
Observers say that people do most of their shoppin lesewhere because Culver prices are higher since
the business of the town has always been geared to the summer trade.
(3) TAX RATES
No excessively high but could be lower. SUpport by takxation of two libraries - on in town and one at
the Union Township Schools is luxury that no community this size should be saddled with. WIth 1,800
acres taken off for the lake and approximately 1,000 acres of the Academy, the below-average for the
county productive farm land is taxed to high thus taking this part of the buying power away from the
(4) TRANSPORATION FACILITIES
Not situated on an east-west railroad is a seriou handicap, and the two state highways are of secondary
(5) OBSOLETE WATER SYSTEM
A complete revamping to the water plant to increast the capacity is necessary to supply an increase
in population . The storm sewage system is wholly unable to carry away the rain water, for example at
Hatten'ds garage and the railroad station.
(6) LACK OF ZONING ORDINANCE
ANyone can construct anything anywhere in the town and township because of no zoning laws. Every
community now recongnizes this as essential. For these may years the rugged individualism allowed the
place to just grow. We have an unscreened junk yard in the heart of the business district and a
juice-joint at the apex of the most dangerous corner in Culver.
(7) TRAFFIC CONTROL
A simple survey by the CHicago Motor Club or Indiana Traffic Saftey Commission will show that
contnrol is practically nil, with utter disregard to parking on the left side of the dtrets,
double-parking, tag-playing until dawm, parking on both sides of marrow thoroughfares, and
mumerous other petty annoyances and hazards.
(8) STREETS< ALLEYS AND PROPERTIES
A lot more work should be done on street repair when funds are available because of the
wrecage strewn by the sewage dispocal contactiors. The township trestee is charged by
law with cutting of weeds.
(9) TOWN PARK
It is no longer a town park but a honky-tonk, miniature Coney Island, not for the pleasure of the
community bit the outlaying population who pack most of their merchandise with them. The town
gets no revenue to even police the grounds of lieer. The town park is the showplace of the
community and eventually is going to become a major problem because there is no revenue to
maintain it. The beach lodge should be open the year round for young people's recreation. All
community organizations must give this careful study and the act in a concerted effort. The days
of penny-ante drives should be over.
On the "good" side Culver has excellent and beautiful chruches, all assuming more than their share of
community betterment, led by otstanding borad minded clergymen.
It has a new grade school building, adequate to meet the growing population needs for many years to
It has a variety of good restaurants, grocery, and clothing stores, a comfortable theatre playing excellent
probuctions, direct dial telephone service, a bank that is a model for size and service, and known
everywhere as having the largest deposits per capita in the Middle West
An improvement might be in a more modern, scientific and liberal approach to our tavern problem
with at least one respectable three-way license for serving out-of-town visitors in a pleasant atmosphere,
and not driving some of our leading citizens to Monterey, Bass Lake, Ora, and the Plymouth Country Club
for a quiet drink other than beer or wine.
Since I have already have been accused of writing the first letter "Just What's The Mater..." I now can sit
back and relax, awaiting the day when some hjerks wreck my fence again or burna fiery corss in my yard.
However there's still provisions in the Constitution for the bearing of arms and Fredom of Speech -
Sinceryl Robert K. Kyle.
EDITOR'S NOTE" The wirter of this article is a former newpaper editor and reporter of 30 years'
experieince with the Hearst organization and New York Herald Tribune, Indianapolis Star, and the
old SOuth Bened News Times, and was publicity representaive for one of the motion picture
producing companies. SInce 1946 he was been engaged in publicity and public relations and writes
articles for national magazines. He was educated at Purdue, was born in Bourbon, this county and is a
well know horticulturist and conservationist.
22 Aug, 1956
29 Aug 1956
Another possible letter - An ad in the 29 Aug. 1956 Citizen:
If the writer of the anonymous letter postmarked 9:30 a.m., Aug. 28, and signed "One of the
Many Culver Citizens who thinks Culver Stinks", will identify himself or herself to this newspaper
only, the letter will be published.
There's Nothing Wrong With Culver, Indiana!
John H. Hackney Is Latest To Add His Two Cents Worth
Before some impsoter latchon unto my good name and writes one of those anonalous letters and signs
my John H. Hackney, I'd better jump in head first with my own ideas of wht's wrong with Culver.
You can jest bet you bottom dollar nothin's wrong with this town.
It's all in the head. Ever once in awile someone gits the idea that he's a-goin' travlin'. He sees what's
happenin' in such a such a distant place as North Jugson or he goes straight to Bourbon and comes
away with city-clicker ideas about changing CUlver into a factory town.
No I don't rightly like to git into a free-for-all, specially when everone's towerin' over me a couple of
feet, but I always sez, what's good for the goose is also good for the slander.
I'm purty good at sizing up thinfs and even better at shootin' off my mouth about the exact size of
them things. Then, again, ain't we all purty good at this game?
Althea (that's my old lady) sez I should keep still, but I sez to her, I sez, if'n I got freedom in my love
and my soul is free what do I have to worry about? an she sex Paw, you're a-talkin' thru your hat,
go out'n and feed the chickens.
So I did. And wils they was a-cluckin' arounf and dippin' their fool heads right and left, I tried to
pin down jest what all this fuss about Culver is about.
I asts myself, ain't Culver serving its puprose? And what is that purpose? Out of the blue sky (which
was gittin' kinda benighted by then), it hit me. Jest like that I had one of the answers:
"You can;t have your lake and fish it too."
Simple, ain't it?
Cany you make a silk purse cut'n a sow's ear, and if so, why? Is progress always measuren in terms of
dollars and noise and soot and activity? Or is it?
Maybe Culver's in much of the stcherwayon as the feller who's bin wearin his long underwear to long.
He knows it's time for a change, but at the same time it's so easy to go on jest as things is, jest
a-scratchin' in the old familar way and places
Maybe Culver;s jest a flower born to blush unseen and waste its sweetness on the desert air. Don't
know who said them jest know it wasn't me.
So wile I wattched those old hens a-peckin' away I thought to myself that no man is an island, that
all of us is connected by a vast network of television sets. How much more confortable is it to set at
home and watch TV than go out, say ina jazzed-up Culver, have a few mixed drinks before eating a
good meal, and then set around and watch a floor sow, or dance. I suppose if'n I really wanted a nip
or two of snkaebite, I could git in a local drug store, sneak it home, and go right on watching TV.
My final though wuz' that there ain't six levels of people in Culver, there's only tow" those that are
satisfied with a dull, dead life and those that are hungerin' for more money. I sez. there's to an
improved and a progressive status quover. John H Hackney.
5 Sep 1956