||Built in 1855 it is colonial-style building, the Allegheny House/Spangler Hotel.
Members of the Babcock fam ily stand in front of the Hotel in a picture taken during
A local historian, Robert Rust, tells us the Spangler Hotel opened in 1870, making this
the beginning of the hotel, wayside inn era at Lake Maxinkuckee and in Culver from 1870
Located 1/2 mile east of the lake. Built 1855 as a tavern-inn another source says 1848 by
Abraham Wicks and Frances (-?-)
on a hill over looking the lake. It is said that during the Civil War it
served as one of the Underground Railroad stations.
It originally had three wings; one being destroyed by fire. It also had a bell tower which
called the fisher men in at meal time from the lake. At the foot of the hill was a flowing
well which provided the hotel with its. water. It also had a large ball room above the main
living room area where dances were held until 1901. It had a large veranda running the length
of the house. Until recently (1986) the old bell tower wss still a part of the structure.
The horse rings used for tying up the horse are still in the wall. Over the years it has been
remodeled. It closed sometime before 1930.
The Bogradus family ran it as a hotel for many years and it was also a resort during the summer
for the people from Indianapolis.
Harriet Bogardus married Peter Spangler
and he ran the hotel for about 65 years during which time it was also known as the Spangler
hotel. He died in 1933 and the Hotel was closed sometime before 1930.
Generations of the Bogardus descendants resided there before it was sold the last descendant being
Ronald L. Babcock.
In 1983 it was given historical recognition by the Marshall county Historical Society. In the 1980's
it was owned by Paul Cromley and he was refurbishing it.<
History of Marshall County Indiana, (Taylor Publishing Co., 1986 Publication # 357 of 1,422),
Marshall County Historical Society.pg. 53
It has been recognized as a County Historical Landmark built in 1855. The honor was presented by the Marshall
County Historical Society on April 28, 1983. The historical significance of the building led the present owner,
Paul R Cromley, to make this house his home.
KNEW BEN HUR AUTHOR
The story "Ben Hur" now being shown at the Char-Bell Theatre was written by General Lew Wallace while
he was on fishing trips at Lake Maxinkuckee according to Mrs. Laura Babcock, of this city Rochester.
Mrs. Babcock stated that General Wallace wrote the story 57 or 58 years ago while staying at the
Allegheny house, Lake Maxinkuckee, owned by Peter Spangler, father of Mrs. Babcock. Mrs. Babcock's
brother, George Spangler, of Culver , has a Mexican dollar in his possession which was given him by
Mr. Wallace during one of his frequent trips to the lake. - The News-Sentinel, Saturday,
February 6, 1932
||The old hotel - home is still owned by Paul R Cromley as of Jan 2017 |
So it was on Lake Street (now 18B Road) that Abram and
Frances built their house high on a hill, overlooking Lake
Maxinkuckee, and named it the Allegheny House as a
reminder of Harriet's home state, Pennsylvania.
The two-story colonial-style house was built to be as
durable as a barn. The hand-hewn beams for the building
were harvested at nearby Wolf Creek. The timber was
chosen from 150-year-old white oak trees. The house is 18
by 35 feet supported by huge beams pegged together with
4x4 braces. Wood shingles were used on the siding of the
house and the roof.
In remodeling years later, it was found to have at least
three fireplaces. The house had upper and lower porches
with ample space for comfortable seating for rest and
relaxation in the open air.
As Peter was honorably discharged from the Army, the
decision was made to remodel the Allegheny House into a
summer hotel. The house needed to be expanded for this
purpose. An addition was built on the back of the house,
allowing ample space for the dining room and the pantry.
Since the house was built on a hill, the floor of the addition
was somewhat lower than the parlor. This made it
necessary to have steps down into the dining room.
The addition created four guestrooms on the upper story.
It required three steps down to enter each of the four
guestrooms. There was one guestroom on the first floor
with a private entry from the porch.
A two-story addition extended to the west. The lower
level was the tavern with an outside entrance. The door
between the tavern and the hotel was so narrow that only
a very small person could go through it. Above the tavern
were guestrooms. This addition was taken down in the
1950s and replaced by a one-story room.
In the center of this hotel was the parlor, ready for the
guests to socialize and get acquainted. There were large
windows overlooking Maxinkuckee Village. The main door
of the hotel opened into the parlor from the porch. The
original door and iron latch remain today.
The dining room was entered through rather low but wide
doors from the parlor. Near the cook house, at the foot of
the hill, was a flowing spring from which all water was carried
to the hotel. The steam, which flowed behind the house,
was used for other household needs.
Many of the guests thought of the Spangler Hotel as a
fishing lodge. Plank-bottomed boats were ready at the
dock. A bell on the roof gave warning to the fisherman to
come in from the lake when it was time to eat. The dinner
bell is still ready to ring from the uppermost gable of the
hotel's roof, if only the pull cord had not given way.
The entire upper level of the main house was the ballroom
with access to the upper-story porch. The original stairway
to the ballroom has been replaced. The earlier one appears
to have been very narrow, probably 24 inches wide. Many
dances were held there with Abram and daughter, Harriet,
as the musicians. They were said to be excellent, she with
the violin and her father playing the cello. Other fiddlers
took part as well and created music many times for hours
of fun and enjoyment. The last dance was held in 1901.
The room of particular interest, the place where General
Lew Wallace wrote part of "Ben Hur," was the southwest
corner room, smallest of the four rooms on the second
floor. He would have had space only for a single bed, a
chair and a small table. The walls of the room have not
been altered. The inside wall was just a divider wall with a
board for hooks. The room is now called "The Lew Wallace
A check of Lew Wallace's itinerary file shows him fishing
on Lake Maxinkuckee on June 7, 1874. He had begun work
on "Ben Hur" by then. "The Fair God" was published the
previous year. "Ben Hur" was finished at the Governor's
Palace in Santa Fe, while he was territorial governor.
Writing about Lake Maxinkuckee in the Chicago American
newspaper, Lew Wallace pronounced it "the most
beautiful place in the world with an old tavern sitting back
from the roadside and looking as if it had stepped out of an
English novel." He wrote the chariot race and other chapters
of "Ben Hur" there.
It is believed but not verified that
Mr. and Mrs. H.H. Culver
stayed in the Spangler Hotel for some time after their marriage.
There was large barn behind the hotel for the horses
and livestock. The fencing around the barn was of loose
stone, now overgrown with vegetation. They had their
own large icehouse. Large blocks of ice would be brought
to the icehouse to be cut and stored for the summer
ahead. Peter had a team of bay mules called Grant and
Chancy that he drove to Plymouth delivering ice.
A four-room addition was built on the south side of thehouse for their son, George, his wife, Margaret, and son,
. The family moved to Culver
) when the property was
sold in 1924. George then operated a service station, a taxi service and an ice cream parlor. The addition has been
Ronald (Budge) and Ida Babcock returned the house
with its one and three-quarters acres to family ownership
in 1929. Ronald is the son of Issac and Ella Spangler Babcock.
He is thought to have been a dairy farmer. Their
son, George, and wife, Frances, also lived in the house. In
1943, the house was finally sold outside the family
PRT SW1/4:NW COR SW1/4 E ALG N LN219'
Paul R. Cromley, present owner of Allegheny House/Spangler Hotel.
Helen Shadle, a descendant of the Bogardus/Spangler family who has compiled genealogical records of her family.
The Culver Citizen.
Robert Rust, record of events.
Daniel McDonald, A Twentieth Century History of Marshall County, Indiana, Volume II.
Edwin R. Corwin, Our Township's Yesterdays.
Culver-Union Township Public Library, Genealogy and History Department.
Indiana Historical Society Press, from the Crawfordsville
Evening Journal, June 13,1874.
Chicago American, 1905.
Antiquarian & Historical Society of Culver Fall 2006 Newsletter
Janice Powell recently bought an old hand made walnut buffet at auction and
inscribed on one of the drawers was, Made from wood trees by Peter Spangler
"ALLEGHENY HOUSE". The one picture is the bottom of the drawers old grocery
crates were used.