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

Osborn Hotel  

It sat on the corner of Ohio and Jefferson Streets and now represented only by the empty lot remaining behind.

Fred Karst on the History of Culver's Schools

The first Culver school was built between 1898 and 1902. Many think it was the grade school before it became the hotel. It was probably only two stories when it was the grade school. Known to recent Culverites as the Osborn Hotel, the three-story frame building that stands as a landmark at the northwest corner of Ohio and Jefferson was called the New Culver Hotel in its heyday.

David Burns, now 81, recalls attending the first grade in the building in 1915 at a time when it was used as a school. The building at that time was only two stories high, Burns said.

The elementary school building, located about where the two-room addition is being built at Culver Elementary School, had grown crowded, and the school board had spent most of the available funds on construction of a high school. Consequently, Burns said, the first grade met in the former hotel building, and the second grade also used temporary quarters nearby.

Burns said that the building was constructed by a member of the prominent Osborn family -- the same man who built the Osborn Block in downtown Culver .

Burns believes it was built in 1902, although a Civil War veteran he knew claimed that it dated from 1898. The hotel was remodeled by John Osborn, and during one period of reconstruction the third floor was added. High hopes for the building remained until fairly recent times. In February 1975, it was dedicated as the Osborn Center in honor of William 0. Osborn. It was planned as a center for senior citizens.

At the time when Burns was a student there, the first grade had a great many students, but enrollment de­clined in the higher grades, he recalled. Most students, he said, left school to enter the work force after 8th grade. Burns didn't leave school until after his sophomore year of high school, when he left to lay brick with his father. He continued in that occupation.
Some have said that it was later moved to the corner of Main & Jefferson on the southwest corner (now Heritage Park). Is was said to have been a residence for several years; later a hotel and eating house and last was converted and used as a grocery store. It was finally torn down about 1926 to may way for the Hand Filling Station.

It is said that John Osborn [father of William O. Osborn] first bought the Exchange Bank as an investment, to start a hotel for flourishing Culver Military Academy business, Mr. Osborn then sold the bank to M. C. McCormick. The New Culver Hotel was situated on the corner of Jefferson and Madison [Ohio - unless location had changed over the years].

. Section 16 - 500.90A 1835 Original Survey
Section 16 c. 1837 500.90A (North shore town and academy)

This parcel of land was the mandatory school lot by state law. The Old school house that stood there on was built in 1868; it has been said.

1872 - Section. 16
    Est. of I N Morris 105 A ( also 80 A)
    J. Duddleson - 30.60A & 10A
    T. Houghton 90A.
    J. HOughton Acreage not stated
    J ___ name illegible 4A
    G. A. Durr 10A
    Lot no name no acreage stated
    G. A. Durr 5A? - res (Lot 2 3A & 3A)
    Dr. Durr No amount Stated lots as if to be 2 large
    L D W [Lorenzo W. Wiseman]

1876 - J. Castleman - 190A

1876 Section 16
    1850-1876 I. N. Morris 175/185a   [Isaac N. Morris] - 185 A

1880 North Section 16 - 500.90 Acres Town
    I N Morris 185.34
    B. W. Watt 15.50A
    LakeView Club 15A
    J Duddleson 109.31A
    Tho. Houghton 90A.
    J. E. Houghton 19.60A
    E Parker 27 A

From the Logansport Daily Journal page 3 dated Aug. 27, 1882:
    All the preliminaries for the extension of the Logansport branch of the Vandalia railway to Lake Michigan have been satisfactorily adjusted, and upon compliiance with a few easy conditions the contact will be closed, and the work will be commenced and pushed to completion.

    Readers of the Journal are familiar with the route of this line to Marmont (Maxinkuckee), and will have no difficulty in following it to South Bend and the lake...
    With these advantages before them, our citizens are asked to consider one of the conditions above named, which condition is that the right of way shall be furnished free to the new line thorugh our county. The estimated cost of this right of way is from $7,000 to $10,000 and it is proposed to raise the amount by subscription. A consideraable portion of this subscription has already been secured, and a committee appointed for that purpose will make an effort to raise the remainder during the present week...

1883 - Oct 6 - The.Vandaiia railroad company commenced laying iron at Marmount a d ay or two ago, and-withln a short time the tract will be completed from Maxinkuckee lake to the Nickle Plate railroad, a distance of about three miles,- Logansport Pharos Tribune

1898 - Section 16
    L. C. Dillion - 10A, 99.31A, 79.76, 75.60A
    T. Houghton 89A
    A. Roughton
    E. Duddle(son) 9.60A
    E. Morris 21.49A/Morris Lake Front Plat
    T. H. & L RRR Lake View Club 15 A.
    J. J. Bryant
    Incorporated Limits of Culver

1900 - Evermans' Biological Survey

The 1906 Sanborn map show the location of the Public School in the upper left hand corner

Some accounts say that the property was bought about 17 January 1907 by John Osborn for conversion into a hotel; using the school structure for the rear of the hotel and another says the 1st was the old school and was moved onto the lot; this was only one of the "school lots".
    1907 - Jan 17 - Sale of The Old Culver School House... The school property was sold to Henry Zechiel last Saturday for $1,325. John Osborn taking the other from Mr. Zechiel....Mr. Osborn gets a piece of valuable land and a building which will be converted into a large hotel...

    Jan. 17, 1907— In purchasing from Henry Zechiel the old school building and the southwest lot of the school property John Osborn is preparing to construct a large modern hotel. construction of a large modern hotel.

    Mr. Osborn authorizes the Citizen to say that the building will be moved as soon as the weather will permit, arrangements having already been made to that end. It will face the south and will be vaneered with stone, brick or cement blocks. It will have a large porch on the south and on the east. It will contain 21 rooms and will be heated throughout with hot air or hot water. City water will also be introduced, and in every respect the house will be up-to-date.

    Tho improvement will be a notable one and will augment the splendid record which Culver is making in the way of eventually takinga front place among the pretty and enterprising towns of Indiana - - (Culver l Citizen June 6, 1907)

ort Jorurnal pg. 7 dated Mar. 22, 1907 - A new hotel will be built the summer at Culver by John Osborn
    1907 - Apr 25 - The excavation for the new Osborn hotel has been completed, and foundation work will begin at once. The cement blocks will be manufactured on the sppot

    1907 - Jul 11 - The siding of Culver's big new hotel, the Osborn HOuse, has reached the roof. The building is three stories in height.

    And the 1908 Marshall county history by McDonald under John Osborn's biography states: "and a fifty-room hotel furnished with all modern conveniences, a house in which the citizens of this community may well feel a just and commendable pride.'

Culver Citizen. - A. L. Warner has commenced work on his contract for excavating for the Osborn hotel. It will take about twenty days. - Rochester Sentinel, Friday, March 22, 1907

Culver Citizen. - The siding of Culver 's big new hotel, the Osborn House, has reached the roof. The building is three stories in height. - Rochester Sentinel, Friday, July 12, 1907


Opened in 1908; opening dinner night was 31 May 1908.

1908 - June 11 - Culver 's latest public acquisition, the three-story Osborn Hotel, celebrated its opening witha banquet for about 30 business men and their wives, with Mr. and Mrs. John Osborn as the host and hostess. The hotel is one of the best equipod in Northern Indiana.

It was a three story structure 88 by 34 feet. It had 36 bedrooms; a veranda 10' wide and 100 feet long on the side of the building. The 1st floor contained the office [22 by 28]; a waiting room; dinning room 30 by 28 feet and accommodated 75; kitchen; dish room; and cold storage. The 2nd floor had 16 rooms; lavatories and toilets and the 3rd floor had 17 rooms; lavatories and toilets.

The 1908 shows the location of the Osborn hotel by comparing the 1906 fire map and this you can see that the hotel was to the south of the old public school and that it sat on the very edge of that would eventually become the rest of Ohio Street

1909 - January 21 – Small Fire in the Osborn Hotel
    The explosion of a lamp in Miss Peral Osborn's room on the second floor of the Osborn hotel at 6:30 Tuesday evening gave the occupants of the hose a scare and bout twenty minutes of har worl to save the building from destruction.

    The guests were all at supper and Mr. Osborn was at the depot to meet the south-bound train when the explosion occreered.

    Mrs. Kane, rooming on the sceond floor, heard the noise of falling glass, but the fire was discovered by two traveling men going to their rooms. They found the upper hall filled with smokw and gave the alarm.

    Everybody then took a hand. A line was formed from the bathroom and pitchers and bowls of water were passed to the blazing room until the fire was out. The wardrone, on which the lamp stoof was destroyed and Miss Perl's clothing was consumed.

    The fire had also worked its way into the wall, necessitating considerable chjopping. No alarm was sent to the fire department, as everyone was to busy to think of it, and the fire had not advanced far enough to create undue apprehension.

    MIss Pear says that the lamp had not been burning well since it was filled on Saturday. Whether the burner was clogged or gasoline had been used by mistake in filling the lamp is not certain.

    The financial loss will be made good by isnurance, but Mis Pearl mourns the destruction of a number of keepsakes for whihc there can be no compensation.

1909 Jan 28 Cause of Explosion
    It has been learned that gasoline put by mistake iinto the lamp caused the expolsion and fire at the Osborn Hotel

    A new girl employe of the house was told to fill the lamp from the oil can on the porch, but meantime some one had taken the ooil can away and left the gasloine can, and the girl relying on her instructions, filled the lamp with the explosive fluid

    As Pearl Osborn had been sitting by the lamp for several evenings, it s providential that the explosion occurred during the time she was in the dining room.

1909 - May 13 -John Osborn last week added to the livery facilities of the Osborn hotel a new two-cylinder 22-horse power Reo automobile. It is a handsome car...

V. Poling assisted in the office. W. O. Osborn ran the hotel dray service picking up guests and luggage at the Vandalia depot and registered guests at the hotel

It again was used for a school later. Later a grocery store.

1909 - October 7 - John Osborn is building a 20 foot extension to the porch on the east side of the hotel and A refrigerator house. The hotel

1910 - John & Jennie Osborn - Landlord

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1914 - Jan. 15 - Samantha Dunham, cook at the Osborn Hotel, held a surprise birthday chicken supper last Thursday honoring her employer, John Osborn.

1917 - Aug 15 - New Manager for Hotel - Miss Estella Pontius has been engaged as the manager of the Osborn Hotel. Miss Pontius is a good business woman, a good "mixer", and we predict for her a successful and pleasan career as a "hotel man" as long as she feel inclined to remain

1918 - Mar 20 - Estella Pontus has severed her connection as manager with the Hotel Culver and has gone to Cleveland to resume her former trade of milliner. Mr. O'Niel of Chicago son the the proproetor will manage the hotel for the season.

1919 june 18 Ray Mikesell has succeeded Howard Hass as manager of the Hotel Culver .

1919, Oct 1 - Hotel Dances - Manager Contzen of Hotel Culver announced for next Friday night dances to be given at the hotel. While these dances will be open to the public they will be slect and everybody may be assured of an evening of ualloyed enjoyment. Good music. Gentlemen's tickets 75 cents, ladies free.

1920 - Harry L. and Mary C. Contzen listed as manager.

1920 - May 8 - For Sale Only splendid commercial hotel, 42 rooms, furnace, steam heat, electic lights, located at Culver, Ind., three blocks from Lake Maxkinkuckee; fine fishing; includes all fixtures; very low price; pocessesion at once. Address JohnIsenbarger, North Manchester, Ind. - Indianapolis Star. - 1920 - Sep 1 - Hotel Culver Sold
    John Isenberger of Manchester has sold the Culver Hotel to Joe C. Stuart of Roanoke, Ind

    Mrs. Stuart came late Monday and took possession.

    Mr Contzen, who has ably managed the house for the past year, will return to his work as a stenographer at the academy

1920 - Dec. 8 - The Hotel Culver has been sold to George W. Shively by J. C. Stuart. Mr. Shively is a hotel man from Winona who will take possession January 1

" The 1922 plat map show the existence of the hotel building but does not attach a name to it.

1922 - May 24 - H. L. Cotzen has leased the Hotel Culver an took possession last Saturday. Mr. and Mrs. Contzen are very capable and pleasant people. Under their management the house should become popular

1923 - Apr 18, 1923 - The Hotel Culver has been purchased by N. J . Hackett, of North Judson

1923 - Sep 19 Hotel Hackett Sold
    W. H. Eickenberry of Kokomo Took Over Last Week

    The Hotel Hackett was sole last week by L. B. Hackett to W. H. Eickenberry of Kokomo....

By the 1924 and 1937 Sanborn Fire Maps this is the Osborn Hotel and sits on the very same lot!

" It is clearly marked as the Hackett Hotel-' also known more promently as the Osborn Hotel or the New Culver Hotel or Culver Hotel.

1926 - Nov. 24 - Local Hotel Takes New Life
    The Culver Hotel, more popularly known as the "Osborn", after many changes and trades, has finally fallen into the hands of a Mr. Scott, of Rockford, Illinois, who sees the advantages of our town and the necessaity of a real hotel here.

    Mrs. Scott takes the stand that this is the only otel in Culver and that all that is need is to put the premises in a condition to appeal to the traveling public and to furnish service commensutate with that rendering by other first class hostelries and that is demanded by the patrions of the house and then the "New Culver Hotel" will keep itsel filled with guests which will mean not only a financial success to those interested, but also next to our wonderful acasemy will be the greatest advertisement and drawing card our town could get.

    There is no questioning the statement that a good hotel is an asset to any town or city and with three trunk line stiate roads touching us with their tourists, the visitors to the academy, our own wonderful lake and summer serot, and our distance from larger centers, an up to the minute hotel will fill the last weak link in our surroundings and make Culver one of the most important and best advertised towns in the state.

    It is conceded fact that a poor hotel drives tourists away and a good one brings them; also tourists spend money with the merchants, who deposit it in the bank wich loans it in the community which helps the entire community.

    As the first step in the new regime Mr. Scott has already installed hot and cold running water in 18 rooms and private baths in six more, hast let contracts for re-tinning, painting, and decorating, electric wiring and has already installed $1500 of up-to-minute furniture, and as soon as a suitable operator can be obtained, will open a real dining room fitted to take care of the desires of not only the traveling public, but those ofout home people and thise of surrounding towns as well.

    Mr. W. N. Oatess, who has been in your midst for two or three years while the palce was in throes of despondency, will have the management of the new home and while Mr. Oatess is a young man in years, he is an old man in hohtel esperience, and with the new facilities at hand, promises to put a real city hotel in your town andn to furnish a place the home people, as well as the transient will be proud to talk about and patronize.

    Mr. Oatess and Mr. Scott have several new features to father for your comfot and pleasure in the near future, as quickly as preparation can be made for them and as fast as they are ready, announcements will be made in this paper.

    In the meantime, let the good work go on, for they have a splendid, light, homey, sanitary building with a spacious lobby in a delightful location and need only the finishing touches, as mentioned above to make every neighboring city envy us - paid adv.

1927 - March 16th - Hotel Changes Owners
    Culver Hotel is Being Improved Ny New proprietor.

    Another place of business in Culver changed ownership this week whe J. J. of Rockford, Ill., purchased the Culver Hotel from Geo E. Scott of the same city.

    Mr. Burns has taken immediate possession and is starting at once to remodel and redecorate the interior of the building

    Mr Burns also announces that the dining room will be opened and ready to serve the public.

    His intention is to furnish Culver with a commercial hotel that will be a real asset to the town.

    Mr. Oatess, who has managed the hotel for the past few years, has accepted a postion as a salesman for a Chicago clothing firm, but will remain in Culver until the new owner becomes acquainted with the local business

1927, Apr 13 - New Culver Hotel to Have Forma Opening'
    The New Culver Hotel annpounces its formal opening for Thursday night, April 14th. The building has been redecorated and remodeled and the new manafer, J. J. Burns, is taking this opportunity to acquaint the public with the changes. Dancing will occupy the first part of the evening, whil at midnight, a dinner will be served.

1928 - Jan 18 - Hotel Changes Hands -
    The New Culver Hotel is now under new management, H. W. Eastman of Harvard, Ill., having purchased the building. He intends to open the fdinning room Monday and will operate a first class hotel at all times. The deal was closed last Friday, and the former manager, J. J. Burns, was immediately released.

1929 - Jul 10 New Culver Hotel Interior Attractively Redecorated
    The lobby, writing room and innign room at the New Culver hotel have been redecorated, giving the interior a finish that probably equeals any hotel in the county

    The woodwork in the lobby and writing room as a gum finish, while the dinning room woodwork has a two toned finish that makes the old wood look like new..

    A tiffany finish has been used on the walls with the dinning room in differents shades from the lobby.

    New curtains have also been added to the didning room.

    THe work was done by Van Tryffle, Eastman and Van Tryffle, who are making the hotel their headquarters for several weeks whilt they do work in this vicinity.

    The improvements are in keeping with the program of Mr. Eastman, the manager, in giving Culver the best commercial hotel possible.

1930 - Mar. 29 - Eastman Buys Nappanee Hotel; New Manager Her
    H. W. Eastman, popular proprietor of the new Culver Hotel, has purchased a hotel in Nappanee, which he will operate in addition to the local hostelry.

    G. W. Hollenbeck of Kankakee, Ill., has become manager of the Culver Hotel.

In 1930 George W. & Luella Hollenbeck was listed as manager. Lavinia (Saine) Wasson could of been the bookkeeper - as she was listed in the census as being that and at a hotel.

1920 - Dec 31 - F. E. Newman Manager, of New Culver Hotel - F. E. Newman, formerly connected with the Palmer House of Culver has accepted the managership of the New Culver Hotel. Mr. Eastoman continues as owner of the hotel but will devote his time to his Nappanee establishment. Mr. Newman has nad many years of hotel experience and planse to give Culver a hotel that will be known for its fine meals as well as atractive rooms

1931 - May 6, 1931—New Culver Hotel offers Sunday dinners - soup, choice of fried spring chicken, roast veal with dressing, or T-bone steaks; asparagas, combination salad, hot rolls, dill pickles, pie ala mode, coffee, tea or milk for 75 cents. Mrs. H. W. Eastman and Mrs. Lowell McKesson are the proprietors.

1931 - Dec. 21 - F. E. Newman, formerly connected with the Palmer hotel has accepted the managership of the New Culver Hotel

Below is a 1931 ad for dining at the hotel - and managership had passed to F. E. Newman.

Below is an ad from the Culver Military Messenger of 1932-3:

managers had changed to Mrs. H. W. Eastman and Mrs. Lowell McKesson

1934 - May 30 - J. Burns Takes over Management of Hotel - J. J. Burns has taken over the manafement of the New CUlver Hoterl, succeeding Lowell McKesson. H. W. Eastman of Nappanee remains the ownter of the business. Mr. McKesson has not announced his plans for the future

1935 - May 22 - Henry Abbenseth of Gary has taken over the management of the New Culver Hotel. Mrs. H. W. Eastman having returned to Nappanee.

Many a famous people it would be assumed passed through its door - It is said that Will Rogers stayed there while doing a broadcast for WCMA [June 1925- 30 Nov. 1932].

Was also known as the Hackett Hotel but known more promently as the Osborn Hotel or the New Culver Hotel as labeled in 1937; or Culver Hotel.

It is said the decorated peaks that graced the top of the hotel were taken off somewhere about 1942 to 1947.

1961-Jan 1967 - The New Culver Hotel - Micheal & Sophia Anthony

Jan 1967- Jul 1968 - The new Culver Hotel - Micheal Anthony

Miss Goss - used the Grand Piano and taught piano lessons from the lobby of the hotel in the late 1968 - how long before that is unknown and possibly into the 1970's.

In the early seventies its name was changed to The Osborn House.

In February 1975 it was dedicated as the Osborn Center, honoring the town's number one citizen William O. Osborn. T he center was planned for use by the senior citizens.

Sirus Property  

JED AIR who had it razed in 1990 for safety reasons. .  

Thus far the lot remains vacant but for a small ornamental gazebo on the back northwest corner.

W. Bailey Davis - ? 1997
Diana S. Davis - 1997 - 2013
In the 2000's it has been used as the as the spot for the Farmer's Market which was first held on the empty lot at the northeast corner of Main & Jefferson St.

Today is