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

Houghton Lake  



I Sellers Lot 5 65.12A
I Sellers Lot 6 62.26A
J. F. Cornell Lot 6 40A
E. Muller 40A.
H. Sickamn 51.70A, 32.53A, & 15.20A
T. Houghton 17A




W.H. & W.W. Hawkins 101.38A
W. Sines 40A
M. A. Smith 40A
H. Sickman 61.30A, 32.53A, & 16.20A
J. Minser 57A



Amos Osborn 127A
M.J. Welter 27.40A
M.B. Overmyer 5.80A
P. & A. Sicman 7A
E.B. Osborn 5.60A
I. E, Ocvermyer Not Stated
A. Ovvermyer 93.0A & 38.0A


Indiana Department of Geology and Natural Resources 25th Annual Report, W. S. Blatcheley, State Geologist. Indianapolis, Wm. E. Buford, Contractor for State printing and binding
    These are two small lakes lying about 50 rods apart and occupying parts of sections 7 and 18 (32 north 1 east) Union Township. The north end of Houghton Lake is one and one quarter miles south of the New York Chicago & St Louis Nickel Plate Railway and the east side of Moore Lake is two and a quarter miles west of the Logansport Division of the Vandalia Railway The lakes occupy narrow row parallel valleys which trend northeast and southwest Between the two lakes are two wooded islands the southern and larger of which is about 15 feet above the level of the water A low and narrow marshy tract separates the islands Through this was formerly an artificial ditch connecting the waters of the two lakes This is now choked up with muck and decaying vegetation


    This the western lake was drained in 1897 by a dredge ditch running to the southwest. The water was lowered about five feet and three fourths of the former water area was laid bare

    In September 1900 the water remaining covered a little more than 13 acres and ranged in depth up to 20 eet.

    The former lake bed was surrounded on all sides by low marshy banks which merged gradually upward into the higher cultivated fields. On the south there is a tamarack grove of 20 or more acres and on the northeast an isolated ridge or island of gravel 15 to 20 feet in height from which a good spring flows into the lake To the northeast extensive marshy tracts extend for a half mile or more. These are covered with wire and other marsh grasses and in the dryer seasons are mowed for hay

    MARL: With the aid of Mr Amos Osborne of Culver Indiana who owns the greater portion of the old bed of Houghton Lake 83 bores were put down in this former lake area.

    As no boat was available the present waterarea was not tested but judging from the surrounding tests close to the water margin there is no doubt but marl more than 25 feet in depth underlies the whole of the water

    Over two thirds of the former lake area now dry marl forms the surface

    In many places this surface was so soft that in walking over it we sank six or eight inches In other places it was too soft to walk over without miring down

    Rank growths of bulrushes Scirpus lacustris L occurred over these softer springy portions

    Of the 83 bores put down for the most part 10 rods apart in each direction 36 did not find the bottom of the marl with a 25 foot auger. These were for the most part on the south and west sides of the present water area though a few of them were north of that area and east of the gravel island above mentioned. Twelve of the bores found the marl between 15 and 25 feet in thickness while 12 others found it between eight and 15 feet deep. Of the remaining 23 tests 11 showed six to eight feet of marl and seven of the others found between one and six feet. Except on about 15 acres of marsh in the northeast corner not a single test within the border of the area recently covered with water failed to find marl. East of the present water area the marl between the water and wooded island is only from six to 10 feet in thickness except close to the water where it increases to 18 feet. Just west of the gravel island north of the lake it is but six feet in thickness over quite an area.

    West of the old lake bed as shown on the map there is a marsh area of six or eight acres in which muck three to six feet thick overlies a marl bed from three to 10 feet in thickness In one place in the ditch at the southwest corner the marl is over 28 feet thick as the ditch is three feet deep and bottom was not reached with the auger Wherever bottom of marl was reached gravel was found

    It is estimated that including the present water area there are 50 acres in the old bed of Houghton Lake over which the marl will average 20 feet in thickness .


Amos Osborn 62.26A, 65.12A, & 35.40A
Philip Suckman 18.10A



Amos Osborn 182.25 (5 parcels 62.60, 65.12, 20, 30, 4.53)
Joseph D. Heiser 67.90 (2 parcels)

?-1981 - Milton & H. Scmittel

1981 - 2006 - Gerald and Wilma Osborn
1996 map

2006, Jan 1 - Edwin P. Osborn

2006, Jan 1 - The Nature Conservatory; Nature Conservancy The Froymson Conservation Center

Houghton Lake Nature Preserve
LOCATION: Marshall County
    Latitude: 41.2345917
    Longitude: -86.4553744
SIZE: 360.63 acres
OWNED & MANAGED BY: The Nature Conservancy
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC?: No. This preserve is currently closed to the public while we work on making it more accessible. We plan on opening it in the future.

How often do you get the chance to protect an intact natural lake in Indiana? One of the state's last remaining undeveloped lakes and fringing wetlands will forever remain a wild, natural place for the future. Houghton Lake was an opportunity of a lifetime, and one that the Conservancy could not resist.

What remains so remarkable for Indiana, is the fact that an entire site, all 360.63 acres, was purchased as a single unit. Unlike most conservation areas where we and our partners work piecemeal, the lake and surrounding wetlands were located in the heart of a family-owned farm that was on the market. With a decisive stroke, we were able to purchase the half of the farm that included the 100+ acres of high-quality lands that included the lake and all the surrounding wetlands. We also acquired around 90 acres of lower-quality natural lands that include old marl pits, second growth forests and a very interesting small glacial outwash rise that supports about 5 acres of overgrown oak savanna.

From the Nature Coonservatory site :
    Restoration Efforts at Houghton Lake

    The Nature Conservancy's restoration goals for Houghton Lake were deceptively simple. To the maximum extent possible, we want to restore groundwater flow and quality to the lake and wetlands. To accomplish this we had to remove buried tiles from the agricultural fields and fill in many of the ditches that in the past had intercepted groundwater before it discharged to the lake. This change moves more water through the lake itself, helping to flush out chemicals and nutrients from adjacent farm fields that have accumulated over the decades. Now that the restoration is complete the annual flush of algae the lake experiences should decrease as nutrients leach out of the system over the years. This will improve habitat for native fish, amphibians and reptiles as the water clears over time.

    There is one disruption that we did not restore: the natural lake water level. Although the outlet of the lake is man-made and has dropped the lake several feet, we did not manipulate it. The wetland habitats that have developed on the exposed lake bottom are too valuable and it would be foolish to drown out these high-quality habitats.

    The adjacent fields have been restored to appropriate native wetland and grassland communities. The hydrologic restoration created very wet muck soils in the valley bottom, which we hope to restore to sedge meadows, wet prairies and fen communities. This will increase habitat for many wetland species, especially rare snakes and turtles at the site. The rolling uplands were planted to prairie to reduce agricultural runoff to the wetlands and to create additional habitat. Preparing the Land at Houghton Lake

    As we mentioned before, preparing the tract for restoration has been a long, arduous task. Eradicating the invasive species from the land has been our first task. In the spring/summer of 2007, stewardship worked to remove reed canary grass from the ditch and field edges. Attention will soon be turned to common buckthorn and the native cottonwood trees lining the ditches. Though a native species, cottonwoods must be downed to reduce the number of seeds that shower the landscape and potentially turning our restoration into a dense thicket.

    In the spring of 2009, our invasive specie removal efforts shifted towards purple loosestrife. Efforts to fight it and stem its invasion are costly, time-intensive and often unsuccessful. To help battle purple loosestrife at Houghton Lake, we turned to some unlikely partners. European beetles, Galerucella calmariensis and G. pusilla, have been used since the early 1990s in Indiana as biological control agents for purple loosestrife. In Indiana and numerous sites throughout the Great Lakes, biocontrol programs have been reported to have significantly reduced dense infestations, generally within five years of the initial release. Extensive research and testings has shown that these beetles would not pester other plants. Therefore, once populations of purple loosestrife start to decline, so will the beetles

    A Great Success

    Since we started preparing for this restoration in 2006, we've:

  • plugged three ditches to restore the hydrology of the site and create 8 acres of wetlands
  • installed a water control structure at the south end of the lake to control the water level
  • collected 56 pounds of seed to plant with volunteers
  • purchased an additional 852 pounds of seed to plant
  • planted 135 acres with seed from 140 native species
  • planted 4,500 native plant plugs
  • treated invasive plants (reed canary grass, cottonwoods, Phragmites, Canada thistle, buckthorn, and cattails) on 402 acres, 22 miles of ditches, and 11 miles of field borders, including many retreatments
  • burned 191 acres of habitat with three burns
  • Volunteers donated a total of 360 hours, getting their hands dirty to help with the restoration. Full-time and seasonal staff, along with AmeriCorps members, spent over 3,800 hours in the field working on the restoration.
  • This restoration is finished in the sense that all the necessary pieces – restored hydrology and diverse seed mix – are in place to develop into diverse habitats, but we’ll continue to manage the site to control invasive plants and to introduce fire management.

As of 2016

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