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

Richard Edwin "Rich" Ford  





Richard Ford, whose family built another successful business, Ford Meter Box,
    Ford Meter Box marks 100th year in Wabash
    Company was first located in Diehl Machine basement
    By Pete Jones
    Published: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 5:02 PM EST, Wabash Plarin Dealer

    It's a quiet celebration at The Ford Meter Box Company, Inc. this month, but a celebration nonetheless as the firm observes a century of operations in Wabash.

    The firm, which had its start in Edwin Ford's home in Hartford City in 1898, moved to Wabash in January, 1911, set up production in the basement of the Diehl Machine Works, and became an incorporated company. The Indiana Secretary of State's office issued incorporation documents 100 years ago today...

    The move to Wabash was in fact a return home for the company's founder, for Edwin Ford, the son of Dr. James and America Ford, was born in Wabash in 1861. His career took him to Gas City where he was a partner in a glass factory, but that business closed during the Panic of 1893 and Edwin and his family moved to Hartford City where eventually he began to build water meter boxes in the basement of his home.

    The fledgling business soon outgrew the basement workshop, so Ford rented a building across the way from the family home on Kickapoo Street and expanded production of the firm's only product. A conversation in 1910 with Tom McNamee, a boyhood friend, soon brought the company to Wabash with McNamee as part owner.

    By 1915, the company had again outgrown its quarters, and on one of the coldest days of the year the firm moved machinery and other equipment to a building at Caroll and Factory streets. One corner of that stone building is preserved today as a reminder of the many stone structures that once dotted the area.

    The company stayed on Carroll Street until 1950 when it moved to Manchester Avenue and into buildings once owned by the Pioneer Hat Company. Ford has erected a number of other structures on that same site, where it remains today...

    The Ford Meter Box Foundation, Inc., maintains a strong philanthropic presence in the community. The Foundation provides support to a number of educational, charitable, civic, and fine arts endeavors in the area.

    The Ford Meter Box Company remains a privately-held concern, and five of the firm's seven presidents have been family members. Current president Steve Ford is the great-grandson of the founder...

created the Charley Creek Foundation to supports arts, c ulture and historic preservation. Its projects include: the Dr. James Ford Historic Home, a museum created in the Civil War surgeon's Hill Street house; the Charley Creek Gardens; and the Charley Creek Arts Fest.

Virginia and her brother, Richard, cutting the ribbon at the grand opening of the Charley Creek Inn.-

Ford's current effort is the $15-million restoration of the former Hotel Indiana in 2008, which has been renamed the Charley Creek Inn. Built in 1920 and located a block from the Honeywell Center, the hotel at 111 W. Market St. was once considered the city's most endangered historic building.
    Indiana Landmarks will present its annual Cook Cup for Outstanding Restoration to Richard Ford for his transformation of a historic hotel in Wabash. Ford will accept the award at the new Indiana Landmarks Center in Indianapolis on April 16 2011 during the grand opening weekend.


The 1920 Hotel Indiana was a nearly vacant apartment building called the Red Apple Inn at Market and Miami streets in downtown Wabash. Ford restored it to its original use as a hotel, renamed the Charley Creek Inn, that includes a restaurant, cocktail lounge with piano bar and retail stores at street level.

Famously devoted to his hometown, Ford said, “I couldn’t think of anything that would help downtown Wabash more than having a hotel a block away from the Honeywell Center.”

Ford’s team of RATIO Architects, Brandt Construction, Rowland Design and local subcontractors met strict preservation guidelines. Relying on historic photos, they re-created missing features—the parapet, cast stone work on the façade, and the canopies over the main entrances—and restored the prismatic glass transoms, scored plaster walls and terrazzo floors.

Ford added the restaurant Twenty and revived the Green Hat Lounge, a piano bar, directing the team to recreate a long-missing but well-remembered feature—a tipping Green Hat neon sign.

In 1920, the hotel’s 80 rooms were small and the lobby was large. Before TVs and laptops and air conditioning, people came down to the two-decker lobby to visit, read, play cards. “They retired to their rooms only to sleep,” Ford noted.

He restored the beautiful lobby and mezzanine and converted the 80 utilitarian rooms into 30 luxurious ones to meet the expectations of 21st-century guests

The Cook Cup which honors owners who adhere to the highest standards of restoration in projects that make a positive difference in the community is the second award the project has garnered in as many weeks. The state’s Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology presented Ford with its annual outstanding commercial rehabilitation award on April 6 in Indianapolis.
Manchester College on Sept. 15 2005 celebrated Wabash resident Richard E. Ford for his life work as a philanthropist and preserver of the humanities and fine arts at home and abroad.

    College President Jo Young Switzer presented Ford with the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

    Ford was presented for the degree by 13th President Parker G. Marden, who remarked on Ford’s service on the boards and advisory councils for arts and humanities organizations that touch thousands of lives, including as chair of the National Trust for Historic Preservation Council.

Ford’s service enriches the Wabash Valley Music Association and the Historic Landmark Foundation of Indiana, and it stretches across the ocean to the American Museum in Britain. He generously supports the Ballet Internationale as well as the Wabash County Historical Museum and the Indiana State Museum.

A life member and former Chair of The Honeywell Foundation, Ford also holds a directorship with the Indianapolis Museum of Art and advises the Faberge Arts Foundation. His interests and service span the arts, from presidencies of the American Pianists Association to the Wabash Valley Dance Theatre. The Indianapolis Opera Company and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra know him well for his trusteeship and philanthropy.

Born and raised in Wabash. A 1961 business graduate of Indiana University (Bloomington), . After graduation, he worked for the family business, the Ford Meter Box Company, for several years as a sales representative in the East. He then worked for the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency as a liaison officer for historic preservation, and later began f ulltime volunteer work.

In his mid 30's he returned to Indiana to continue volunteering and philanthropy, with his primary focus being historic preservation, the arts and education.

Ford was a director in the family business his grandfather Edwin Ford founded, The Ford Meter Box Company, from 1978 to 2001.

He is recipient of two Sagamores of the Wabash, and has been honored as a Distinguished Citizen of Indianapolis and of Wabash. He also is “Living Legend” of the Indiana Historical Society.

Richard E. Ford has spent the majority of his ad ult years improving the quality of life for residents of Indiana, with special attention shown to his hometown of Wabash and also to Lake Maxinkuckee, where the family has long had a home. r
Richard Ford to Act as Parade Marshal for 2005 for the Parade Of Classics Grand Marshal for the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival

To further advance his work in Wabash, he has founded the Charley Creek Foundation, which restored and opened the Dr. James Ford Historic Home as a 19th century house museum with doctor's office and garden. Other gardens open to the public were developed behind other family properties, and the north bank of the Wabash River. The Foundation also sponsors artist's workshops.

Richard has received many awards and citations for his outstanding work and has served in various director and advisory positions with many exceptional non-profit organizations.

On 6 Jun 2006 Richard E. Ford was elected to the thirty-fifth group if Active members of the Indiana Acadmey.

August 18, 2009 Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, Indiana's only Smithsonian affiliate, has announced the 2009 Spirit of the Prairie Award recipients of which one was preservationist and philanthropist Richard E. Ford






Recently Richard ford spoke at the Culver 's Kiwainis Club on 29 November 2007 - following in some of his memories and remarks.

Culver Citizen
Thursday, 13 December 2007
by Jeff Kenny, Editor
Richard Ford has deep roots in Culver


...My parents came here in the 1930's and rented from the West family...They rented there in 1928, and the next year they rented a house on East Shore Lane. I use the term "house" loosley; many were little more than fishing shacks. The privy was probably still in the backyard, with a hand dug septic system. You could see through the cracks in the walls. They had primitive heat.

...probably paid no more than $4000 for the house...Life was so much simpler then. We lived here from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Then we would put wooden shutters up over every window...

There was no soft water service in those days...You bathed in the lake. ALmost every pier had a cake of soap at the end of the pier. Women were out washing their hair in the afternoon, getting ready for Culver (Academy) dances...

My father saw all of that changing towards the end of his life, and was a bit distressed. Now you spend your weekend gardening and irrigating your lawn so you can mow it and keep up with the neighbors.

We had canoes and rowboats in those days. If a canoe came by our house today, you'd probably run in and get your camera! Kids get towed around on tubes and powered watercraft today and they don't have that experience...

One of my favorite themes in the different constituencies around here...We've got the rural (community), the town, the 'gown' in the form of the Academy. The lake people are divided into the east shore n'er-do-wells and then the rest...

I hope I see that breaking down. The enviormental movement around here started in the late 1970's, and all these constituencies recognized the need for that...

We can all be very proud that the Enviornmental Fund and Council were really the first ones in Indiana to take conservation seriously, and to have a f ull-time director downtown...

The Academy was percieved as elitist,...Today, over 50 percent of (Academy) students are getting some form of scolarship help. A number of local children are going to the Academy. The Maxinkuckee Yatcht CLub was once an elitist organization. You almost had to pass muster like a big city club. But more recently, alot of town people have gotten active (in the club). Of course, the service clubs (in Culver ) you have had a mixture of a lot of these constituencies....





Richard Ford Passes Away
Posted: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 4:40 pm
By Pete Jones, Special to the Wabash Plain Dealer

Richard Edwin Ford, whose enthusiasm for Wabash inspired the creation of community oriented projects across the city, died Wednesday morning in Naples, Fla., where he was visiting friends. He was 75.

After graduating from Indiana University in 1961, Mr. Ford was a sales representative in the Washington, D.C., area for The Ford Meter Box Company, Inc. Later he held a position with the Environmental Protection Agency. Beginning in 1980, when he returned to Wabash, he devoted much of his time to philanthropic endeavors. He was for many years a member of the Board of Directors of the Ford Meter Box Company






RICHARD EDWIN FORD, died Wednesday, April 16, 2014, in Naples, Fla. where he was visiting friends.

He devoted much of his life to volunteerism and philanthropic endeavors. He was the fourth-generation of a pioneer Wabash family.

Born Feb. 27, 1939, he was the son of Wilbur and Florence (Jeup) Ford and had lived most of his life in the family home at 540 North Wabash.

He graduated from Wabash High School with the Class of 1956 and attended Indiana University where he was a member of Acacia fraternity.

Upon graduation with a BS degree in business, he joined the family firm, The Ford Meter Box, Inc., as a salesman in the East. He was living then in Washington, D.C. where he eventually worked for the Environmental Protection Agency and for a not-for-profit organization until he returned to Wabash in 1980.

It was at that time that he took up a number of civic causes involving the arts, historic preservation and the humanities. His efforts in these fields were local, national, and international in scope. After his return home, he chaired the Ford Meter Box Foundation and was for many years a member of the board of directors of the Ford Meter Box Company.

In Wabash, he established the Charley Creek Foundation, an organization which created the Charley Creek Gardens on North Miami St. and sponsors the Charley Creek Artsfest, an annual event featuring art exhibits, art sales and music performances.The Foundation is home to the Wabass Institute, the world's first workshop devoted to players of the double bass string instrument. Instructors and students gather each year in Wabash to study and to perform. His growing interest in historic preservation took him to various towns and cities in the United States and Europe where he saw preservation efforts at work. He became involved in projects to save the city of Venice, Italy, from flooding and he was on the board of directors of the American Museum in Britain. In America, he served as president of the Council of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

He was a life member of the Honeywell Foundation, where his father, Wilbur Ford, was president for many years. The Olivette Room and the Tower Room were among his projects at the Honeywell Center. He was a major force behind the creation of The Wabash County Historical Museum at 36 East Market. At the same time the new museum project was underway, he was also developing the Dr. James Ford Historic Home on West Hill Street. Dr. Ford, Richard's great-grandfather lived and practiced medicine in the home that is now a small museum. He was a past member of the Honeywell House board where he took an interest in programming and in maintain the house to the late Eugenia Honeywell's strict standards.

The major project of Mr. Ford's later years was the restoration of the Hotel Indiana, which he renamed the Charley Creek Inn. He created a charming small hotel with a dining room and lounge in downtown Wabash. He was pleased with the role that Charley Creek Inn had played in the revitalization of the downtown area. His interest in history and historic preservation was matched only by his interest in music. Over the years, he was quietly responsible for bringing talented musicians to Wabash.

He was on the board of directors of the Wabash Valley Music Association, and had served as its president. He was a board member of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and of the National Council of the Metropolitan Opera. For several years, he served as director of the Metropolitan's Indiana regional auditions. It was his interest in music that provided him with strong ties to Indiana University after he graduated. He supported many causes at the Jacobs School of Music on the Bloomington campus.

He developed an interest in cabaret music and in the popular music segment known as The Great American Songbook, and he was particularly fond of the music of Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael. Richard was the recipient of awards from many organizations, but none pleased him more than those from Indiana groups.

Among those were the 1998 Distinguished Citizen award from the Wabash Chamber of Commerce, the 2004 Indiana Living Legends award from the Indiana Historical Society, and the 2009 "Spirit of the Prairie " award from Conner Prairie. Indiana Landmarks honored him with the Cook Cup for his preservation efforts in restoring what is now Charley Creek Inn. Manchester College (now Manchester University) granted him the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters in 2005.

He was past president of the American Pianists Association. He was on the board of Heartland Film Festival, Dance Kaleidoscope and the Indianapolis Opera Company. He sat on the boards of the Hoosier Salon, the Indiana State Historical Society, and the Indianapolis International Violin Competition. Two governors named him a Sagamore of the Wabash. His club and organization affiliations were numerous. In Wabash, he belonged to the Kiwanis Club, the Wabash Chamber of Commerce, and more than three dozen other local organizations. He was a member of First Methodist Church.

He is survived by nephews, Steven (Lisa) Ford, Daniel (Tammy) Ford and Mark (Amy) Ford, all of Wabash; and sister-in-law, Marilyn Ford of Wabash.

He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers and a sister. Memorial services are planned for a later time.

Arrangements by Grandstaff-Hentgen Funeral Service, 1241 Manchester Ave., Wabash, IN 46992.

Published in Fort Wayne Newspapers on Apr. 18, 2014

CUlver Citizen Apr 23, 2014






OBITUARY - Richard Edwin Ford, who devoted much of his life to volunteerism and philanthropic endeavors, died Wednesday, April 16, in Naples, Fla., where he was visiting friends. The fourth-generation of a pioneer Wabash family, Mr. Ford was born on Feb. 27, 1939, to Wilbur and Florence (Jeup) Ford. He lived most of his life in the family home at 540 North Wabash.


Richard graduated from Wabash High School with the Class of 1956 and attended Indiana University, where he was a member of Acacia fraternity. Upon graduation with a Bachelor of Science degree in business, he joined the family firm, The Ford Meter Box, Inc., as a salesman in the East.

He was living then in Washington, D.C., where he eventually worked for the Environmental Protection Agency and for a not-for-profit organization until he returned to Wabash in 1980. It was at that time that he took up a number of civic causes involving the arts, historic preservation and the humanities. His efforts in these fields were local, national, and international in scope. After his return home, he chaired the Ford Meter Box Foundation and was for many years, a member of the board of directors of the Ford Meter Box Company.

In Wabash, he established the Charley Creek Foundation, an organization, which created the Charley Creek Gardens on North Miami Street and sponsors the Charley Creek Artsfest, an annual event featuring art exhibits, art sales and music performances. The Foundation is home to the Wabass Institute; the world's first workshop devoted to players of the double bass string instrument. Instructors and students gather each year in Wabash to study and to perform.

Richard's growing interest in historic preservation took him to various towns and cities in the United States and Europe, where he saw preservation efforts at work. He became involved in projects to save the city of Venice, Italy, from flooding and he was on the board of directors of the American Museum in Britain. In America, he served as president of the Council of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

He was a life member of the Honeywell Foundation, where his father, Wilbur Ford, was president for many years. The Olivette Room and the Tower Room were among his projects at the Honeywell Center.

Richard was a major force behind the creation of The Wabash County Historical Museum at 36 East Market. At the same time the new museum project was underway, he was also developing the Dr. James Ford Historic Home on West Hill Street. Dr. Ford, Richard's great-grandfather lived and practiced medicine in the home that is now a living history museum.

He was a past member of the Honeywell House board, where he took an interest in programming and in maintaining the house up to the late Eugenia Honeywell's strict standards.

The major project of Richard's later years was the restoration of the Hotel Indiana, which he renamed the Charley Creek Inn. He created a charming small hotel with a dining room and lounge in downtown Wabash. He was pleased with the role that Charley Creek Inn has played in the revitalization of the downtown area. His interest in history and historic preservation was matched only by his interest in music. Over the years, he was quietly responsible for bringing talented musicians to Wabash. He was on the board of directors of the Wabash Valley Music Association, and had served as its president. He was a board member of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and of the National Council of the Metropolitan Opera. For several years he served as director of the Metropolitan's Indiana regional auditions.

It was his interest in music that provided him with strong ties to Indiana University after he graduated. He supported many causes at the Jacobs School of Music on the Bloomington campus.

He developed an interest in cabaret music and in the popular music segment known as The Great American Songbook, and he was particularly fond of the music of Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael.

Richard was the recipient of awards from many organizations, but none pleased him more than those from Indiana groups. Among those were the 1998 Distinguished Citizen award from the Wabash Chamber of Commerce, the 2004 Indiana Living Legends award from the Indiana Historical Society, and the 2009 "Spirit of the Prairie " award from Conner Prairie. Indiana Landmarks honored him with the Cook Cup for his preservation efforts in restoring what is now Charley Creek Inn. Manchester College (now Manchester University) granted him the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters in 2005.

He was past president of the American Pianists Association. He was on the board of Heartland Film Festival, Dance Kaleidoscope and the Indianapolis Opera Company. He sat on the boards of the Hoosier Salon, the Indiana State Historical Society, and the Indianapolis International Violin Competition. Two governors named him a Sagamore of the Wabash.

His club and organization affiliations were numerous. In Wabash, he belonged to the Kiwanis Club, the Wabash Chamber of Commerce, and more than three dozen other local organizations. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church.

He is survived by nephews Steven (Lisa) Ford, Daniel (Tammy) Ford, and Mark (Amy) Ford, and by Marilyn Ford, a sister-in-law, all of Wabash, and numerous cousins throughout Wabash, the USA and Europe. His parents, two brothers, Stanley and David, and sister, Virginia, preceded him in death.

Memorial services are planned for a later time. Arrangements are being handled by Grandstaff-Hentgen Funeral Service.






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