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

Indian Trails  

This is the 1922 plat map showing the layout to the railroard, the Lake View Hotel Grounds and the western edge of the Academy campus

In an article from the Culver Alumnus of 1975 - W. O. Osborn reflected on the Culver's and the Academy. This is what he remembered of the land acquisition:
    E. R. and B. B. Culver, Sr., were just like twins when it came to business. What one said, the other agreed to. They wanted me to buy the little hotel where the motel is now, and I said I would.

    The day of the closing, neither of them were in town, so I borrowed the money in the name of E. R. and B. B., kept the deed for security, and paid the fellow. When E. R. got back, I asked them how they thought I was going to pay for the hotel. He said he forgot and made me take interest on the money. I didn't ask him for that. Those were the days when they owned the school.

    Harvard University made a survey of the Academy's needs for the next 50 years and among the things they pointed out was the land from where the motel is now, over the high bluff to the town park. It used to be called the Lakeview ground, and now its known as the IndianTrail.

    E. R. and B. B. Culver, Sr., bought the land to protect the school and wanted to deed it to the Academy.... One of the other five Culver brothers also was pressuring to build the campus up by the State Road 10 and not own any lake frontage, to be ornery....

    I saw B. B. Culver, Sr. sign over the family's holdings in the school to the Foundation with one stroke of a pen in front of the Main Barracks. He made a little speech and turned over the title to the Foundation....

This area included the following:
The 1922 Plat map gives a clear detail of this area. On both the 1908 and 1922 it is called the "Lake View Club Grounds"
1850 - I. N. Morris [Isaac N. Morris]
1880 - Lake View Club
1898 - T.H. & I. RR [Terre Haute & Indianapolis Railroad] Lake View Club

1908 Lake View Club Hotel

This photo was taken about 1905 and was en captioned where lake and forest meet. This depicts the entrance into the area known as the "Indian Trails" from the Academy side where the Culver Motels sit today

1929 - April/May - B. B. Culver and E. R. Culver purchased the Lake view Hotel. Before it could be utilized as an Academy-owned hotel, burned on 15 November 1929. The remaining buildings and tent frames were razed shortly thereafter.

Academy trustees showed no interest in developing the tract after the hotel burnt and allowed it to return to nature.

In 1931 the Culver Reality and Investment Company was established by Bretram and Edwin II Culver . Through this they bough up the north shore property of the lake between the Culver Town Park and the original acreage H. H. Culver had bought and the academy sat on. This was done to stop spec ulators from buying it up and decreasing the outside development by other on the area around the academy. All that could not be bought up at the time was the railroad right-a-way. Thus this property became part of Culver Military/Culver Educational Foundation.

A request was made by the Lake Maxinkuckee Fish and Game Club in 1933 for ground to use as a fish a hatchery. Thus the academy sat two acres aside west of the inn for the purpose of the hatchery. The hatchery was financed and funded by the Lake Maxinkuckee Fish and Game Club. They established three ponds and they were from Academy Road to the lake.

The fish hatcheries were located on the very easterly end of the Indian Trails - as these pictures depicts. The 1922 plat map shows the drive way for the Jungle Hotel

and the aerial view of the fish hatcheries shows the - drive way again to the - on the very east edge of the Indian Trails.

By Bob Hartman: In the early 1950s, the Academy architect W. B. Ittner of St. Louis presented plans for a motel on the bluff just west of the fish ponds. As envisioned, it stretched along much of the shoreline enabling each unit to have a lake view. It proved too ambitious a project and the trustees settled on the less expensive motel which opened in 1960.

When a new site was being considered for the new Woodcraft camp it is implied that some consideration was given to the Indian Trail bluff area by William B. Ittner of St. Louis who had taken over the architectural responsibilities of the academy in 1951. Bob Hartman stated:
    Ittner was enamored with the wooded 15 acres west of the Culver Inn overlooking the lake. Though visually impressive, the so-called Indian Trail bluff was rejected because there was little room to expand and access to the lake was difficult.

At one time there were three trails;
    UPPER trail was made by the Academy and is used by the academy students as a walk way between campus and town about mid way one could access the middle trail from the Upper trail. And off the upper trail just a ways one could find the basement area of probably one on the main buildings, the fill that was placed in the basement over the cement floor has settled over the years.

    The 1960's saw the "Upper Trail" blacktopped by the Academy as a permenant passage from the Academy grounds to town; for the cadets to walk safely to town and back on

    If memory serves me right the trial vereing off of the upper trail leads back to the area to where the turnable was located. Also further back from this point by what David Burns said is the 50 foot cement turntable for the Vandalia train engines. And one could find if they dug far enough under silt and dirt that covered it over the years. It took 10 boys on each end to turn the engine around and they were paid 5 cents apiece for this task; and from what he told he performed this task many a time as well as other boys of the community.

    It is also known that he dug up remains of the white hotel china and bottles (many being old Indiana brewery bottles) that were buried from the hotel and club. somewhere in this general area also

    MIDDLE trail was accessed from the lower trail were it converged with the lower trail near both ends. It is on this trail that at one time you could see the partial foundation of the Lake View Hotel property the remains was cement and stone left from a stone wall. Since "middle trail" did not go complete through by was accessed by a couple of steep trails from either the "upper trail" or lower Trail"; these ware probably actually ravines casued by rain eroison over the years

    LOWER trail wound around the very edge of the lake from the town park to the Academy grounds there were several free flowing wells along the trail one could stop and get a drink of water at. By the mid 1970's it had started to completely disappear because of the erorsion of the waves on a windy day, and the ice of the winter breaking up and hitting the shore line. There was a tree just inside a few yards that hung down over the lake and people would carve their names, initials etc. into. About midway there was a trail (or washout) that one could travel up to the middle trail . Another speaks of a cave right under the lower trails at one point that we ventured in to.....but just a little bit because we didn't trust it not to cave in on us and another wonders if this was a clay sewage pipe.

    By the 1990's very little of it existed only in small sections and could not be walked in one piece. In the 1960's just a few yards in off the park side walk was a tree that hung out over the lake one if brave enough could walk out on it - also in it was carved many a name. The arial phoro shows trail areas that exist - the lower trail followed what is the purple line

    The Lower trail - some say was the oxen trail for the oxen pulling the "boat" around the lake's edge but also in post cards of the Vandalia Park area one can see that it was also access to the Lake View Hotel

    Natural artesian wells dotted the area.

Of this aea all that could not be bought up at the time (1920's-, 1930's was the railroad right-a-way as it was still in use.
    A R/W 100' WD:BEG SW PT 1.42A PAR LD/ 3.12A
    N LN ACADEMY RD NE 2000' S LN ST RD10 4.590A

    A R/W 100FT STRIP W LN N W1/4 NWLY 3.540
All other property between the Town park and academy was acquired sometime between The railraod propery was acquired sometime in the 1980's with arrangement being made by James F. Dickie II, a trustee of the Culver Educational Foundation. The delinquent property taxes on the railroad right-a-way was paid up in full and the property was transferred to the Culver Educational Foundation; also waiving all responsibility to the railroad for any clean-up that was required as they had already salvaged the ties and rails from along the right-a-way.

It is assumed that the highlighted blue area of the railroad bed between the town park and the curve in Sycamore Rd. is what is known as the " Marmont-Vandalia Trail "

The area up to the Palmer Hotel and past the Palmer Hotel to the orginial campus contained what I have given the name to as the 'Unknown Cottages' or the 'Forgotten Cottages'. They did exist - but so far much of their existence and ownership is cloudy - They all became - a part of the 'Academy Campus'.

The mystery still remains as to just how and when the area became known as the "Indian Trails" but from the history we know that the area was developed and was landscaped by the railroad as the Lake View Hotel grounds; that it was they who created many a pathway and small park areas as rest areas and receration spots for the passengers of the Vandalia and tourist who came to spend the day at Lake Maxinkuckee. After the demise of the hotel it was allowed to go back to nature and then "mother nature" provided for in the form of erorsion

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