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

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From: "Upfront with NGS"
Sent: Monday, July 02, 2007 8:46 AM
Subject: [NGS] UpFront with NGS - Volume 7, Number 7-1 July 2007

UpFront with NGS
The Online Newsletter of the National Genealogical Society
Volume 7, Number 7-1 July 2007


Today in UpFront

The Intrigue of Lake Maxinkuckee by Judi Burns with Pam Cerutti

The truest picture one can paint of a place often requires a palette of folklore, legend, and myth, as well as fact. This is the task that Judi Burns took upon herself for love of family, history, and a place called Lake Maxinkuckee, Indiana. When she asked us to see if UpFront readers might have information to help color her picture, we decided to share Judi's story.

After emigrating from Scotland in 1912, David Burns spent most of his life in Culver, a small northern Indiana town, about 40 miles south of South Bend. The real attraction for David, the other residents, and many seasonal visitors was the adjacent Lake Maxinkuckee. David grew up listening to the old timers tell their tales of the lake's "heyday years."

The "heyday" began when the Vandalia Railroad reached the shores of Lake Maxinkuckee in June 1885. Excursion trains such as the "Hootenanny", "Doodlebug", and "Pumpkin Vine" began to run to Lake Maxinkuckee from Terre Haute, Indianapolis, Logansport, South Bend, and Chicago. Once people found out about the scenic lake area and Culver, Lake Maxinkuckee became a bustling area. Steamers would transport the train passengers to all points on the lake, and many hotels, rooming houses, boarding houses sprang up in Culver and around the lake.

The heyday passed, but David's love of the lake did not. After some years working in the masonry trade with his father, he spent forty years as fire chief and quelled many fires on the lakeshores. David witnessed many changes over the decades and loved to repeat the old timers' stories of days gone by - and doubtless a few of his own - in the local coffee shops. With his love of the oral tradition, David didn't warm to the idea of recording these stories. So it was that his death in 1990 replaced the colorful word pictures with silence.

David's widow, Judi, had seen much of the local history lost with those who told their stories, an on-going thing for generations. With David's passing, she decided to preserve what she could of David's loving knowledge of the area. It started simply with pen & pencil, paper, lake directories, telephone books, and plat maps. She gathered other scraps of information from local surveys, postcards, the Culver Citizen newspaper, and any other source she could lay hands on.

Judi's reasons are the same as many of us. She says, "I love history - genealogy - and what better legacy to leave my children, step children, grandchildren, step-grandchildren, step-great-grandchildren, and step great-great grandchildren - some of the memories, tales, legends and myths of David Boswell Burns... Thus I am remembering what he spoke of - and trying to document it all into whether it is factual or fiction - using my knowledge of history (instilled into me by Sister Vivian, history instructor at Ancilla College) and my love of genealogy - thus the mixture of myth, legend, fact and history all mixed into on great big kettle - and stirred up - becomes History and Genealogy of Lake Maxinkuckee: Its Intrigue."

Judi has created a website to share her findings with all interested parties. At the same time, her search for more details continues. If any readers have information about this area that they can share with Judi, she would welcome any information. Please contact her if you have unrecorded stories of cottagers, pictures of cottages of days gone by and present; lake directories, biographical information on the cottagers, newspaper clippings, articles, or snippets to add to this fascinating history of Lake Maxinkuckee - Its Intrigue ... c 2007 National Genealogical Society