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

Lighthouse in Vandalia Park

The first lighthouse was destroyed in the "Big Wind" that struck on July 8, 1913 finally destroying the Lighthouse in the Vandalia Park, which was slowly falling into disrepair over the years past.

It was used as a signal for the arrival of the evening train arrivals for the fisherman and cottagers alike. So the boats could be dispatched to pick-up arriving passengers from the train. It was built some time in the early 1890's .

The two storms mentioned in Lake Maxinkuckee: Physical and Biological Survey (1919) are:

    A pretty severe wind storm occurred early in the summer of 1908 and blew down the large ice houses on the west side of the lake.

    The appears to have been an unusually strong wind; none of the dwelling houses in the immediate vicinity, however, was injured and the destruction of the ice houses was due to their being empty at the time and offering much surface and little resistance to thewind.
and then:
    On July 8, 1913 there was a very severe storm soon after noon from the northwest, a small tornado, lasting 30 minutes. It began as a severe windstorm, the wind being full of cutting sand...
This was a very stormy year by accounts thus far found - it started on Easter Sunday (March 23) and must of continued throughout the year. As the first storm that is mentioned and a detailed accounting of - is Easter Sunday in which much flooding over all of the United States occurred: Easter Sunday of 1913 Tragic Day in History of Calamities; Tornado Starts in Mexico; Ends in Record Breaking Floods in Middle States...

could there been 2 big storms of 1913?

The lighthouse stood on a 4 to 5 foot base of stone and was 8 to 10 feet in height. It is said that in some of the historical postcards you could see a flowing water well around its base. In many of the postcards of the gazebo or round barn you could see the light house in the background

The footbridge at the lighthouse

The pile of rocks resembled those at the base of the old light house.

These shows the lighthouse area - after the lighthouse had been taken down. And at a much later date possibly is another of the footbridge that was at the base of the lighthouse.

Also found has been a souviner spoon depicting the lighthouse - this could of been sold by the P. A. Wickizer store in downtown Culver back then.

When the Antiquarian and Historical Society of Culver and the Culver Park Board started talking about replacing the lighthouse that once stood on the north shore of Lake Maxinkuckee, they weren't quite sure what the original was like.

A search of old records and looking at old photographs revealed the lighthouse that was erected early in the 20th century was only about 10 feet tall and was built out of concrete blocks.

A new one was installed in October of 2005 by the Antiquarian society and other residents of Culver Dick Brantingham was the project manager.

A version of the Lighthouse returns to the shores of Lake Maxinkuckee. Purchased by the Antiquarian and Historical Society - the replacement lighthouse is not an exact replica of the original but is actually about twice its height and about bout 20 feet southwest of where the short lived one from a century ago stood.

It is basically the Port Hatteruas design.

It is fiberglass [polyester plastic]; it is grayish weathered textured, has a 360-degree beacon with electrical wiring that runs through the core and stands 20 feet high. It is located near the site of the original lighthouse and topped by a flashing light that can be seen around the lake.

The lighthouse cost is estimated at around $5,000, including the many volunteers who spent time and energy getting the project finished. It was worked on by the Antiquarian Society and the park board and a lot of volunteers.

There is a refection pool nearby but seperate from the lighthouse itself.

Soon after erected it became a constant victim to vandals being constantly abused. Till on 23 January 2005 vandals succeeded in destroying it beyond repair. They tried to saw it in half, and then loosened the bolts at the base. Then they managed to tip the lighthouse over smashing it into the ground.

Enraged over it community members set about finding a means to replace it -

In April 2006 the Town Board and Park Board members heard proposals of types of replacement. Paul Bickel made one proposal and Rick Gimbel made another. Jim Peterson, President Emeritus of the Antiquarian & Historical society met with Paul Bickel, Rick Gimbel and Leon Bennett to finalize the plans of the replacement of the lighthouse.

The new light house is a combination of the two proposals it will be: eight sided, and will stand 18 to 20 feet high and be beige in color. It will have a green beacon light within a copper hood enclosed by lexicon glass.

The area around the lighthouse has been landscaped and includes some stone work. A plaque inscribed with a discretion of the original lighthouse will be added in the future.


Volunteers work to rebuild lighthouse destroyed by vandals

By Lindahl Wiegand - Staff Writer

Culver - The Culver community has taken a stand. Storms and vandals may come and go, but a lighthouse will always shine at the Culver Town Park.

In just seven months, a lighthouse has been erected, destroyed, redesigned and constructed again at the park. Originally, a lighthouse was constructed in the park as early as 1895. It stood 8 to 10 feet and sat on a 4 or 5-foot base.

The lighthouse was not used as a navigational tool, but to signal to fishermen and lake residents that the evening trains and travelers arrived from the Vandalia Railroad. In 1913 it was destroyed by a severe storm, and was never rebuilt.

Until October of 2005, when the Antiquarian and Historical Society donated a 20-foot replica of the lighthouse at the foot of the VFW pier in the park. The project was a combined effort with the Culver Park Board, according to Dick Brantingham, project manager.

Local businessman Leon Bennett with Bennett's Plumbing and Heating donated time and labor to the original project, while the Antiquarians provided the materials. “The outside we wanted to look like stone like the old one, and it's sort of grayish to look weathered. It ought to wear and weather well, for sure,” said Brantingham in October, when the lighthouse was erected.

But it wasn't the weather that brought down the historical landmark this time around. On January 23, police were notified that vandals had damaged the lighthouse.

Culver Police Chief Wayne Bean said the suspect(s) tried to saw the lighthouse in half, and then loosened the bolts at the base. They tipped the lighthouse over and it smashed to the ground.

The lighthouse cost was estimated to cost around $5,000, not to mention countless hours donated by local volunteers. Bean and other local officials were disappointed and disgusted by the act.

After the incident, town Manager Jon Guenin said he was sickened, “that someone would think this was appropriate. This lighthouse was meant to beautify our community. And we plan to do everything we can to find the people responsible for the damage.”

Currently, the local law enforcement has not tracked down the vandals responsible. Anyone with information sho uld contact the Culver Police Department at 842-2525.

The structure was damaged beyond repair, according to Culver Park Superintendent Kelly Young. “It's not going to stop us, we'll erect something else, another lighthouse. We'll erect another one, because it has such historic value to our park and we'll continue on,” she said in October.

Young meant what she said. Reconstruction on the lighthouse began in early May and should be complete this month.

“Just because you vandalize something doesn't mean it's not going to be there. It's a part of our town, it's a part of our history, it's important to move forward,” she said.

The new lighthouse has eight sides and will stand 18 to 20 feet high when the copper top and light is constructed. It will be a beige color and have a green beacon light, which signals a safe harbor. “It depicts as closely as we can tell to the original lighthouse in the park,” said Young.

The final design was a compromise between several local residents who volunteered their design expertise. Paul Bickel proposed that the structure stand 12 feet from the base, have a copper hood and a beacon enclosed in lexicon glass. The new design sho uld be sturdier and more historically accurate than the previous lighthouse, said Jim Peterson, president Emeritus of the Antiquarian & Historical Society.

Richard Gimbel also offered his opinion about the design, that it sho uld be at least 20 feet tall, and have a green beacon modeled on the original, he said. All three men met with Bennett to ultimately finalize the plans.

Without the outpouring of help from local volunteers, the project wo uld have been impossible to complete, said Young. Bennett has been especially instrumental in the process, she added. “I'm just so appreciative of all their hard work, their ideas and their willingness.”

The lighthouse is estimated to cost $5,500 - $4,000 of which is covered by a grant from the Marshall County Community Foundation. In March, the foundation awarded the Culver Park Board a one-time special grant for repair or replacement of the lighthouse.

The grant definitely moved the process along, said Young. “Without the grant? Volunteers would have hopefully come forth, or we wo uld have just tried to repair the old one,” she said.

The area around the lighthouse has been landscaped and includes some stone work. In the future, a plaque inscribed with a description of the original lighthouse will be added.

A dedication ceremony will be held at the park to commemorate the new structure sometime this summer, said Young. Hopefully, thanks to the hard work and perseverance of the community, the third time will be the charm for the most famous light in Culver .

2 Jun 2006 - Pilot News

and today it now stands again - better than ever!

A description found is:
    Culver (Lake Maxinkuckee) Date unknown [2006]. Active; focal plane 50 ft (15 m); flashing green light. 37 ft (11 m) octagonal concrete tower with lantern. The tower is unpainted white concrete; lantern painted dark gray.

    Located in a park on the waterfront of Culver, a town at the northwestern corner of Lake Maxinkuckee, a large natural lake in Marshall County. Owner/site manager: Town of Culver.

It has been captured by many in photos... just a few that have been found:

Today is