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Kickoff To










Kickoff To Summer • ©KPC Media Group Inc.

May 23, 2014


Gentian Lake, part of the Seven Sisters Lakes chain at Wing Haven Nature Preserve and Trine State Recreation Area might typify what lakes were once like in northeast Indiana, with no development and supporting a variety of wildlife.

Going to the lake is what northeast Indiana is all about, whether it is a quiet spot like Gentian or a busy place like Sylvan, James or Wawasee.

‘The lake’ is a state of mind in northeast Indiana BY MIKE MARTURELLO

SNOW LAKE — For years people in northeast Indiana have talked about going to “the lake.” It’s as if there’s this one big body of water, like a Lake Michigan or a Lake Erie where everyone in this large geographic

region gravitates to each weekend, for the summer or to make their year-round home. “My family has a house on Lake James and I am guilty as charged as saying the generic ‘going to the lake’ phrase. Growing up here, I never realized the oddity of what I was saying, but the truth is, we do have over 100 lakes in northeast Indiana.

It seems to be a regional colloquialism that is a bit confusing to newcomers,” said Courtney Tritch, director of marketing with the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, which promotes improving northeast Indiana from its economy to quality of life. To someone new to the community, “the lake” can make one scratch the head.

Lynette Donley, Fort Wayne, said upon moving to northeast Indiana she often heard people talking about going to the lake for the weekend. For this person from The Region — northwest Indiana — she wondered where this lake that everyone visited was to be found. See LAKE page 3

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Kickoff To Summer


LAKE From page 2

“So where’s this lake?,” she said, smiling. Of course, she learned that the lake is found in many places in Steuben, Noble, LaGrange and Kosciusko counties in northeast Indiana; there’s not just one lake. In Steuben County, for years the Angola Area Chamber of Commerce, then the Steuben County Tourism Bureau, adopted a slogan boasting of the community having 101 lakes. A check with the U.S. Geological Survey will tell you there are more than 101 lakes in Steuben County, but 115 or 116 doesn’t have a nice ring to it. Kosciusko County boasts having the largest inland lake in Indiana at Lake Wawasee, which at some 3,060 surface acres is nearly three times larger than Lake James (1,140 acres). There are scores of lakes in Noble and LaGrange counties, all either home to year-round residents or seasonal visitors, many who by now no doubt have set up shop for the coming summer months. Some lakes are tiny spots to go fishing or bird watching, others are the place where high speed boating and partying rules. No matter where the lake is, it is a place of relaxation. To many who make their homes at the lake, for the summer or

year-round, it is a certain way of life. “When I hear someone mention ‘the lake’ I instantly visualize any body of water here in Steuben County; boats cruising, people fishing, sitting on the pier watching the sun go down. No better place to live,” said Mark Bock, an Angola Realtor who grew up on and still lives at Snow Lake. It certainly is a way of life, one that conjures up feeling of family, of relaxation. “It’s different for everyone. Peace, nostalgia, remembering fond childhood memories. The lakes are special for everyone, from the people with lakeside cottages to our many visitors who have come to enjoy the water here and all that it and our community has to offer,” said June Julien, executive director of the Steuben County Tourism Bureau. To Tritch, who has worked in Chicago and now is back in Fort Wayne and can regularly visit her family’s first basin home on Lake James, there’s something beyond just getting one’s toes wet in the water. “While there are so many lakes, there is something about lake life that makes you feel a sense of community not found in other places. I wonder if that’s why people say ‘the lake.’ They obviously know there

are dozens of lakes, but it would feel odd for me to say ‘I am going to Lake James.’ I think the reason it would feel strange to say the specific lake is because it would feel like I was separating myself and ‘my lake’ as if it was somehow better or different than yours,” Tritch said. “And the very nature of the lake community runs opposite of that. When you’re at ‘the lake’ you are completely relaxed; you barbecue with your neighbors; and you wave to

everyone who floats by.” So, in essence, the lake is northeast Indiana. It’s what this community, all of the cities, towns, counties … and lakes … are all about. “Perhaps ‘the lake’ doesn’t refer to a specific location at all,” Tritch said, “but rather a state of mind.” Welcome to summer, folks, that northeast Indiana state of mind … at the lake!

It’s finally here! The calendar might not officially say it’s summer, but all of the activities and fun associated with summer fun in northeast Indiana are rolling once again. Just what makes life special in northeast Indiana is what this special section is all about. Living on the lake or visiting the lake is like a state of mind, some say. People have been living or vacationing at northeast Indiana’s lakes for generations, and some have preserved cottages for more than 100 years, in some cases. We hope you are looking forward to another great season in the outdoors in

our area that is so rich with fun activities outdoors, whether you are a child or sitting on that rocker under the willow tree at water’s edge. We welcome your feedback and ideas for future articles about summer in beautiful northeast Indiana. This section is also available online at One the cover: A collection of old postcards provided by Lake James historian Jim Somers shows cottage life at Lake James from around the turn of the 20th century.

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September 14 - 15: Von Steuben Day Celebration A celebration for the county’s namesake! Come and enjoy 20% off all wines that contain Steuben grapes for two days! There will also be live entertainment, food and more!

September 14: Tour de Vineyard Our first ever bike tour. Ride your bike through and around some of our beautiful vineyards. Registration is required.


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May 23, 2014

The cottage — ‘sophisticated camping,’ no worries BY JENNIFER DECKER

LAKE JAMES — To Flaim Cupp, life at her Lake James cottage has always been about “sophisticated camping,” as she put it. Cupp returned to living in the centennial cottage circa 1910-15 she spent summers at as a girl. Her memories rush back at every turn. “We moved up here 10 years ago and my goal was to keep it a cottage,” she said. “The point was to get out of the city and I think it was important to preserve.” Cupp said there is something about a cottage: the sound of the door slamming just so, windows kept open to hear the outdoors, room to take a deep breath. Worries, if any, are few. “If you’re barefoot and kids run through and spill lemonade there’s no worry,” she said about activity cottages bring. Like with anything, progress can’t be avoided. “When Lane 470A got paved I cried,” Cupp said. She wants to honor historical cottages through the Lake James Association Centennial Cottages project. Cupp organizes the project with another resident, Jim Somers.

“We pick one or two cottages a year, but don’t have any yet (this year),” he said. “Over the years, we have 15-16 that have retained their flavor. There’s no dyed-in-thewool criteria. They were mostly recognized in maintaining their original quality.” Somers said any newly-designated centennial cottages are honored with a certificate during the association’s annual meeting. To honor those memories and life centered around cottages, Cupp and Somers also wrote the book, “A History of Lake James.” Advertisements in the book showed cottages rented for $1.50 per day or $6-$15 for the week. An ad for Louck’s Grocery, which was on Lake James’ fourth basin, known as Snow Lake, boasted pure lake ice and a motto of “fairness to all — live and let live.” To many, cottages offer that getaway feeling, a chance to take a deep breath and live the good life. Some folks around Steuben County also have interesting cottage histories. Merchant Frank Jackson reportedly won his Lake James cottage in a poker game. Jackson was known as a gambler and it wasn’t unusual for him to acquire property as part of his winnings.

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A page out of the cottage section of “A History of Lake James” shows memories of lake life from the area in its heyday. Lake James honors centennial cottages formally at the association’s annual meeting.

Other Steuben County lake associations don’t have formal historical designations for structures. Bob Lowden with the Crooked Lake Association said three cottages perch on shoreline there are from around 1905. Two of those are built of field stone. He said cottages appearing around the lake was a gradual process. The road first had to be built to

access the water community. Lowden, who has been a Crooked Lake cottage dweller for some 36 years, said he wouldn’t have it any other way. “I made the comment I can mow the grass in Fort Wayne,” he said, but at the lake “it’s different.” It’s what lake dwellers refer to as the good stuff. The good life.


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Kickoff To Summer


Pleasant Lake station has long history Marilyn shared her thoughts on history of the cottage that has been told to her of PLEASANT LAKE — Marilyn and Gary Bud’s Shell Cabin Camp, 925 W. Main St., Pleasant Lake: In the 1920s, Frank Ginnivan Bumgarner own what’s perhaps Pleasant and his wife were responsible for the fishing Lake’s most visible cottage — and for it camp and Shell Gas Station thought to be being so tiny it has a huge history. The Bumgarner’s cottage is at the Old U.S. built in 1920. At one point during their ownership, they operated a restaurant at this 27 and Bellefontaine Road crossing, where it has been used as a gas station, restaurant, yarn site. Mr. Ginnivan was a businessman in store, septic pumping office, camp and house the community and he also traveled with a medicine show at one time. for Santa Claus, among other uses. The shell gas station on this site is a The cottage, usually referred to as “the French cottage-style that has an appearance of shop” or “station” in passing, was also a a residence instead of a commercial establishmajor part of childhood summers Marilyn ment. The theory is that people traveling spent there. would be drawn to the oil company’s homey “I’ve been back every summer. One of style and stop to purchase their product. the reasons we wanted it was we wanted to Also, it has been theorized that the shape of live on family land … It has a lot of dear the building with hips extended and sloping memories,” she said. outside walls and its tapered roof line make it Today, it is used for storage. Marilyn said appear to be shell like. it was used to house Santa Claus to greet In the 1940s, are of the camp and station children at Christmas for the Pleasant Lake became property of John “Bud” and Wilma Lions Club. Meyers of Garrett. The business consisted of The house has had knotty pine added to the interior. The backroom has been See PLEASANT LAKE page 6 eliminated and replaced by a deck. BY JENNIFER DECKER

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Plenty of fun offered for kids

From page 5

a gas station, three cottages by the lake, and two larger storybook-looking cabins on the hillside overlooking the lake. Bathrooms for the cabins were in the gas station and running water was outside the cabin. Bud also rented out about 10 fishing boats. In addition to selling gas and oil products, Bud had bait and tackle, fishing nets hanging in the window, Pokagon Beverage Co. pop, Coca-Cola and milk in the upright cooler. Bread was stored on top of the cooler. There were candy bars and souvenirs in the glass case and guns and knives on the wall. It was quite a gathering place for the men in town and card games were held in the backroom. Wilma raised night crawlers and loved to fish. Dave and Carolyn Dilts bought the property and cleared it of the buildings except the gas station they used to operate the office of their septic pumping business. After the Dilts decided on another location, they rented the station to Carol Frenger, who had a yarn shop in the building and also taught knitting. In 2006, the Bumgarners bought the property and built their retirement home on it. The gas station stayed a yarn shop for a couple more years before Frenger relocated to her home. Today, the Shell station remains much the same as it appeared many years ago minus the island pumps and advertisements. During the early years, it shared the intersection with Lakeview Court and four other gas stations: Sinclair, Phillips 66, Standard Oil and the Half Way Truck Stop during the 1950s. Want a copy of that photo? Order a photo reprint online today! It’s easy... Hundreds of published and non-published photos available for purchase!

May 23, 2014


“Mom. There’s nothing to do.” How often have moms everywhere heard this from their offspring during the summer months when school is not in session? Today kids can carry their own electronic entertainment in iPods, iPads and iPhones. They can spend hours, even days indoors playing video games and watching TV. Supervised and unsupervised opportunities, both free and with fees, exist in the four-county area for kids to get outdoors, get some exercise, socialize with others, learn about nature and have a good time during the summer season. Park departments, church-based organizations, cities, towns and county governments offer a seemingly endless array of youth programs. Lakes have protected swimming areas with lifeguards. Parks have playgrounds, ball fields, soccer fields, hiking and biking trails and open, grassy, wooded areas for kids to use their imaginations for games and play. Every community in the four-county area has a public park, and the larger communities have organized summer park programs for children. The Kendallville Park and Recreation Department’s Summer Day Camp for children is June 16-July 25. Children can enjoy games, arts and crafts, swimming, environmental studies, hikes, swimming in Bixler Lake Park. Call the park department at 347-1064 for more information. Kids can play disc golf on the east and west sides of Bixler Lake. The summer recreation program for children in Angola at Commons Park is June 16-Aug. 15. Fundamentals in baseball, golf, tennis, football and soccer, backyard games and crafts, swimming, and hunter safety and archery are among the supervised activities. Call 665-1588 for more information.

Kids can drive Go-Karts at Rapid Raceway at Crooked Lake. Through the LaGrange County Parks and Recreation Department, 6-11 year-olds can enjoy a Nature Bound program, and 12-16-year-olds can participate in a challenging Adventure Bound program. Call LaGrange County Parks and Recreation at 854-2225 for more information. Special events are scheduled at in David Rogers Memorial Park. The Filling Station Youth Center in Butler offers a BMX bike course, roller skating and other games and activities for children 5 and over on Tuesdays and Thursday from 4-6 p.m., and Fridays from 7 to 10 p.m. For more information, call 868-5683. Auburn’s Eckhart Park has a community pool. For more information about Auburn Parks and Recreation Department programs for children, call 925-2997. Roller skating is at the Skatin’ Station in Auburn, and the Auburn Recreation Center has bowling. Garrett’s Feick Park has a community swimming pool. Call the Garrett Parks Department at 357-5727 for more information about the summer program for children. In Albion the splash pad has a grand opening May 31. YMCAs in Kendallville, Angola, Auburn and Ashley have programs and activities for kids of all ages. The Cole Center Family YMCA has a junior golf camp, a youth soccer camp and a youth girls basketball camp during the summer. Call the Cole Y at 347-9622, the YMCA in Auburn at 925-9622, the YMCA in Ashley at 587-9611 and the YMCA of Steuben County in Angola at 668-3607. The Pigeon River Fish and Wildlife Area has canoeing and hiking in a protected wildlife area. Call 367-2164 for more information The Chain O’Lakes State Park near Albion

and the Pokagon State Park near Angola have several outdoor activities for children including camping, swimming, nature hikes and wildlife studies. A fishing contest is scheduled for June 7. Call 636-2654 for summer children’s programs. Pokagon State Park has horseback riding, nature trails, fishing, swimming, camping and many other activities. Call 833-2012. Public libraries in Kendallville, Rome City, Auburn, Albion, Ligonier, LaGrange and Angola have summer program reading programs and activities for children of all ages. At the Kendallville Public Library, the children’s summer reading program theme is “Fizz, Boom, Read.” Churches offer youth programs and vacation Bible schools. Check with your park and recreation departments, libraries and state parks for children’s programs and activities.


Bryson Ortiz exits the swim portion of the 2013 Kendallville Park and Recreation Department Kids Triathlon at Bixler Lake Park in Kendallville. The 2014 kids triathlon will be Aug. 16 on the east side of Bixler Lake.


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May 23, 2014

What does the lake mean to you? “I enjoy walking around it. It’s fun to see the reflections of nature in the lake.” Bob Ayers, Pleasant Lake GEORGE KREITNER


“I like wakeboarding sports, tubing, the boat.” Konnor Knoll, Angola KONNOR KNOLL

“I just think of it as rest and relaxation.” Anne Rice, Lake James

“The lake means a special ecosystem that is habitat for so much of the wildlife that we’re attracted to. All of nature that is dependent on clean, natural bodies of water.” George Kreitner, Angola

“I like to go to lake with my daughters because I love seeing my daughters have fun at the lake and swimming. It’s a very family-friendly place.” Esteban Perez, Angola

“I like Fox Lake. It is quiet. Good neighbors, also.” Les Wooster, Fox Lake


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May 23, 2014

Center St., Auburn

2014 FREE FRIDAY NIGHT PERFORMANCE SERIES MAY Friday, May 30 • 7:30 PM Big Caddy Daddy sponsored by Beacon Credit Union

JUNE Friday, June 6 • 7:30 PM The CHORDS Vocal Ensemble presented by The Kelso and Margaret Davis Community Fund

JULY Friday, July 11 • 7:30 PM Cheyenne (Contemporary country)



Sleepy Hollow (Bluegrass)

Friday, July 25 • 7:30 PM The Bulldogs sponsored by Alliance Industries

Friday, June 13 • 7:30 PM Fort Wayne Jazz Orchestra sponsored by Hefty Wealth Partners

Concert Under the Stars sponsored by Serenity House

Friday, June 20 • 7:30 PM

Friday, Aug. 8 • 7:30 PM

Lumberjacks and Weddingbelles Summer Musical Theater presented by the Auburn Actors Group sponsored by Annabelle Yoder Memorial Fund

Choice Band sponsored by the United Way of DeKalb County

Patriotic Pops Concert Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra presented in cooperation with Psi Iota Xi sponsored by the Steel Dynamics Foundation

Friday, July 18 • 7:30 PM

AUGUST Friday, Aug. 1 • 7:30 PM

Friday, June 27 • 7:30 PM


Weather-related event cancellation decisions are made no earlier than 30 minutes before the scheduled start time of an event.

Gates open at 6:00 with the shows starting at 7:30 PM All Friday nights are FREE! See these and other events at For more information contact Produced in cooperation with the DeKalb County Visitors Bureau.









Kickoff to Summer  
Kickoff to Summer  

The calendar might not officially say it’s summer, but all of the activities and fun associated with summer fun in northeast Indiana are rol...