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Note: this strange and today rather humorous article appeared in The Chicago American in 1905, and gives some insight into the exclusivity of Culver in its heyday as a resort town and playground for the social elite. The fact that Chicago's "society ladies" seem to have been snubbed by those of Culver, and the article's designation of Culver as "the Newport of Indiana" make for particularly entertaining reading. Special thanks to Jim Peterson for letting us know about this article, and Fred Karst (both of Culver's Antiquarian and Historical Society) for providing a copy for our use.
SUNDAY, JULY 16, 1905
CHICAGO GIRLS MAKE HIT AT INDIANA SUMMER RESORT
SOME OF THE SOCIETY BELLES AT THE POPULAR INDIANA SUMMER RESORT
LOUISE OTIS AND ANNA ROGERS ARE FAVORITES
Liven Up Society Features at Lake Maxinkukee, Where Many of the Elite of Indiana and Illinois Are Gathered.
It isn't every community that objects to receiving the cream of Chicago society as its summer guests. Perhaps such is not really the case with that very small spot in Northern Indiana that bears the very large name of Lake Maxinkukee. Still her own little colony of the state's "smart set" were so ulta exclusive that at one time they deemed it quite a bore to be intruded upon by Chicago's very best people.
That they have decided to receive the outsiders, however, is an established fact, and it is also a subject for congratulation to both sides and to the world at large. For the distinguished galaxy that now meets on the shores of this miniature body of water is pleasant to reflect upon.
Arms Open to Chicago Belles.
No one could seriously think that the cottagers at Lake Maxinkukee ever for a moment hesitated to extend the glad hand to Louise Otis in any of her short visits to the place in the years past, nor that they could be so unimpressed by distinction as to even assume indifference to Miss Anna Rogers, daughter of Rufus Rogers of Washington Avenue, and niece of H. Rogers of the Standard Oil Company and of Frenzied Finance.
Certainly neither of these young women has received a doubtful reception duringthis summer, all of which they have spent there in a cottage that the families have taken together. And as for exclusiveness -- what could be more so than their own little week end house parties of, and for, Chicago people only?
Mrs. Shirk a Favorite
Certainly Mrs. Elbert Shirk, sister of Mrs. Zack Stuart of the Virginia Hotel, has been most graciously received since she has come to take her place as one of the grand ladies of the resort. The wooing of her alone, if nothing else, would make Mrs. Elbert Shirk distinguished. She it was who, as Miss Kirtland, Elert Shirk of Yale and incidentally of Peru, Ind., pursued about the country in his automobile and on one occasion chartered a private car in order to be exactly on time to keep an engagement with her.
Then Mrs. Zack Stuart herself, who makes frequent visits to the place, has always commanded a welcome for many reasons -- because, for instance, she is Mrs. Zack Stuart and very charming, and because of her decorative value.
Long ago the array of fair women and brave men from Hoosierdom that assembled here each year to laugh, to flirt, to sail and to chase the errant golf ball over the ravines and natural bunkers, had won for the spot the name of the Newport of Indiana.
Many Festive Scenes
There, also, on its wide veranda, Mrs. Stoughton Fletcher, Jr., of Indianapolis, flirted away many a pleasant Summer afternoon -- when she was May Henley and had not yet married the richest bachelor in Indiana.
Trust Magnate Plays King
From the pier of this cottage the Parrott children, of Indianapolis, Mary and Josephine, learned to dive. And their father, who was once a partner of Mr. Taggart in the cracker business, on a certain evening, draped in a young woman a downy lounging robe and
|adorned with crown improvised
by turning a chaning dish upside down on his head, impersonated in some
charades the Queen of Sheba. Thus arrayed he did not look so much like
the stern man of business nor the magnate of a great trust (the National
Biscuit Company) though both of these he is.
Pretty Emily Winter and Mrs. William L. Elder, both of prominence in Indianapolis society, have spent many an hour at this cottage. The one was there as house guest and the other on informal visits to a neighbor, Mrs. Elder having taken a cottage there one Summer before she began going East each season.
Taggart and Daughters There.
The Taggart girls, daughters of Indiana's own Tom Taggart, insist upon spending at least two weeks of each season at this very festive little watering place and Mr. Taggart himself has whiled away vacations by fishing in its waters. Indeed, he had all but completed arrangements to buy a cottage here when the unfortunate death of one of his daughters by drowning gave Mrs. Taggart such a terror of water that she cannot bear to come to the place.
George Ade, John McCutcheon, Lieutenant Hobson and Vice President Fairbanks have all visited this dainty little lake.
"Most Beautiful," Said Lew Wallace.
"The most beautiful place in the world," Lew Wallace pronounced it. And in an old tavern, sitting back from the roadside and looking as if it had stepped out of an English novel, he wrote the chariot race and other chapters of "Ben Hur."
Booth Tarkington chose it not only as the fitting place in which to put the finishing touches to the "Gentleman from Indiana," but as the spot of all others for his honeymoon. After a hurried trip through the East he and Louisa Fletcher Tarkington spent the lovely month of October here alone, the long, purple, silent days they gave to rowing, sailing, driving, walking. Then at sundown they donned evening dress (Louisa and decollete creations of the country's best artists) and dined in splendor alone.