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Vandalia Park

Vandalia Depot & Trains

The White Swan Dancing Pavilion

The Lighthouse in Vandalia Park -- The Morris Boat House (adjoining the Park in the early years)

Steamboats Launching from the Park

1895 Steamboat

An 1895 image of a steamboat landing in Marmont (pre-Culver!), an image from an Agricultural Fair program provided by the Culver Antiquarian & Historical Society. The whole program may be seen here.

At Depot Pier

"At Depot Pier" postcard, today's Town Park.

The Gazebo

The Gazebo at Lake Maxinkuckee, a very early postcard.

Gazebo Covered in Snow

Interesting and unusual postcard showing the gazebo in Vandalia park, completely covered in snow. The card itself is dated on the front, "Oct. 12, 06."

Boat Landing

A very rare shot of the boat landing in Vandalia park, this time showing not only the round refreshment stand from an unusual angle, but also the lighthouse that sat on the shoreline. The lighthouse, built in 1900, was destroyed in the "great wind" of 1913, so this photo dates from sometime in between.

Round Stand

One of several postcards with specially-shaped photo layouts depicting the Culver area; this one shows the "Round Stand" in Vandalia Park, which sold ice cream, in 1909.

Round Stand Postcard

A 1904 postcard with a different view of the same stand.

Round Stand

Another version of an earlier postcard depicting the Round Stand in Vandalia Park.

Round Stand

A beautiful and unusual photo, from approximately 1900, of the round stand (which is best remembered for selling ice cream) located in Vandalia Park, today's town park. The edge of the steamboat pier can be seen in the left hand corner of the photo. The man in the picture is unidentified. From the John Avery collection.

A Pretty View

One of several wide-view postcards (taking up the width of two cards!) of the Park in Culver, this one captioned, "A Pretty View," early 1900's.

Along the Shore

Another wide-view postcard (taking up the width of two cards) of the Park in Culver, this one captioned, "Along the Shore," 1909.

The Lake

Another wide-view postcard (taking up the width of two cards) of the Park in Culver, this one captioned, "The Lake," 1909

The Lawn

Another wide-view postcard (taking up the width of two cards) of the Park in Culver, this one captioned, "The Lawn," 1909.

The Depot

Another shot of the depot in Vandalia Park, this one depicted on a 1909 postcard (thanks to Jim Croy for this and several other following images!)

Along the Shore Near the Depot, Culver, Ind.

Another undated postcard (probably early 1900s), "Along the Shore Near the Depot, Culver, Ind."

1908 Postcard

This 1908 postcard boasts an unusual shot of Vandalia Park

Park Postcard

Though postmarked 1910, this postcard appears to be from the same series as the 1908 one to the left, this one also depicting a scene in Vandalia Park not often seen in photos.

Undated Postcard

A very unusual and beautiful shot of Vandalia Park on this undated postcard. Perhaps a reader can suggest exactly what part of the park we're seeing in this photo?

Scientific Club

This photo, also a large print from the Cleveland collection, has "7-20-07" printed on it, and depicts a group gathered around the lighthouse in Vandalia Park. The flags held by a few of the people appear to say, "Scientific Club." Any information available would be welcomed.

Culver Beach Resort

The "Culver Beach Resort" (Beach Lodge) as it looked during the late 1930s-early 1940s, as shown in this postcard from that era.

Tour Boats

Tour boats at the Culver Park are shown in this undated postcard. One of them is quite probably the famous "Maxinkuckee" boat (see Harvey Firari's article here).

Depot Pier

This postcard appears to be from the 1950s and depicts Depot Pier and some of the boats docked there.

Lake Maxinkuckee from Highway 17

This 1950s postcard reads, "Lake Maxinkuckee from Highway 17." Today, Highway 17 does not bypass the Lake (or even come close!), but in those days, highway 17 was today's West Shore Drive, and ran along the shore where the public landing is today.

Town Park

Another view of the Town Park in the 1950s, from the upper park area facing the beach. I'm surmising that the boat docked in this shot is, again, the tour boat the Maxinkuckee

1950s Postcard

Another, very similar view on another 1950s postcard; very little seems to have changed in this area to the present.

1930s Postcard

A similar area as the last few images, but this postcard appears to be of an earlier area, though no date is given.

1908 Postcard

Interesting 1908 postcard of Vandalia Park, a scene which has changed enough to be difficult to pinpoint in location (any help would be welcome!).

Walk in Vandalia Park

"Walk in Vandalia Park," an undated postcard. Does anyone know where this "walk" is?

Maxinkuckee Boat

The Culver Citizen caption accompanying this 1975 photo:  "The familiar wooden bench and table occupied by Captain Frank Amond will no longer be filled by the enfamous navigator, who has operated the Maxinkuckee excursion boat for nearly 40 years. Phil Scrugg's No. Plymouth Street, a Plymouth real estate agent, and his brother-in-law Mark Naylor, Plymouth, purchased the boat from Amond recently and will operate it beginning next spring. The boat, made of cypress wood over 100 years old, is currently at dry dock for the winter in Culver's public park. Amond retired from the excursion operation after many years in business along the shores of Lake Maxinkuckee."


The shoreline at Vandalia Park, looking towards the beach (is the docked boat the famous Maxinkuckee?). This postcard appears to be from the 1950s, but could be earlier.

Refreshment Stand

D.A. Bradley's Refreshment stand on the east side of Vandalia Park in the early 20th century.

Boat Landing Onshore

"Boat Landing Onshore," an undated postcard with a shot taken from the Vandalia Park area. Visible in the background are the boats of the Morris boat livery and (further back), the Lakeview Hotel grounds on the bluff to the left.

Station Landing

A postcard from circa 1910 showing the "Station Landing" (a reference to the train station, or Vandalia Park depot) on the Lake.

Scene on Lake Maxinkuckee

A beautifully photographed "Scene on Lake Maxinkuckee," dated 1912, depicts the Vandalia Park area and shows the Round Stand at left, the steamboat pier at right.

Lake Maxinkuckee

The scene in this undated postcard marked only, "Lake Maxinkuckee" depicts the steamboat pier and shore in the Vandalia Park area.

Station Sailboat Landing, Culver, Ind.

"Station Sailboat Landing, Culver, Ind." 1907 postcard. 

Pleasure Riding

"Pleasure Riding," says this early postcard depicting two of the steamboats that sailed the Lake, here docked at the Vandalia pier in Vandalia Park. To the left is the "Neeswaugee," named after the Indian Chief of the same name, and built by a Bass Lake man named Peterson in 1903. This was the last major steamboat to operate on Lake Maxinkuckee.

Swimming in Park

Swimming at the town park in the late teens or early 1920s, a photo provided by Robert Waite. Visible behind the swimmers is the curving path that led to the Lakeview Hotel, which was located at the highest point of what is today the Indian Trails between the Town Park and Culver Academies.

Colorized Steamboat Postcard

This colorized postcard shows the steamboat pier in Vandalia Park in the background, with the lighthouse visible at left. Thanks to Mike Shesky for the use of this postcard.


The aforementioned footbridge is here clearly visible, along with the "moat" that surrounded the lighthouse, fed by a natural spring just west off the public swimming beach. In this photo, the lighthouse itself appears to have already been destroyed (an event which occurred in 1913), judging by the angle of the photo. It is not certain how long the moat and footbridge remained after the lighthouse disappeared. Thanks to Mike Shesky for the use of this postcard.

People in Park

A rare and fascinating postcard from the Mike Shesky collection. Based on the attire and the landscape, this photo is probably from the early years of the 20th century. It was taken from the angle of today's Indian trails woods (much less overgrown in those days). In the background we see the bath house/beach house, approximately where the beach lodge is today. The Vandalia park steamboat pier / boat landing can be seen in the left background. The people in the photo are walking towards the Lake View Hotel on the bluff of today's Indian trails (more on the Lake View here).


An early 20th century winter scene depicts Lake Maxinkuckee, probably Vandalia Park. This may be the October, 1906 blizzard that buried the area in snow and is depicted not only in other Culver area postcards, but Plymouth and other nearby communities as well.

Boats for Rent

Fascinating and rare photo from the pre-1920s, taken alongside the shore where today's town park is in Culver. The sign at left says "Boats for Rent" and almost certainly depicts Captain Morris' boat house pier on the east end of Vandalia Park, close to where the Beach Lodge rests today. In the background on the ridge can be seen the Lake View Hotel, at the site of today's Indian Trails woods between the town park and Culver Academy.


One of two fascinating panoramic views of Vandalia Park from the Cleveland collection, this one -- in light of the early incarnation of the Depot -- sometime before 1920, though exact date is unknown. At least one building behind the Depot appears to be still remaining on Lake Shore Drive in more recent years. Any details about the school-shaped wooden structure in the park or other information would be welcome!

View of Park

This fascinating view of Vandalia Park (again from John Cleveland's collection) is presumably a bit later than the one to the left, as the school-shaped structure appears to be completed and even has vines growing on its walls. Note the development of buildings behind the Depot on what is today Lake Shore Drive.

Park Facing South

Fascinating, early 20th century view of Vandalia park facing south towards the boat landing below the train depot.

Steamboat Landing

The steamboat landing at Vandalia Park, early 20th century, a rare close-up.

Bathing Scene  Bathing Scene

Two 1913 postcards captioned, "Bathing Scene," at what is presumably today's public beach (before the 1935 construction of the Beach Lodge). At the time instead, the Bath House, built in 1886, served the needs of Culver's swimmers (it burned in 1935).

The Beach Lodge

The Beach Lodge as it appeared around the 1950s.

Bathing Beach

"Bathing Beach," early 1930s, a postcard.

Park 1952

One of several pleasant images of the Culver Town Park during the 1950s. This particular postcard is from 1952 and shows a view of the park that doesn't seem to have changed much since then.

1952 Postcard

Another 1952 postcard depicting the lower park area facing the beach. Again, the view is similar today. The stone fountain in the circle was one of several that went by the wayside during the 1980s. In the distance, the touring boat the Maxinkuckee appears to be visible


A similar postcard to the previous, from the same time period.

Culver Beach Lodge

An idyllic scene from the early 1950s depicting the Culver Beach Lodge.

Beach Area

Another angle of a similar view to the past few postcards depicting the Culver Beach area, circa 1950s.

1950s Postcard

Again, the view on a typical summer day has not changed greatly since this early 1950s postcard's photo was taken, but it's enjoyable to see nonetheless!

Culver Beach Resort

Though somewhat similar in appearance to the last several photos, this postcard shot of the "Culver Beach Resort" (the Beach Lodge) is from 1938 and shows some changes, especially the landscape to the right, or east, of the lodge itself.

The Swimming Beach

The Swimming Beach in Culver, as seen on a 1950 postcard.

Vandalia Park Looking North

"Vandalia Park Looking North," an area I'm not able to identify specifically, as depicted in this 1915 postcard.

View from Bluff

Presumably from the 1950s, this postcard shows another view of the lake from the bluff in Vandalia Park's (today's Town Park) upper pavilion area.

1970 Photo

A June, 1970 photo of the public beach in Culver. This photo was one of several donated to the library by White Photography.

Park Trails

Fascinating picture of the lower "trails" in the town park as they looked in 1974. Those around before then may find this image not as surprising as those of us who remember this area as it has been since (I assumed, before spotting this photo, that the trails had always been the double-sidewalk that they are today!). At the time, this strip was considered an "access road," and apparently its upgrading to paved walking trails was part of a large renovation done to the park in 1974-75. Visible in the background is the grain elevator, which burned down in the 1980s and was later replaced by the Culver Cove.

Swimming Beach

Late 1930s postcard depicting the swimming beach.

Kreuzberger Card

The Kreuzberger Park Restaurant, a saloon that was built -- according to Roeder's History -- in 1894. Learn more about the Kreuzberger Restaurant and its owner and history here.

Waiting for the Boat

This 1916 postcard shows a crowd during the heyday of Culver's tourist days, "Waiting for the Boat," at an undisclosed location which appears to be Vandalia Park.

Boat Landing, Lake Maxinkuckee

An undated postcard captioned, "Boat Landing, Lake Maxinkuckee," showing the boat landing in Vandalia Park

Depot Boat Landing

A 1906 postcard captioned "Depot Boat Landing."

  Bathing Scene Bathing Scene

Two 1913 postcards captioned, "Bathing Scene," at what is presumably today's public beach (before the 1935 construction of the Beach Lodge). At the time instead, the Bath House, built in 1886, served the needs of Culver's swimmers (it burned in 1935).

Steamboat Landing at Lake Maxinkuckee Steamboat Landing at Lake Maxinkuckee

"Steamboat Landing at Lake Maxinkuckee," reads the caption on this 1912 postcard.

Winter Scene at Lake Maxinkuckee

"Winter Scene at Lake Maxinkuckee," an undated postcard. I am uncertain as to exactly what location is depicted here. This postcard does not seem to be part of the same series as the handful of 1912 winter scenes in Vandalia Park, seen here and here.

Station Landing

A postcard from circa 1910 showing the "Station Landing" (a reference to the train station, or Vandalia Park depot) on the Lake.

Station Landing

A postcard from circa 1910 showing the "Station Landing" (a reference to the train station, or Vandalia Park depot) on the Lake.

The Lake

Another wide postcard captioned "The Lake" from 1909. This image gives a wonderful picture of the lake culture of the turn of the century.

Does this photo show the upper, or west pavilion area of Vandalia park in this period? If so, at left is the main steamboat pier (or "station landing") for pickup of passengers from trains, with two other piers at right depicting a number of steamboats at work.

Or, are we looking at a photo taken from the bluff in today's "Indian Trails," showing the steamboat pier at the Lake View hotel, in which case the pier at RIGHT is the Vandalia park steamboat pier?

Note the Victorian period dress of the day, in spite of the assuredly hot weather!

Shively Family

Unidentified members of the Shively family of Culver, circa 1920. Anyone with identifying information is encouraged to contact the library.

Bridge in Park

This unusual shot comes from Verl Schaffer's collection, and depicts a scene from Vandalia Park. Anyone with information about the concrete bridge-like structure, which does not seem to appear in any other shots of the park, is encouraged to contact the library.

A Pretty View

"A Pretty View," a postcard depicting the Round Stand ice cream stand in Vandalia Park, looking east towards the steamboat landing and what swimming beach. The card, part of Verl Schaffer's collection, appears to be from around the turn of the century.

Park Lighthouse Area

Fascinating view of the Vandalia Park lighthouse area from the one of the boats of the Bliss family, cottagers on the East Shore near the turn of the century. More of the Bliss families photos (mostly of their home and Lake Maxinkuckee) on the Hotels and Homes page.

Beach Lodge Area

A photo of the beach lodge area and public beach, probably from the 1950s. Visible is the small children's slide in the shallow water and the more elaborate slide system of the swimming pier. From the Mike Shesky collection.

Trails in Background

A 1950s shot of the beach lodge (at left) and swimming pier, with the Indian trails woods in the background. Note the elaborate diving apparatus attached to the swimming pier. A postcard from the Mike Shesky collection.

Steamboat Stereoscope

A "stereoscope" postcard depicting the steamboat pier with a launch taking on passengers, in Vandalia park at Culver near the turn of the 20th century.

Pontoon Boat Docked

A pontoon boat docked in the west end of the town park, or so it appears by this 1950s postcard.

Vandalia Park gazebo early 1900sVandalia Park gazebo and steamboat pier, early 1900s

Two rare photos of the gazebo in Vandalia Park (today's town park) in Culver. The photo at right shows clearly the steamboat pier in the park, which locates this gazebo on the bluff several yards east of the old Kreuzberger hotel and just south of the depot/train station. The photo at left shows members of the Stahl family gathered at the gazebo, which was constructed of rough logs. It is not known when the gazebo was built or what became of it. The presence of a building in the right-hand corner of the photo at left is mysterious, as the building doesn't seem to match any of the known structures in that location. These images from the Stahl family collection.


Culver's New Recreational Center," boasts this June, 1937 photo of Culver's beach lodge in the town park on Lake Shore Drive. The prior building used for the same person, known as the "bath house," was burned to the ground a few years prior. The building here was part of a WPA project that was indeed completed in 1937. Oliver Schilling was listed as manager here. Today, of course, the building stull stands and is operated by Kelly Young, park director.

Lake Maxinkuckee from Culver beach Lodge 1940s

Behind Jim Weirick's mother in this photo from his collection is a 1940s view of Lake Maxinkuckee.