Culver History

The town of Culver would not be what it is today without Lake Maxinkuckee. The first known residents were the Miami Indians, followed by the Potawatomies, who were drawn to this place by the bounty and beauty of the lake. Evidence of many settlements and the trails that connected them can still be found in the surrounding area. In 1825, the first man of English descent moved here and ten years later, as Native Americans were being removed from the Midwest, white settlers came with their families and started building lives along the shores of the lake. The first Union Township school was then founded in 1836.

The Vandalia Rail Line from Logansport reached Culver in 1883, ushering in a boom for the town as visitors from Logansport, South Bend, and Indianapolis enjoyed boating, fishing, and rustic living. Travel by steamboat quickly became the most common form of transport, reaching its heyday in the quarter century after 1880, with Lake Maxinkuckee even featuring a floating dancing pavilion! A Chautauqua event known as The Culver Park Assembly hosted 12,000 visitors in 1889.

A few years later, in 1894, H. H. Culver and his wife, Emily Hand, opened the doors of a secondary boarding school now known as Culver Academies. Since then, education, farming and tourism have been the defining features of this unique town. Culver has attracted students from all over the world as well as many prominent visitors such as: Carrie Nation and William Jennings Bryant, James Whitcomb Riley and Kurt Vonnegut, Buffalo Bill and Joshua Bell, George Steinbrenner and George Foreman. For a small Indiana town, Culver certainly has had its share of interesting times.

We are fortunate to have two History organizations in our town:

The Antiquarian and Historical Society of Culver has been in existence since 1991 and celebrates the history of the area in many distinct ways; designating local landmarks to The National Register of Historic Places, maintaining Heritage Park in downtown Culver, recreating an historic lighthouse on the lakeshore, and sustaining the Museum of Culver and Lake Maxinkuckee History.

Culver-Union Township Heritage, Inc., is a community-based and project-oriented volunteer organization working to preserve local history. Sponsoring events like the Culver History Hayride and history-themed Moonlight Paddle (as co-sponsors), CUTH may be found online at www.culverheritage.com and Facebook.com/CulverUnionTownshipHeritage