By Tim Ashley
SYRACUSE — “It’s my hope that someone else will start creating their own family legacy at Ideal Beach,” said Christine Carter Hoy, referring to her family’s cottage at Lake Wawasee that will soon be auctioned off.
The three-bedroom cottage with lake frontage at 11060 N. Ideal Beach Drive, Syracuse, is to be auctioned on site at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 12. It has been owned four generations by the same family since Edward and Grace Gingrich had it built during the years of 1920 and 1921.
A few years ago the intent was to keep the family home and Thomas Burnworth of Milestone Construction was hired to do an extensive remodel of the current home. But ultimately the decision was made by the Hoys to instead have a summer place in Michigan near their adult children in the Grand Rapids area.
“There aren’t any other relatives to pass the house down to,” Hoy, an only child, noted. “My adult children are in their late 20s and early 30s and do not wish to take on the responsibilities and financial commitments of a lake home.”
She was born in June 1964 and spent every summer at Lake Wawasee until she went off to college.
According to a history of the property provided by Hoy, Edward and Grace purchased lot No. 8 in Ketring & Blanchard’s Ideal Beach in 1918. Their only son, Benjamin William (Bill) Gingrich, was just turning 19 and was apparently more interested in purchasing a new canoe than buying the lot next door as recommended by his father.
Edward had previously held 50% interest in one of the first (if not the very first) cottages at Oakwood Park. He sold his interest in that cottage to buy the property at Ideal Beach, known at that time as “RR 4.”
The Gingrich family initially built a barn with cabin-like living quarters up above. The barn was home for the Model-T Ford they drove on the weekends from South Bend. Hoy said she has heard the drive from South Bend took three hours.
Lone Oak Knoll was the name of the original cottage. A few years later, a stone fireplace was built in the living room. Edward passed away in November 1929 at age 62, leaving Grace a widow.
Son Bill and his wife Agnes purchased the cottage in 1935 from Grace. Their only daughter, Mary Agnes, was born in the summer of 1935. Roughly seven years later, or about 1942, indoor plumbing was added so they no longer needed to use the outhouse. Then in 1953, Bill and Agnes purchased the back lot across the road.
They decided to retire in 1963 so they moved the old barn to the back lot so they had room for an addition to the cottage, converting it to a year-round home. Included in the addition was a two-stall garage below and two large bedrooms and full bathrooms above, one of which was an en suite bath. Also the entry, living and dining areas and kitchen were remodeled and a laundry room was added.
Hoy noted the reason Edward supposedly chose lot No. 8 was because of the oak tree leaning out over the water. For several years there was a screened outlook holding an old wooden swing. Hoy believes it was taken down in 1963 during the remodeling.
The oak tree grew to be very large and was probably more than 100 years old when struck down by lightning in July 1980. Bill Gingrich died a few months later in October 1980.
Bill’s widow, Agnes, lived at the lake house until her death in May 2008 and Mary Agnes Carter lived there until her death in November 2020. She had moved back to the lake full-time in 2005 to take care of her mother.
For more information about the auction, visit ellenbergerbros.com.
High Demand For Lake Properties
Ken Ellenberger of Ellenberger Brothers Auctioneers said especially during the last year or so there has been an increasing demand for lake property and housing, as well as real estate in general all across northeastern Indiana. “There appears to be a tight supply,” he noted.
“The market will determine the sale price and the value,” he added.