From the Files of the Kosciusko County Historical Society
Editor’s note: This is a retrospective article that runs a few times a month on InkFreeNews.
Renaming Eagle Lake
In 1894, Dr. Solomon C. Dickey, who later became a Winona Lake town founder, was serving in the capacity of superintendent of home missions for the Presbyterian Church of Indiana. He decided the Presbyterian ministers and church workers needed a common meeting place to study the Bible and discuss church problems. The first camp he selected was at Bass Lake, in Starke County, where the Presbyterians bought 160 acres of land to build a church resort; however, the Bass Lake project fell through and Dickey turned his sights to Kosciusko County, according to authors Vincent H. Gaddis and Jasper A. Huffman in their book “The Story of Winona Lake.”
In 1894, Dickey arranged for the Presbyterian Church members of Indiana to buy 160 acres of land which included the northeastern shores of Eagle Lake and also a resort and social center called Spring Fountain Park, located along the eastern shore of Eagle Lake, according to James Heaton, of Winona Lake.
In 1895, the Presbyterians changed the name of Eagle Lake to Winona Lake. “Winona” is an Indian word meaning “first born.”
The Myth of Princess Winona
There never was a Princess Winona of Kosciusko County, though her face appears on the Winona Lake town seal, and several Winona Lake businesses (including the now extinct Winona Dairy) used the face of a feathered miss for their logos. Princess Winona never lived here. She is a myth.
Until 1895, approximately 47 years after the last Indians were driven from this county, Winona Lake was called Eagle Lake. And Princess Winona Lake was really just the picture of a local girl who posed for a portrait in Indian garb. On June 2, 1913, the town of Winona Lake was incorporated and later a community symbol of an Indian princess was adopted. To secure a princess picture, townsmen asked a Winona Lake teenage girl to dress in a colorful Indian costume and pose for a portrait. The girl was Airy Anna Haymaker who later married and became Mrs. P. L. Osborne of Groves, Texas, according to Heaton and authors, Gaddis & Huffman.
Indian Burial Grounds
Burial Sites have been located on the west end of Big Turkey Prairie, at Oswego, on Trimble Creek and in Oakwood Cemetery, Warsaw on top of a bluff directly overlooking Pike Lake, according to an article “Indians and their Burying Grounds,” from an Aug. 5, 1880, “Northern Indianian” newspaper. Another Indian burial ground is located on the south side of the Tippecanoe River, opposite the Indian Village of Monoquet, according to James Armstrong in his “History of Leesburg and Plain Township Indiana book.”
There is an ancient Indian burial ground where Winona Lake is joined to the Tippecanoe River by Eagle-Walnut Creek, on the shores of the creek approximately one-half mile from the river, according to Gaddis & Huffman in “The Story of Winona Lake.”
– Compiled by InkFreeNews reporter Lasca Randels