Text and Photos
By Deb Patterson
Natalie Imler Young posted a photo of a 1928 Lake Wawasee Directory on the Friends of Lake Wawasee Facebook page June 18. The directory was found in the cabinet of the Steve and Dianne Imler home on Highland View Drive.
A photo of the cover and a few inside pages were posted on the site. A number of people contacted her asking her to look up names, resulting in photographs of the entire directory being posted.
It is possible the book is not the original directory, but a reproduction offered for $5 in 1984 and 1985.
What is known is the 1928 directory was Wawasee’s first directory, published annually by Samuel J. Snavely. He died in 1954 and is buried in Syracuse Cemetery.
This directory included listing of residents by last names, towns and area of the lake residence. Locations noted were Sunset Bay, Pickwick Park, Cedar Point, Vawter Park, Ogden Island, Waco, Oakwood, Natty Crow Beach, Ideal Beach, Lake View, Brunjes Park, Buttermilk Point, Morrison Island, Willow Grove, Waveland Beach, Black Point, Highand View Gardens, Kitson Park and Elwood George Addition.
Additionally you find what appears to be postcard photos of Wawasee 18-hole Golf Course, Waco Pavilion, South Shore Inn, the new Wawasee Hotel and lake scenes. Articles on businesses such as The Tavern, M. Katzer, proprietor; Ideal Beach by Edward B. Walters, manager; and information on Indiana fishing laws including license requirements and types of fish. There was also general information on churches and railway time cards for the B & O, Winona Interurban in Milford and the Big Four in Milford. Even the special events coming up at the lake.
Of course the directory is filled with advertisements from local businesses: The Wawasee Slip, rentals from Dwight Mock, Syracuse Auto Sales featuring Willys-Knight and Whippet Fine Motor Cars, U-Kum-Bak Inn, Insley Billiard Hall, Bachman’s General Store, The New Hotel Oakwood, A.E. Snavely’s Shoe Shop, The Grand, Thornburg Drug Company, cottage fire insurance by George Xanders, Vern Bushong’s Beauty Parlor and many more.
The publishers, who are unknown other than Samuel Snavely, provided a general history of the lake in an article titled “Let’s Know Our Wawasee.” Points of interest from the past that still lingered were noted as was the history of Syracuse. The article referred to what could be found at the lake, from up-to-date summer homes, places of amusement and hotels, mentioning the six larger, modern hotels — South Shore Inn, The Tavern, Hotel Oakwood, the Sargent, Wawasee Inn and Johnson’s Lodge.
For amusement and pastime it is noted that Wawasee is unsurpassed with bathing, rowing, sailing, motor boating, canoeing, toboggan sliding, horseback riding, tennis, a sporty 18-hole golf course, dancing at Waco, fishing, hunting and speed boat races.
Local historian Ann Garceau provided information on other directories. She notes the 1936 cottage directory was published for Syracuse-Wawasee-Papakeechie lakes, by the Syracuse-Wawasee Community Chamber of Commerce. The publicity committee included Ralph Thornburg, chairman; M. W. Macy; Carl Tuttle; Mattie Katzer; and John E. Greiger. The 1944 Lake Wawasee Directory included Syracuse and Papakeechie lakes. She noted the directory of property owners of Lake Wawasee and Syracuse Lake was published in 1959 with a 1960 supplement and corrections, prepared by the Wawasee Property Owners Association with cooperation from the Syracuse Lake Cooperative Association.
The current WPOA Directory, published since 1978, was the brainchild of WPOA’s vice president Jack DeHaven with the pier numbering system providing the logic behind the publication.
Young is the daughter of the Imlers, whose grandfather, Russel Regenold purchased the home in 1963 for $26,000 fully furnished. Dianne Imler inherited the property from her father and they had the original home torn down and rebuilt in 1991.
Young and her father believe the directory may have been placed inside other books and was discovered after it fell out. Young also found the book “Sketches of Lake Wawasee,” a companion volume to Eli Lilly’s Early Wawasee Days. The companion book was published in 1967 by the Indiana Historical Society and compiled by Scott A. Edgell.
A few of the reprinted copies of the 1928 Lake Wawasee Directory can be found at the Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum. Additionally, copies of the “Sketches of Lake Wawasee” can be purchased at the museum.