THROW BACK THURSDAY The Maxinkuckee Methodist Protestant Church

Jeff Kenney
Citizen editor

Seen here is the only presently known photo of the Methodist Protestant Church in the Maxinkuckee Village on 18B Road when it was still functioning as a church, a role in which few living residents remember it today. It's probably better known in more recent years as the late Episcopal Bishop William Sheridan's residence (he and his wife bought it in 1973; he died in 2005), and today it remains a house (available for rent, in fact, according to a sign in its yard).

A Methodist congregation was organized in the village of Maxinkuckee -- which occupied 18B east of today's East Shore Drive and included the still-standing school and a number of businesses -- sometime prior to 1854, though a church was not built there until 1888. This was built by the Disciples of Christ and in 1914, the Indiana Christian Association sold the church to the Maxinkuckee Methodist Church for $100. Fire had destroyed the nearby East Washington Church in 1914, and some of the insurance money was used to repair the Maxinkuckee church. A note in the Culver Citizen in October of that year says that work on the building had been completed at a cost of $1,610 in cash and labor. (Incidentally, another Methodist Protestant church, not to be confused with the older Methodist Episcopal denomination, was organized in 1888, this one several miles south and named Mount Hope. That church still functions within the consolidated United Methodist Church).

The photo of the church seen here is taken from a 1937 film of the Culver - Lake Maxinkuckee area shot by the Culver fire department.

In the wake of consolidation, the Maxinkuckee church was abandoned as a church in 1965 or 1966 (depending on which report one believes). The structure had 12 foot ceilings, and eventually a bronze bell manufactured in 1891 by the Buckeye Bell Foundry. The bell tower, by the mid-1960s, had collapsed, and the bell was placed at the then-new fire station after it moved to its present location on Lake Shore Drive in 1966 (for years the bell sat along Lake Shore outside the fire station building, though a few years ago it was moved to the firefighter's memorial to the east across State Street).

More on the Maxinkuckee Village and its features can be found in the spring, 2007 edition of the Antiquarian and Historical Society of Culver newsletter, here: