Throw Back Thursday: The old lighthouse in the park

Jeff Kenney
Citizen editor

Lori Sumner of Fort Wayne recently loaned this photo of the old, 1895 Vandalia lighthouse in Culver, wondering as to the identity of the people in the photo. Her husband’s grandfather, she says, was Charleton Baker, once of the house at the corner of Lake Shore Drive and Baker Street in Culver.

The lighthouse was built circa 1895, and is believed to have been lit at night to alert steamboat captains of new passengers arriving at the railroad station. The original lighthouse was destroyed in a storm in 1913, though a replica version was erected in 2006 by the Antiquarian and Historical Society of Culver, and sits in the park at the same location today.

Of particular interest is the vine-covered structure behind the group of people. It appears in various states of vine-cover, in photos dating from the late 1800s and early 1900s. In earlier photos, the structure is clearly visible and appears never to have had walls, but instead was presumably a safe refuge from the elements while one waited for steamboats. There’s no evidence it was used for any purpose related to its look (that of a small school or church). If any readers have more information on the people in the photo, please contact Citizen editor Jeff Kenney at 574-216-0075 or