Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

Roy Bradway of Warsaw recently loaned us a program booklet of the Indiana State Chautauqua Assembly at Spring Fountain Park (Now Winona Lake) in 1893. A detailed program of the activities at the park during that summer is given in this booklet.

In 1893 Spring Fountain Park was owned by the Beyer Brothers of Rochester, Kendallville and Warsaw.

The President of the Assembly was Rev. D. C. Woolpert. J. A. Funk and J. S. Baker of Warsaw were vice presidents. Local members of the Board of Directors were S. W. Oldfather, J. T. Thayer, Dr. C. W. Burkett, W. B. Funk, Silas Chipman, H. P. Comstock and Rev. Somerville Light. Ed Beyer was General Secretary, Fred Beyer the Treasurer, and Chris Beyer the Superintendent of the Grounds.

Perhaps the headline entertainment of that summer was the visit of the Ransom-Robertson Combination Company on August 1 and 2. Elmer P. Ransom was a magician and humorist; his partner, D. W. Robertson, was billed as a "well known tumbleronicon soloist, the Paganini of the crystal glasses." On July 29 an Elocutionary entertainment from the Emerson College of Oratory of Boston was presented. The Orion club of Columbus, Ohio, gave the grand concert on the closing day, August 8.

Due to the World's Fair going on in Chicago at that time, the Chautauqua season was cut to two weeks instead of the usual four weeks. Full term Assembly tickets were $2 and single admission tickets 25 cents. Meals could be had for 50 cents at the Assembly Hotel or 35 cents at the Hotel De Mountaine. A tent, 12x12, rented for $2.50 per week with floor, $2 without floor.

Quite a bit of emphasis was put on the medical virtues to be derived from the springs at the park. "These mammoth springs, bursting from the hillside everywhere, have contributed to the health of thousands who have quaffed their sparkling waters. As a health resort there is no place in the land enjoying superior advantages."

We appreciate getting the chance to examine this booklet. If any of our readers have local historical manuscripts and booklets around, we would appreciate it if you, like Mr. Bradway, would give us the privilege of examining them.

Warsaw Times-Union Tues. Mar. 2, 1954