Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

We are indebted to James Heaton Sr., of Winona Lake for the story [and the picture?] which we are including in this column today.

In 1928, Warsaw clothier, Ben Phillipson, presented to the Winona lake Institution a pair of swans. They were placed on the pond located beside the Administration building, where on June 14, 1928, four cygnets were born. [The accompanying picture shows Mr. Phillipson posing with the family of six swans, including the four new arrivals.]

The area which is now the town of Winona Lake was once called Spring Fountain park, so named because of the many springs there. A local butter and egg company, Beyer Brothers, owned the park and used many of the springs as storage places for their products. The springs made it possible for the early residents of Winona lake to construct many ponds throughout the park, most of which have now been filled in. In the early days of Winona Lake, J. M. Studebaker, of buggy, wagon, (and later automobile) fame, built what is known as Studebaker Spring in the hillside near the auditorium. It is this spring, along with a nearby flowing well, which feeds the swan pond today.

Mr. Heaton states that at one time the swan population at Winona Lake was as high as 34, all direct descendants of this first pair presented to Winona by Mr. Phillipson. One pair is kept on the pond and the others on the lake. The swans have been pretty good about staying home, although one time a group of them flew to center Lake, where they were recaptured.

Mr. Phillipson's gift has proved to be a unique contribution to Winona Lake and her institutions.

Warsaw Times-Union Mon. June 1, 1953