Life’s Better Here: Churubusco 2012

IndianasNewsCenter.com, the ABC and NBC affiliate in Fort Wayne, is running a new series on local small towns. They are kicking off this series with Churubusco. Check out their video below with Eric Olson:

If you were looking for a definition for small town America the name Churubusco would do. The town sprang up in 1838 when the railroad intersected the old Goshen Road, an ancient Indian trail. The early town served the local farm community and was an important source of lumber thanks to the local sawmill. When the legendary Lincoln Highway pushed through in 1913 it put Churubusco on the map. The town was always a sleepy community and would have stayed that way but for one brief yet notorious brush with fame. It revolved around Churubusco’s most famous phantom citizen; a guy named Oscar, the ‘Busco Beast.

Oscar’s story begins one night in1948 at a little lake on a farm east of town owned by Gayle Harris.

“And he and another fellow was up on the barn working on the roof,” says town historian Chuck Mathieu. “And apparently they spotted something in the lake and that kinda got the story started.”

Nobody knows what that something was but Harris and his buddies wasted no time trying to catch it. They built traps, they built cages, wire nets…sent down divers. The commotion caught the eye of local newspapers and the story took off from there.

“And it actually gained national acclaim,” says Chuck Mathieu. “Lowell Thomas was a radio commentator at the time and he did a story on it. Life Magazine sent Mike Shay out and he took photographs of it.”

As a breathless nation watched the hunt for Oscar escalated, climaxing with the ultimate strategy…draining the lake. Alas that strategy like all others was destined to fail.

“Mr. Harris I guess became ill,” says Chuck Mathieu, “and then winter set in and they never did get it completely drained.”

And that’s where Oscar’s trail grew cold. Though he was never found most folks think Oscar was a giant turtle, perhaps a southern alligator snapper that ventured too far north. Whatever it was Oscar’s story lives today. the ‘Busco Beast guards downtown Churubusco, welcomes folks to the local park, guards the towns water supply and is celebrated each year during the turtle days festival. So even though he never showed his face, Oscar the turtle is the gift that just keeps giving, to life in this very pleasant town.

Indiana Lincoln Highway Adventure coming this July 21

On July 21, explore the historic Lincoln Highway Byway’s 1913 route through St. Joseph, Elkhart, and Noble Counties during Indiana Landmarks’ Lincoln Highway Adventure and Moveable Feast. The Adventure is a partnership of the Indiana Lincoln Highway Association and Indiana Landmarks.

Follow the highway east from South Bend through scenic landscapes; explore historic sites, and enjoy dining and shopping in towns along the route, including Mishawaka, Elkhart, Goshen, Ligonier, Kimmell, and Wolf Lake.

End the day in Ligonier, where the Movable Feast showcases landmarks including the 1889 Ahavas Sholom Temple, 1899 Solomon Mier House, 1839 Stone’s Trace Historic Site, 1879 Kimmell House, and 1930 Luckey Hospital Museum.

Each registered vehicle will receive an Adventure Bag with a dash plaque, discount coupons, and Adventure Passport Booklet containing information about sites along the route with by turn-by-turn directions. Check in via FourSquare or stay connected through your other favorite social media during the Adventure. The Lincoln Highway Adventure welcomes families, car clubs and caravans.

For more information, contact Indiana Landmarks’ Northern Regional Office, 574-232-4534 or north@indianalandmarks.org.

Buy tickets to the Adventure and the Movable Feast online at: http://adventure2012.eventbrite.com/

Indiana Lincoln Highway Adventure

Fort Wayne’s Cindy’s Diner in the news

Cindy’s Diner was recently reviewed in the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel.com, by Cindy Larson:

“If anybody ever asked me for a list of the top 10 must-experience restaurants in Fort Wayne, of course Cindy’s Diner would be near the top.

This little gem anchors the corner of Wayne and Harrison (Lincoln Highway) streets downtown and is beloved by many. The 1953 luncheonette owned by John and Cindy Scheele was moved to its present location in 1990.

Cindy’s motto is “serving the world, 15 at a time” because that’s all the seats the tiny diner holds, although they have added a few tables outside.”

Photo by Cindy Larson of The News-Sentinel

You can read more at:
http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120515/LIVING/120519881/1008

Cindy’s Diner is actually bigger than normal for a Valentine Diner, as many models from this Kansas manufacturer only had 8 – 10 stools.  You can read more about these diners at the Kansas Historical Society website:
http://www.kshs.org/p/travel-by-theme-diners/10398

Festivals in Indiana Lincoln Highway Towns – 2012

As you tour the Indiana Lincoln Highway this summer and fall be sure to check out one of the many festivals taking place:

Columbia City
August 10-12, Mihsihkinaahkwa Pow Wow, www.miamipowwow.org

Fort Wayne
July 13-21, Three River Festival, www.threeriversfestival.org
September 15-16, Johnny Appleseed Festival, www.johnnyappleseedfest.com

Goshen
June 1, July 6, August 3, September 7, October 5, November 2-3, and December 7, First Fridays – Downtown, www.cityonthego.org/first_fridays
July 20-28, Elkhart County 4-H Fair, www.4hfair.org

La Porte
July 15-21, La Porte County Fair, www.laportecountyfair.org

Ligonier
August 31-September 3, Marshmallow Festival, http://www.themarshmallowfestival.com/
September 8-9, Stone’s Trace Pioneer Festival, http://www.stonestrace.com/schedule-of-events.html
October 1-31, Pumpkin Fantasyland, www.fashionfarminc.com

New Carlisle
July 27-29, New Carlisle Home Town Days, www.hometowndays.net

Plymouth
August 31-September 3, Marshall County Blueberry Festival,  www.blueberryfestival.orgCentennial Park, Plymouth Site of the Blueberry Festival, on the Dixie Highway just north of the Lincoln Highway     Intersection

South Bend
June 9, Blues and Ribs Festival – Downtown, http://sbpark.org/activities/special-events/south-bend-blues-and-ribs-festival/
July 20-21, South Bend College Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival, www.enshrinementfestival.org

Valparaiso
September 8, Valparaiso Popcorn Festival,  http://www.valparaisoevents.com/popcorn%20festival/

Wanatah
September 21-23, Wanatah Scarecrow Festival, www.scarecrowfest.org

Warsaw
June 9, Northern Indiana Lakes Festival, www.lakesfestival.org
July 9-14, Kosciusko County Community Fair, www.kcfair.org

Westville
September 28-30, Westville Pumpkin Festival, http://mcaf.ee/lr7i8