Chesterton Tribune

History of Ogden Dunes heard by local historians

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Using historical film and recent interviews, Bill Warrick has produced a video telling “The Ogden Dunes Story” which he showed for the Duneland Historical Society May 18 at the First United Methodist Church.

Warrick is a self described railroad fan who is pursuing his hobby of producing documentary videos relating to transportation. He is retired after working in radio and television in Hammond, Chicago and South Bend. He has lived in Ogden Dunes for 39 years.

He said the Ogden Dunes video came about by accident after he saw the Ogden Dunes ski jump in the background of an old train film. His video contains footage of skiers using the jump before a large crowd of spectators. He said the jump could be seen from both the South Shore and New York Central railroads.

There is now a historical marker for the ski jump in Kratz Field in Ogden Dunes and the video showed the support pillars which are still visible. The jump operated for about five years in the late 1920’s and early 30’s. International competitions took place and Olympic skiers practiced there.

Ogden Dunes was incorporated in 1925. Samuel Reck bought the Francis Ogden estate in 1923 and he and Colin Mackenzie and Joseph Boo laid out the old part of the town. Originally the South Shore stop in that area was called Wickliffe.

Peter Youngman from the Ogden Dunes Historical Society was in the audience and also in the video. He told the story of Alice Gray, Diana of the Dunes, who is said to have moved in 1915 to an abandoned shack in what would become Ogden Dunes.

Herb and Charlotte Read told of the fight to save the dunes and, from the audience, Herb recalled visiting the ski jump with his father as a child. Many Ogden Dunes residents contributed to the video with information about the Ogden Dunes Woman’s Club, Lions Club, Fire Department, Garden Club, telephone history, lake erosion, Ogden Dunes Church and special events such as the Fireman’s Ball.

During the question and answer period, audience members told of a ship wreck visible off Ogden Dunes which is being investigated.

The next event for the Duneland Historical Society is the summer trip which will be to historic Lowell, Indiana on Saturday, June 17. It includes visits to the Buckley Homestead, the Halsted House Museum and lunch at the Cornerstone Mansion.



Posted 5/25/2006