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7 Pieces Of History Near Winona Lake, IN

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Winona Lake, Indiana is a small town located in Kosciusko County. The town is known for its picturesque lake, but it also has a rich history. Here are seven historical events that have taken place near Winona Lake.

1. The Winona Lake Bible Conference

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Winona Lake became the site of the Winona Lake Bible Conference, which brought thousands of people to the area to hear well-known speakers and attend religious classes. The conference was started by businessman John Wanamaker and evangelist Billy Sunday, and it played an important role in shaping the early Christian fundamentalist movement.

2. The Warsaw Orphan Train

In the early 1900s, thousands of children from New York City were sent out west on what was known as the "orphan train." In 1904, one of these trains stopped in Warsaw, just a few miles from Winona Lake. Many of the children were taken in by local families and given new homes.

3. The KKK in Indiana

In the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan had a significant presence in Indiana. In 1923, a Klan rally was held in Winona Lake, attended by more than 10,000 people. The Klan was eventually driven out of the state, but its presence in Indiana had a lasting impact.

4. The Billy Sunday Home

Billy Sunday, the famous evangelist who helped start the Winona Lake Bible Conference, had a home in nearby Winona. The home is now a museum, open to the public, where visitors can learn about Sunday's life and legacy.

5. The Building of the Winona Interurban

In 1900, the Winona Interurban was built, connecting Winona Lake to nearby Warsaw and Goshen. The interurban was a popular mode of transportation for a number of years, but it was eventually replaced by cars and buses.

6. The Movie Theater Fire

In 1942, a fire broke out at the Lake Theater in nearby Warsaw, killing twelve people and injuring dozens more. The tragedy had a profound impact on the community, and the theater was never rebuilt.

7. The Ice Harvest

For many years, Winona Lake was known for its ice harvest. In the winter, workers would cut blocks of ice from the frozen lake and store them in ice houses for use during the warmer months. The tradition ended in the 1950s with the advent of refrigeration.

These are just a few of the many historical events that have taken place near Winona Lake. The town's rich history continues to be an important part of its identity, and visitors can learn about these and other events by visiting the local museums and historical sites.
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