Cedar Lake's Legacy
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the community of Cedar Lake attracted tourists from northern Indiana and the Chicago area looking for a quiet retreat from their busy urban lives. In its heyday, Cedar Lake boasted more than 50 hotels, pavilions and ballrooms where visitors could find lodging and entertainment. Grants from the Efroymson Family Fund are supporting restoration work at two landmarks from the era.
Hoping to increase ridership from Chicago, the Monon Railroad extended service to Cedar Lake in 1882. Recognizing the area’s potential for recreation, the railroad built Monon Park, with a dance pavilion, dining hall, bowling alley and lodge. In 1914, the railroad gave property to the Moody Bible Institute for use as a children’s campand retreat. Now owned by Cedar Lake Ministries, the site continues to operate as a retreat center. The c.1900 dance pavilion contains the group’s offices and main auditorium. The grant from the Efroymson Family Fund will help the group repair the building’s decaying foundation.
The former Lassen Hotel, a sprawling combination of two buildings, dates from 1895 and 1920 when the Lassen Resort was one of Cedar Lake’s most popular destinations. After World War II, the property was sold for use as a church camp and then as Cedar Lake’s town government complex. When the building was threatened with demolition, advocates formed the Cedar Lake Historical Association to save the National Register-listed structure.
Today, the association operates the hotel as the Lake of the Red Cedars Museum, where period rooms and exhibits depict local history. The group will use a grant from the Efroymson Family Fund to repair the original wood windows.
The Efroymson Family Fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation awards preservation and restoration grants once a year, relying on Indiana Landmarks to recommend projects that should receive support. For more information on these projects, grant and technical resources, contact Indiana Landmarks’ Northwest Field Office, 219-947-2657, email@example.com.
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