Your group will start the day at the Winona History Center which is located in Westminster Hall on the campus of Grace College.
This building was originally the Westminster Hotel, which served as one of several hotels built in the early 1900’s to lodge the many guests that flocked to Winona Lake through the years. The west wing of the first floor, which houses the museum’s displays, was the location of the recording and business offices of gospel music pioneer Homer Rodeheaver.
In addition to highlighting Rodeheaver’s legacy, the museum includes exhibits on the Chautauqua movement in Winona,
its legendary Bible conferences, and evangelist Billy Sunday.
Your group will see thousands of documents, recordings, and letters from Winona’s rich past.
Next the group will travel 2 blocks away to see the Billy Sunday Home. As a former professional baseball player for the Chicago White Stockings (now the Chicago Cubs), Billy Sunday inspired millions with a captivating mixture of theatrics, humor, and hellfire.
His widow, “Ma” Sunday, continued to live in the family home until her death in 1957.
You will be able to visit their well-preserved home and hear heartwarming tales about this special family.
Your group will have lunch lakeside at the upscale-casual Boathouse Restaurant. Located on the shores of Winona Lake, this fine dining establishment offers an extensive menu ranging from soups and sandwiches to Italian and steak entrees.
After lunch, your group will spend time exploring the Village at Winona. This is a thriving arts community nestled on the shores of beautiful Winona Lake. Come for a day of shopping, dining and fun. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, you’ll find a delightful array of original artwork and handmade gifts along with a variety of dining options. This truly is your hidden jewel to discover. There are so many shops you won’t be able to finish them all in a morning. You will need the afternoon, too, as there are over 20 Victorian homes that have been converted into quaint shops to keep you browsing for hours. You won’t have to hunt long to uncover a wealth of treasure in this little village.
Your group will then travel to Oakwood Cemetery. Founded in 1874, Oakwood Cemetery is located at the corner of Maple and Sheridan streets in the north part of Warsaw, overlooking beautiful Pike Lake. This cemetery is owned and operated by the City of Warsaw. Warsaw’s early burial site was about two acres southeast of the center of town near a tamarack swamp. The property was deeded to the town in 1848 by Richard L. Britton for the purpose of providing a public burying ground. That small plat of ground became overcrowded, and in 1874 the Town of Warsaw purchased what is now known as Oakwood Cemetery on the east shore of Pike Lake for $2,000 from Dr. Jacob Boss. Coincidentally, Dr. Boss was the first person buried in Oakwood Cemetery on August 6, 1874.
Your group will be able to see the grave sites of where well-known former residents are buried such as Homer Rodeheaver,
Viginia Asher and Virgil and Blanche Brock.
* Notice: This portion of the tour will only work if your group is traveling in multiple cars, by van or small bus.
If your group is traveling by motorcoach bus, they will be able to drive into the cemetery to the office but not any further.
They will have to unload and walk.
Virgil Brock (January 6, 1887 – March 12, 1978)
Blance Brock (February 1, 1888 – Jaunary 3, 1958)
Blanche attended the Indianapolis Conservatory of Music and the American Conservatory of Music, in Chicago, Illinois. In 1914 she married Virgil Brock while he was serving in Christian service in Greens Fork, Indiana. They became a team serving together in the Christian Church. For a while they lived in Warsaw and Winona Lake, Indiana. Together they wrote over 500 songs.
One of the most famous songs they wrote was “Beyond The Sunset” others included “He’s a Wonderful Savior to Me”, “Sing and Smile and Pray”, “Resting in His Love”, and “Let God Have His Way”. Even though Virgil didn’t know music theory and needed Blanche to write the melodies, he was awarded an Honorary Degree of Sacred Music from Trinity College, Dunedin, Florida, in recognition of his 50 years of gospel song-writing.
Viginia Asher (December 18, 1869 – February 2, 1937)
William Asher (May, 1865 – 1937)
By the first decade of the twentieth century, the evangelistic ministry of Billy Sunday had grown dramatically in both size and income, and Sunday’s wife, Nell aka “Ma” began to travel with her husband and manage the campaign staff. Nell Sunday first hired two female Bible teachers, Grace Sax and Francis Miller, and then in 1911 invited the Ashers to become part of the organization.
At the evangelistic services, Virginia Asher often sang duets with music director Homer Rodeheaver, and their early recordings popularized such gospel songs as “The Old Rugged Cross” and “In the Garden”. Meanwhile, William Asher began to serve as Sunday’s advance man and fundraiser, and he and his wife were often geographically separated, which they accepted as a necessary part of their ministry.
Homer Alvan Rodeheaver (October 4, 1880 – December 18, 1955)
Homer was an American evangelist, music director, music publisher, composer of gospel songs, and pioneer in the recording of sacred music and the music director for Billy Sunday.
Rodeheaver, called “Rody” by associates and reporters alike, had a genial, extroverted personality. Although he was not ignorant or unappreciative of classical and traditional sacred music, Rodeheaver enjoyed and promoted lively new gospel songs among Sunday’s congregations. Rodeheaver was a natural showman who could warm his audience with jokes and direct choirs and congregations with his trombone. For instance, he would say that his instrument was a “Methodist trombone” that would occasionally “backslide.” Or he’d pull his lips from the mouthpiece and say, “Just imagine! I’m being paid just to do this!”
When Lowell Thomas presented Rodeheaver to the New York Advertising Club, Rodeheaver succeeded in getting the advertising agents to sing “Pray the Clouds Away.” Will Rogers said, “Rody is the fellow that can make you sing whether you want to or not. I think he has more terrible voices in what was supposed to be unison than any man in the world. Everyone sings for Rody!” When Rodeheaver was introduced to John D. Rockefeller, Sr., on a golf course, Rodeheaver got Rockefeller to delay his golf game long enough to sing, “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go, Dear Lord”.
Other famous former residents from the Civil War such as Reuben Williams, Ambroise Bierce and Thomas Hubler, are also buried in the Civil War section of the cemetery.
Reuben Williams (August 15, 1831 – January 15, 1905)
Reuben was a Civil War Union Brevet Brigadier General. During the Civil War he enlisted in Company I, of the 12th Indiana Volunteer Infantry as Second Lieutenant, and rose through the ranks to eventually become the Colonel and commander of the regiment. He was brevetted Brigadier General, US Volunteers on March 13, 1865 for “meritorious services during the war”. He went on to established the “Northern Indianian” newspaper, now known as the “Warsaw Times-Union”.
Ambrose Bierce (June 24, 1842 – 1914)
Ambrose was an author and journalist best known for his classic Civil War story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” (1890) and the satirical lexicon “The Devil’s Dictionary” (1911). Bierce vanished without a trace in late 1913, allegedly in Mexico while covering the exploits of Pancho Villa. His disappearance is one of literature’s great mysteries.
Thomas Hubler (October 9, 1851 – March 21, 1913)
Oakwood Cemetery contains the memorial to who is said to be the youngest Civil War Veteran. Thomas L.F. Hubler was born in Fort Wayne on October 9, 1851. The family moved to Warsaw when he was 2 years old. At the outbreak of the war, his father who had been a German soldier, raised a company of men in response to President Lincoln’s call for 75,000 troops. “Little Tommy” was among the first to enlist in his father’s company on April 17, 1861. He was the youngest Civil War soldier to serve the longest amount of time in the Union army. He enlisted, at the age of 9, on May 7, 1861 as a drummer in the 12th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Already a fair drummer, upon arriving in Indianapolis he was mustered in as one of the company musicians. The Company E, 12th Indiana Infantry, was assigned with the Army of the Potomac throughout all its campaigns in Maryland and Virginia. At the expiration of its term of service in August of 1862, “Little Tommy” re-enlisted and served to the end of the war in 1865, having been present in some 26 battles. He later re-enlisted for three more years. Just over the age of ten, he was the youngest soldier who served in the Union Army during the Civil War. At the end of his service young Tommy was not yet 14 years old.
Your group will then make there next discovery enjoying a guided tour of the Warsaw Biblical Gardens as they walk through biblical times among the plants, flowers, trees, and herbs. This garden of biblical plants was started in 1986 and has since grown to be the third largest of its kind in the United States, offering more species of plants than any other with the exception of the Holy Lands.
The gardens are comprised of six microclimates which represent the main environments of which the Bible speaks.
Adjacent to the Warsaw Biblical Gardens is a second gardens called The Gardens of Central Park. This gardens is open to the public for self-guided tours. Signage at each bedding area details information about the plants. Your group can walk along the paths of flowering plants and enjoy the wonderful colors and seasons. At the end of your tour, each person will be given a unique treasure with a book of all the plants they have viewed and references to where they are mentioned in the Bible.
Saving the best for last! For the last stop of the day, your group will head north and travel to see camels in Milford, Indiana. That’s right, CAMELS! The farm’s name, River Jordan Camel Dairy, is named after the Jordan River, a reminder of God’s promised land. The farm is a statement of faith and a way to learn how God brings you out of the wilderness.
From the moment visitors arrive at River Jordan Camel Dairy Farm, your group will see the hairy, one-humped wonders up-close and personal. Inside the barn, they will see young calves, the milking process and learn how products are made from camel’s milk such as camel milk ice cream, lotions, soaps and even dog shampoo! Your group will leave with a small sample of lotion.
To view a current Kosciusko County Group Planner with a complete listing of attractions, entertainment, dining prices/options and lodging options, please click here. Contact Tina to discuss this tour and to customize a tour for your group!