An Architecture Home Companion (AHHC)

Thomas Silder, Mayor

Thomas Silder was an interesting man. He ran the town’s waste disposal business and was elected Mayor by a fluke. He was the only person in town at the time that had the 100 dollars in cash to post for the mayoral role.

It was the last tag line in the mayoral law that they had to have cash on the day of the election. It happened that the day of the opening of the poll, the town’s ATM just outside the city hall/general story had a garbage truck run into it, rendering it completely unusable. Thomas was the only person who had taken money out the day before. Looking back at this misfortune one would suspect that in fact it wasn’t a misfortune it was actually a planned outage.

Thomas was a short man given to fits of rage. Everyone in town was scared of him, particularly us kids. His wife had left him some 10 or so years ago, and had disappeared. This would figure into the scandal that later brought him down as mayor and forever changed the way our town approached the world around us. But that is another story.

Thomas lived on the outside of town, owning some 100 acres. The majority of his property was devoted to the landfill and city dump which he owned and managed. He also owned the three garbage trucks and the corporation that handled all the city waste management issues.

He had been married, but again she left town some 10 years ago.

He wasn’t the most popular mayor.

Then again, he was the last of the old mayors.



An Architecture Home Companion (AHHC)

Notre Dame

Growing up in Indiana you have three universities to root for, Purdue, Indiana and Notre Dame. In our house my dad said we had three universities to root for, Indiana and whomever is playing Notre Dame and whomever is playing Purdue.

My father and for that matter my mother hated Notre Dame.

It is an interesting thing in Indiana. Mostly south of US 40 (that runs through Indianapolis) you have IU fans, slowly moving towards Kentucky fans. North of US 40 it’s a split, mostly Purdue and IU fans with a few Notre Dame fans sprinkled in.

For the most part, people don’t like the Golden Dome.



An Architecture Home Companion (AHHC)

The Big City

(Fort Wayne Indiana)

What, if you read the history books, was a bustling place to be a number of years ago is now simply the largest city in the North Eastern part of the Great State of Indiana. Fort Wayne Indiana is an interesting city, important to Lake Architectless as our fair city is too small for even a Wal-Mart.

People often drove into the big city for dinner, movies and other interesting events. They even have a semi-professional hockey team and of course in both the founding of the NFL and the NBA Fort Wayne was an early leader having a franchise in both.

But time, like aging has no friends and what was a booming town is now much smaller. It is still the big city to us, however.



An Architecture Home Companion (AHHC)

Indiana Beach

Family Fun for all ages

Lake Schafer Indiana was the home to Indiana Beach, a happy time family destination. With roller coasters, a paddle wheel boat and a number of beaches Indiana Beach was where the glitterati of Indiana went to bake off the last of winter and brown to the crispness of summer.

With spf 150 in hand and beach towels that must have been given to my parents when they were married (because they didn’t have cool characters like He man on them) we packed the station wagon up on a Saturday morning and headed off to the watery bliss of a place made for kids

Dad would get us there early so we could get a good spot near one of the many freely provided state parks and recreation grills. He would spend hours preparing the grill so that he could burn the hamburgers.

Mom would pack all sorts of fun snacks and my brother and I would head off to the beaches. I met up with friends and all of us ditched our younger brothers. I never really asked him what he and his friends did, but I am not sure I really cared.

Depending on our age, as we went there for many years, we had various quests. When we first went to the park we wanted to ride all the cool rides like the roller coaster and others. As we got older we found no charm in those childish pursuits. Later we would rent canoe’s and explore the vast waterways of the beach seeking our fame and fortune in lost treasure.



An Architecture Home Companion (AHHC)

Corn Festival

Hey I really want to be there!

Many of you have asked me about attending the corn festival. The first thing you have to do is call the Lake Architectless Family Inn (and Gas Station/Post Office) and get a room. It doesn’t do you much good if you are not in the center of the action. Admitted that many people actually stay in the big city (Fort Wayne) and drive over for the events, but you really don’t get the flavor of the corn fest if you are one of the “day timers.”

The next thing you have to do is hit Ralph’s tour shop. Ralph does all the big Lake Architectless tours and if you don’t sign up early he will not have room for you. Make sure you hit at least the two big tours:

· Dead Man’s Cave – Confederate or Union

· Old Town Tour

· Stop Sign Roulette tour

The last tour remains my personal favorite.

Once you have your hotel you need to make sure you have reservations at Momma Lewis restaurant. She only takes reservations during the fest so if you want to come up and have a great meal or roll over from the big city and have real Indiana food, she’s always open. Well except for Sunday mornings, and other than Saturday am she’s closed for breakfast. But during the fest she is open 24 hours a day.



An Architecture Home Companion (AHHC)

The Real Story of Dead Man’s Cave Part IV

The newspaper ran a story the next day “mayor’s family sought and saved slaves” with most of the mayor’s story related word for word in the following story. It was all around town by the middle of the next day and the DNA tests were eagerly awaited.

Officials from the state police lab came to town and removed DNA samples from the bones (mostly seeking marrow). They ended up taking samples from way more bones then they would normally due to the number of bones, state of decay and the fact that they were all jumbled together.

Then the officials announced that it would be at least 6 months before we got results. There was a huge backlog at the lab and we were frankly near the bottom of the request chain.

You could hear the sound of the deflating rumor mill, sounded a lot like a balloon with all of its air let out slowly.



An Architecture Home Companion (AHHC)

The Law of planning

It seems that the founder of Lake Architectless had been an architect himself in a previous life. Or a life before he founded our fair city (and then of course snuck off with city funds and disappeared leaving the head cheerleader pregnant and his wife shocked and shamed).

The rumor of his “indiscretion” prior to founding our city was found in a diary he left with the former cheerleader now teenaged single mom. But that has no relevance to this story other than the fact that our great law was written by an architect.

And it reads…

At no time may the planning process suggested, leveraged or used for any project delay or alter the intent of the project. The concept of discovery, envisioning or other forms of data gathering prior to a project is expressly forbidden in all city projects. In the case of any dispute the mayor will decide the relevance of the project and the eventual solution and make the final determination.

We called it the LOP or Law of Planning. It was the most critical law and was applied to virtually every project we had in the city. Of course there were always exceptions. The last line was added by our second mayor. It gave the mayor absolute power related to all projects.



An Architecture Home Companion (AHHC)

The Real Story of Dead Man’s Cave Part III

“They were seeking runaway slaves to “capture” and either kill or return to their owners in the southern states.” The mayor continued. “they came from Georgia, and rolled through Kentucky to Indiana seeking slaves and trouble.” The mayor continued.

“It is a great family sadness that our family was involved in both sides of what happened next. We knew about the raiders because one of my great – great – great – great uncles was involved as a raider. His brother my great – great – great – great grandfather was involved in stopping them. I think we will find that the DNA of one of the bones will be a match to my DNA.”

The crowd was hushed. This was the biggest scandal in the town since the great ERP failure printed 4 checks for everyone in the city.



An Architecture Home Companion (AHHC)

The Real Story of Dead Man’s Cave Part II

“I wish to tell a dirty family secret” the mayor started at the meeting he called in the town council room (that was also the warehouse for the general store) “that has been kept secret in my family for nearly 150 years.”

That timeline put the mayor’s family secret right at the time of the Civil War (give or take 5 years) so we all leaned forward in our seats.

“You’ve all read about Morgan’s raiders.” That is an Indiana Legend. Morgan’s Raiders came out of Kentucky during the Civil War and harassed the good citizens of Indiana. The legend of the Raiders is maintained today as it is part of the legend that the bucket the raiders drank out of (and watered their horses with) is the bucket used as part of the traditional rivalry in the state (the Indiana University Purdue University Old Oaken Bucket game).

“There was another group of raiders who came much further north than Morgan’s Raiders.” The mayor continued, “and while Morgan’s raiders were trying to disrupt the people of Indiana as they went about their daily business, these other raiders were seeking something else.”



An Architecture Home Companion (AHHC)

The Real Story of Dead Man’s Cave part 1

Two weeks after we found the cave and the bones we got a call from Purdue University. Purdue is the other university in Indiana besides Notre Dame and Indiana University. But it was a pretty big deal that they called a bunch of kids at home and asked them about what they found.

A group of people came out the next week from campus and dug around in the cave carefully removing the bones. They found a lot of civil war gear at the same level as the bones and removed that as well. We were amazed to find out that in fact the bones in the cave were those of confederate soldiers.

That of course stopped the no cycle in town (thanks goodness – I was kind of over people randomly stopping me on the street and saying “no” to me for no apparent reason).

Suddenly the town was filled with stories from long lost family pasts. Stories of bravery and quiet heroism even from kids and families who had moved to the town in the last twenty years ago had stories from their families past that explained the dead soldiers.

My favorite story however came in a town meeting and was told by our new mayor at the town meeting he called.

That however is a story for another day.