Thursday, February 21, 2013

Michigan City, Indiana is another city that figures prominently in the ribbon that weaves our family stories together. Michigan City is situated in northwestern Indiana about fifty miles east of Chicago and is included in the Chicago-Naperville-Michigan City combined statistical area.  It is on the shores of Lake Michigan and is served by the South Shore Line Electric Railroad.

In the 1860 Federal Census Oloff Hanson, my husband’s great-great grandfather, appears as a fisherman from Sweden.  He served in the Civil War from August 1862 until June 1865 as Volunteer of Company E 4th Regiment of the Indiana Calvary. He was married to Marie Hepke and they had eight children between 1860 and 1879.  All of the children were born in Michigan City.  By 1880 Olof had moved his family to Chicago, Illinois where his daughter Aurora would marry William Snyder and eventually establish Mrs. Snyder’s Candies.  Mrs. Snyders would become a Chicago candy Company in direct competition with Fannie Mae Candies.  The company was eventually sold in the 1960s.

In the 1900 Census Allen Green Wells Coan, my son-in-law’s great-grandfather, is raising his family of seven children in Michigan City.  Allen was a railroad conductor for the South Shore Raildroad after having served in the 4th Calvery in the Philippines during the Spanish American War.  His son Warren would move to Chicago where he would marry Charlotte Sigler and the would have a daughter Pamela who would marry John Krbec.  In 1966 John and Pam would adopt my son-in-law Scott.

At some point in the 1940s my uncle Jack Connery purchased a summer home in Long Beach, Indiana, just outside Michigan City.  He would name the cottage “Lazy Jane”.  Some family members said it was named after his wife.  I’m taking the 5th since I was not there.  Later he sold it to his sister Kathleen who re-named it the "Lady Jane".  Aunt Kathy kept the cottage and rented it only long enough each year to cover expenses.  She preferred to keep it available for the family to use.  My family went to the lake in August every year and enjoyed the cottage.  Dad worked on the house and yard while the children enjoyed the beach.  Usually our Murray cousins were just seven or eight houses down the beach babysitting the Hosty family children.
Donna, Patsy, Tommy with Kathie Hardie holding Paul

1860 Lake Shore Drive was  right next to Bus Stop 19.  That is how you gave directions, near bus stop xx.  The cottage didn’t look like it was very big but it could easily sleep eleven people and had two living rooms and two kitchens. 

  After the lake wiped out the downstairs, a second kitchen was added upstairs while the downstairs was rebuilt.  The upstairs living room had an awesome fireplace and days long monopoly games were played in the large room overlooking the lake.  This room ran the entire width of the house and had windows on three sides.  It was furnished with a double bed on each side and a single bed in the middle.  Monopoly was played either on the floor or on a round green wicker table that had a Tiffany lamp on top. The lake was right outside the back door.