New Book Details History of Winona Lake

Stroll the streets of the charming village of Winona Lake, Ind. Its tidy homes and quaint shops belie the fact that many life-changing Christian movements are rooted in this northeastern Indiana town.

Rev. Sol Dickey envisioned a sort of religious Chautauqua and invited luminaries such as William Jennings Bryan to speak in Winona Lake. Baseball-player-turned-evangelist Billy Sunday made his home in Winona Lake. It became the home of a world-renowned Bible conference, the place where Youth for Christ was founded, and the site of the prayer meeting that began Billy Graham’s evangelistic ministry. Christian ministries made their headquarters in Winona Lake, including Grace College, numerous offices related to the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, the Oriental Missionary Society (OMS), the Association for Jewish Evangelism, Ken Anderson Films, and many others.

These stories and more are detailed in a new book, Winona at 100: Third Wave Rising, The Remarkable History of Winona Lake, Indiana.

Written by Terry White with Steve Grill and published by Winona Lake-based BMH Books, Winona at 100 details each wave of development over the last 100 years. It includes new information, unearthed stories, and recent developments since the last attempt at a definitive history of the town was published 53 years ago—in 1960—by Vincent H. Gaddis and Jasper A. Huffman.

Winona at 100 begins with the first wave in 1881, before the town’s incorporation. It skillfully traces the community’s history through Spring Fountain Park and the religious Chautauqua programs that drew thousands in the early 1900s to its second-wave popularity as the home of the world’s largest Bible conference, the founding place of Youth for Christ, the launching pad for Billy Graham’s ministry, the home of baseball evangelist Billy Sunday and his songleader/publisher Homer Rodeheaver, and much more.

Now, in its third-wave rising, Winona is once again a beehive of activity through Grace College and Seminary, MasterWorks cultural festivals, the emergence of the Village at Winona with its many shops, world-class restaurants, and more.

Woven throughout the book are many little-known anecdotes—from two who have lived in, and loved, Winona Lake for many years. This centennial history celebrates the unique town that was incorporated on June 2, 1913, and has had worldwide impact.

Author Terry D. White, Ed. D., entered Grace College as a freshman the fall of 1960 and lived and worked in Winona Lake until 1977. He served in town government, held multiple positions at Grace College and Seminary, was board chair of his local church, and owned a number of local businesses. After being employed in Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., he returned in 2003 to re-vitalize and direct the Brethren Missionary Herald Co. and BMH Books. He is married to the former Sharon Auxt, and they are the parents of two adult children (one deceased).

Collaborator Steve Grill, Ed. D., is dean of The School of Adult and Community Education at Grace College. He is a 1970 graduate (magna cum laude) of Grace College, where he taught for for 17 years, then served as the Director of Ivy Tech State Community College/ Warsaw for 12 years before returning to Grace in 1999. Dr. Grill moderated the Kosciusko Leadership Academy for 25 years. He was a founding member of The Winona Lake Historical Society and he launched The Reneker Museum of Winona History in 2000 serving as its only director. His wife, Susan, is an interior designer and was a long-time Winona Lake shop owner.

The book is available at bmhbooks.com and amazon.com, or may be ordered from your local bookstore. The ISBN number for the print book is 978-0-88469-284-3. It is also available as an e-book in the Kindle, Nook, iBook, and Kobo formats. The ISBN for for digital book is 978-0-88469-291-1.

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