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Winona History Center

Winona History Center

Winona Lake has a colorful past that represents the growth and history of midwest America. From its Chautauqua and Bible conference heritage to the home of evangelist Billy Sunday to its renaissance in recent decades, the history of Winona has much to offer.

The Winona History Center is located in the original Westminster Hotel, one of several hotels built to lodge the many guests that flocked to Winona Lake through the years. The west wing of the first floor, which houses the museum, was the location of the 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. It also features hundreds of artifacts and photographs telling of Winona’s ties to America’s cultural, educational, and religious heritage. In addition to the museum, the center offers tours of the Billy Sunday family home, and for researchers, the archives house thousands of documents, recordings, and letters from Winona’s rich past.

Our mission is to foster educational and scholarly interest in Winona’s heritage through the preservation and exhibition of historical collections and by inspiring a new generation to discover the treasures of American history. Visit us today!


Billy Sunday Home

During the early decades of the twentieth century, the energetic evangelist, Billy Sunday, was among the best known personalities in America. In 1911, Sunday moved his headquarters to Winona, where he and his wife, Helen, raised four children. Helen “Ma” Sunday outlived Billy and all their children, and before she died in 1957, she expressed her desire that the home remain untouched as a testament to the Sundays’ ministry. As a result, the Sunday residence has remained a virtual time capsule for more than half a century.


Current Exhibit: Youth for Christ Memorabilia

To commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of Youth for Christ, the Winona History Center has developed a display featuring Youth for Christ memorabilia from Winona Lake along with featured items about Billy Graham. The display includes vinyl records recorded at rallies in Winona Lake, a script from a live broadcast from the Billy Sunday Tabernacle of Billy Graham’s radio program Hour of Decision, and various documents and magazines from Youth for Christ. Highlights of the display are an award and sermon on a temporary loan from the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Field Trips

The Winona History Center and Billy Sunday Home offer field trips to public, private, and home-school groups. Download and fill out the form below to schedule your field trip and to receive classroom lesson plans correlated to Indiana social studies standards.


Pricing

  • Suggested donation for museum and archival visits: $2 for adults
  • Tours of the Sunday Home cost an additional $2 for adults.
  • (High school students and Grace College students are welcome to visit the museum and house free of charge with their student ID.)

Location & Times of Operation

  • The Winona History Center is located in Westminster Hall on the Grace College campus at 105 9th Street, Winona Lake, IN.
  • The Billy Sunday Home is located at 1111 Sunday Lane, Winona Lake, IN.
  • Hours: 2:00-5:00 on Tuesday – Friday; 1:00-5:00 on Saturday; closed Sundays and Mondays, on major holidays, and occasionally when the Grace College campus is closed.

Contact Information

Phone: (574) 372-5193
Email: winonamuseum@grace.edu
Address: Winona History Center, Grace College, 200 Seminary Drive, Winona Lake, IN 46590

Personnel

Dr. Mark Norris, Ph.D. – Museum Director
Karen Birt, M.A. – Museum Coordinator
Dr. Terry White, Ed.D. – Chief Docent


A History Degree from Grace

Christ’s life is an example to strive after, but we can be so eager to get busy that it’s easy to overlook the value of understanding others. Within this conviction lies the goal of Grace’s Department of History and Political Science – when students study the people and cultures in history, they develop keen understanding of the past. When they observe current events and analyze modern political and social climates, they gain competence in addressing culture and society in the present. As they prepare to enter the working world through engaging internships, they develop a service-minded attitude toward the future.