A German-speaking family moving from Pennsylvania or Ohio to Indiana would have had great difficulty finding a Lutheran church in the 1830s.
During the last century, a preacher named Billy emerged as a world-renowned evangelist. But it’s not the Billy one might imagine. As if predestined by his surname, Billy Sunday brought “old time religion” to an estimated 100 million people without the benefit of television or electric amplification. Sunday’s career was intertwined with that of Winona Lake, in Kosciusko County, a mecca of religious and cultural activity from the 1890s through the 1930s.
The turn-of-the-century phenomenon known as Chautauqua was uniquely American in its blend of religion and entertainment, politics and culture, and the bucolic enjoyment provided by the booming railroad industry. The Winona Lake Chautauqua was no exception.