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Snack Shack



The Snack Shack Stories

The Snack Shack was owned by Vernon and Opal Walburn from the 1920s to the early 1950s. It was a restaurant that sold "fast food" (in the days before McDonald’s) of hamburgers and ice cream and "ice cold soda pop." 
     There was a beach located in front of the Shack; that was part of the property. There were diving boards at the beach, as well as a toboggan slide. The slide was enormous; it extended above the roof of the Shack. The slider would climb two flights of stairs and slide down the slide on a toboggan. They would shoot out in the middle of Big Barbee Lake. 

    The dance hall was always crowded with local teenagers and young adults, and sometimes movies were shown there, free of charge. The Shack was located across the street and down the lane from the Tumble Inn. 
     Today, the area is filled with trailers, with a private beach at the end of the lane where the Shack used to be located.
          "The Snack Shack at the end of the lane"
Betty Sheridan
We had the Snack Shack down at the lake. We would go down there to dance, and we would really have a good time there. When the Shack was down there, there was just a few cottages, not too many, and there was a lot of empty spaces. You’d go right down the lane, and we had a dance hall at the end of the Shack and the jukebox (we’d call it a "capehart" music player) would play music, and we would have dances and sometimes on Friday nights, we’d have square dances there.
P.V. Sheridan:  I remember distinctly that jukebox having Glenn Miller on it.
Betty:  It had everyone on it, P.V.
P.V. :  It had pinball machines, and it had good hamburgers and those great big coolers that pop sat in.
Betty:  We had all kinds of ice cream; it really was the best ice cream. I used to make good ice cream cones; I could hold six of them in my hand. I did!
P.V.: You made good milkshakes, too.
Betty: I made better ones when Maimie Fritz wasn’t down there because she wouldn’t let me put all that ice cream in them. When she wasn’t down there, I’d make good ones.
P.V.: Who were the Fritz’s?
Betty: Well, they were in business with Dad. Fritz and Walburn. Then they had a falling out over that girl falling off the slide and getting hurt.

Betty Walburn (Sheridan) and Mary White (Brindle) outside of the Shack.  The back of this picture reads, "Miss Mary E. White, Warsaw, Indiana, Mary and Betty and Dog friend of ours."

Swimming in the Bathing Beach outside of the Shack.  The caption on the picture actually reads "Barbee Beach 1939" (even though it looks like "1929" on the scan).



Betty: We had a free movie on Sunday nights, and you couldn’t get up and down the lane. The movie would be projected down by the Shack, and we’d have an intermission so people could go buy ice cream cones. They [the movies] weren’t the best, but people didn’t care; people didn’t have money then; they could go see those movies for free. It was kind of fun. Sometimes they would show two movies: one by the Shack and one by the hotel.
P.V.: I remember when they also showed movies on the side of The Question Mark. They didn’t have a screen; they just projected them on the side of the building.


"Boat comes too near to slide"
Betty:  You had to carry up the sled up two flights of stairs to go down that slide. You had to put the sled on, and then you went down. You had to ring a bell when you were going down the slide, and the boats weren’t supposed to come in that far. The sled would go clear out in the water and it was fun. I went down the slide once, and I rang the bell. But this boat came in anyway, and I hit it, and I hurt my foot bad, but there was nothing I could do about it.



Teenagers frequently visited the Shack. Pictured here are Norma Clifford, Martha Jeanne Schrader, Ruthann Clifford, and Max Bodkins.

Children liked the Shack, too.


"Slide torn down because of accident"
Betty:  There was a girl who fell off the slide, but she didn’t die. She sued us for everything, and that’s why the slide was torn down. And that’s the truth.


"Snack Shack sold because of diving board accident"
P.V.:  There was a big dance hall at the end of the lane; it was called The Snack Shack. We owned that property as well; it was between two swamps. But it was a very popular dancing area; kids from all over would come to dance there on Friday and Saturday nights. It was sold by our family after a boy got hurt on the diving board that my grandpa owned. He broke his neck, they sued, we had to sell the property to pay off the law suit. Even though there were signs that said "Dive at your own risk" he did it anyway and broke his neck. That happened about 1951. He didn’t die; he was paralyzed. The Shack existed under other owners until about 1969, and I went there all the time. The slide was torn down, though, and the diving board was torn down. Mom worked there from about 1929 till it closed.

Another view of the Shack.

"Ghost of accident victim still haunts Shack site"
Bob Sheridan:  There used to be a slide up at the lakes. And there were all kinds of signs that said not to stand up on the sled, slide at your own risk, and so forth. Anyway, this girl got up on it, and she was going down the slide standing up, which was against the rules, and she didn’t have the sled on the slide right. She fell off and broke her neck and died. She screamed when she came down: "Aaaahhhh!!!---Boom!"
     There were two cottages on either side of the Shack. The slide was torn down, but for years people (who lived in the cottages) would swear that in the middle of the night, they would hear a sled going down the slide (which they didn’t even know existed), and a scream.

View more pictures of the Fabulous Snack Shack.
View pictures of Swimming and Boating in the lake.

View pictures of the Snack Shack site in November 1999.



Tumble Inn Home

Sunday, June 24, 2001