Society of Ogden Dunes October
4, 2009 11:00
a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Dunes, from its founding in 1925, has attracted and nurtured artists. The dunes, the lake and the many varieties of
trees and flora provide an environment that continues to stimulate the creative
imagination. Many of these artists
established studios in their duneland homes.
the years these artists have been involved with state, regional and local art
associations and galleries. The highly
respected Hoosier Salon between the 1920s and 1970s invited a number of artists
from Ogden Dunes to be part of their annual juried shows with many of these
winning awards. Among those selected
were Olive Hess Skemp (1937), Lorene K. Fagerburg (1954, 1955, 1961), Melvin T.
Miller (1966, 1967), Arlene Seitzinger Miller (1967, 1971, 1975), Lester W.
Gallagher (6 times between 1961 and 1971), and Jet Wittenberg (1977).
Historical Society of Ogden Dunes is proud to sponsor this house/studio walk to
highlight the work of nine local artists and their creative environments. Many designed their studios at the time they
were building their homes; others have redesigned the homes to incorporate
their studios and/or art collections.
Some of these homes are exceptional examples of the architecture of the
Historical Society was formed in 1990 to collect, preserve and disseminate the
history of the community, including its long tradition as a haven for
artists. Sue Mechtersheimer’s gift in
1992 of the “The Hour Glass”, built in 1933 by O.D. and Tillie Frank, is now
the Society’s home and its museum. The
museum includes a permanent exhibit of the work of local artists. Note:
“The Hour Glass” at 8 Lupine Lane serves as an information and refreshment
center for the tour and includes an exhibit of its art collection.
of Ogden Dunes
Reck and his partners in Ogden Dunes Realty envisioned their new town as an upscale,
“highly restricted” residential and recreational community. A copy of the 1920s sales brochure shows
hundreds of building lots, plus a school, golf course, riding stables, and
yacht harbor along the mouth of the recently opened Burns Canal. Stimulating this dream was the easy access
to and growing interest in the natural beauty of the dunes. The South Shore and New York Central
railroads provided passenger service, and the opening of U.S. 12 made it possible
to commute by auto to the Chicago area.
1927 and 1932 the Ogden Dunes Ski Club, with membership primarily Norwegians
from Chicago, operated what was said to be the highest man-made ski jump in
North America. It was built on top of a
large dune that ended in today’s Kratz Field. By
1930, even with the ski jump, Ogden Dunes Realty struggled to develop the
town. Of the 32 homes built or under
construction in April 1930, only 14 were occupied by full-time residents. The 1930 census listed 40 adults and 10
children. The Depression and the lack
of snow doomed the ski jump. The ski
club held its last international competition in 1932; three years later the
steel structure was dismantled and removed.
1939, nearly one hundred homes and cottages had been built in Ogden Dunes, with
more than half being second homes or summer cottages. That year, not far from “The Hour Glass” the
John Kuhns family built a new home at 44
Cedar Trail. It is the oldest
house/studio on the tour. Since 1998,
this home is artist Jack Simmerling’s home
away from home.
1940 Census listed 144 residents in Ogden Dunes. Although the Great Depression ended in the
late 1930s, World War II postponed further development of Ogden Dunes. With the ending of the war and the return to
normalcy, the Ogden Dunes Realty Company developed the area east of Ogden
Road. Two of the homes/studios on the
walk are located in this area, John
David Machuca’s 1 Skyline Drive (1947) and John Petrou’s 10 Ogden Road (1963). This subdivision led to Ogden Dunes becoming a residential, rather than a resort, community. By 1950 the community’s population had
increased to 429.
1950s brought continued expansion as another subdivision was platted, the area
along Diana Road from Hillcrest to Shore Drive. Drawing on the recommendations of a
nationally recognized community development firm, J.C. Nichols of Kansas City,
Nelson Reck of Ogden Dunes Realty and the Town Board did much to protect the
natural terrain. Lots were large and
linked to the rest of the community by long, graceful curving roads. Six of the
homes/studios were built in or near this area:
Shore Drive, built in 1959, by owner/contractor Leslie Combs, today the
home of artist Vickie Combs * 141
Shore Drive, built in 1949, designed as a cottage by a Chicago architect, today the home of weaver Manda Kazmier
Sunset Trail, 1962, built by current owners, continues to be the home and
studio of Jet Wittenberg
Diana Road, 1955, built by Midwest Steel for its CEO, today the home and studio
of Jean Bargeron
Summit Road, 1957, built by owner/contractor, A. L. Gerometta, today the
home of art wear designer, Marie Englehart
Ski Hill Road, 1963, designed by and home/studio of Lee Hibbs
1950s brought not only the building of homes and an extension of roads, but
also the creation of community organizations.
Dorothy Buell, who lived at 17 Cedar Court, organized the first meeting
in her home of the Save the Dunes Council in 1952. Buell and others were committed to protect
the dunes and the lake front from the proposed expansion of the steel industry
in northwest Indiana and the construction of a deepwater port. It took the Council six years to have a bill introduced
in Congress to create the national park and fourteen years for the bill to
become law. To achieve the national park
required significant compromise, that is, the acceptance of a port and mills
living side-by-side with the park.
April 12, 1953 the Ogden Dunes Community (Presbyterian) Church held its first
service at the Fire House. Five years
later construction of the present church began. Also as a sign of the community coming of
age, Nelson Reck, the son of the founder of Ogden Dunes Realty, and the town
leaders established the Ogden Dunes Home Owners Association in 1957. Reck then transferred ownership of the beach
front, parks and nature preserves to this newly created entity.
1960 and 1970 the population increased from 947 to 1,440. The population growth was stimulated by the
opening of the Indiana Toll Road in 1956 and the coming of public
utilities. Gas lines were laid in 1960,
followed by water lines in 1961. Since
1970, the population and the number of homes have stabilized. Today, the population is around 1,300 with
approximately 600 homes in the community.
The Artist Jack Simmerling
44 Cedar Trail: Studio Jack Simmerling
Jack Simmerling, a well-known Chicago artist,
preservationist and historian, owns Heritage Gallery in Chicago. He and his wife Marge divide their time
between his historically significant twenty-room mansion in Morgan Park and his
Cedar Trail home in Ogden Dunes.
in Blue Island, Jack Simmerling started sketching and photographing the
architecture of Chicago while still in grade school. His interest in preservation grew from his
experience working as a laborer during the summers for a company involved in
the demolition and salvaging artifacts from a number of magnificent Chicago
mansions. Since that time he has been
committed to preserve what remains of Chicago’s architectural past. After graduating from Notre Dame with a
B.F.A., he was blessed with the opportunity to pursue both his art and his
commitment to preserve Chicago’s past.
over sixty years, Jack has celebrated Chicago’s architecture and neighborhoods
through hundreds of pen and ink drawings and water-color paintings. His work has appeared in Tanglewood Music
Festival programs, Lexus advertisements, and books documenting Chicago’s
architectural history. He regularly
contributes his art to local community groups for calendars, note cards, and
posters. A number of his prints and his
water color of “The Hour Glass” are in the Historical Society’s collection.
the opening of a 2006 exhibit of his work, “Chicago’s Storyteller in Pen, Ink
and Watercolor”, at St. Xavier University, Jack said, “I feel compelled to
convey a story or message. It might be
about a long-lost Chicago landmark, a peaceful afternoon in the dunes of Lake
Michigan, or a street in small-town America.”
He describes himself as a “romantic realist.” In depicting his subjects, he does so in a
way that the viewer can share his personal experience. “Without emotions, you are only filling
spaces, not creating art for those spaces.”
For his many accomplishments as an artist, historian, preservationist
and committed citizen, he has received the Lauck Award from the University of
Notre Dame and an honorary doctorate from Saint Xavier University.
and Marge have six children. Their
daughter Meg is an artist who works in the Heritage Gallery. The Gallery is located at 1915 W. 103rd
St., Chicago. See also his website, http://www.simmerling.com.
The Artist Jon David Machuca
1 Skyline Drive: Home Jon David Machuca
1 Skyline Drive: Home Jon David Machuca
David Machuca creates art from all that he sees. On this studio walk one will see his art
reflected in his paintings, portraits, prints, and his pen and ink and charcoal
drawings. But more impressively on
visiting the Machuca home and studio, one comes away with a sense of having
experienced art. This is reflected in
the way Jon has laid the old Chicago Canal Street cobblestones and paving
bricks that lead you on a curving path to the home; how he uses various shades
of the same color to bring the rooms of the home to life; how he has extended
the architectural characteristics of the original house; and how the dunes, the
flora, and the oak forest become one with the home and studio.
his retirement as an art teacher and administrator from the East Chicago Public
School System, Jon is now able to devote full time to his art. He had earlier established a reputation as an
artist with his lithographs. His “Sport
Series” limited edition lithographs are very popular. In describing his style and technique, Jon
wrote, “I feel that each object has a history, a life of its own, and it is my
responsibility to render it in a way that the observer can sense a personal
relationship with the object.” Among his
recent projects are the the logo design for a resort in Fiji and finishing a
1 Skyline Drive: Studio Jon David Machuca
The Home and
May 1947 issue of the The Ogden DunesSandpiper, the occasional community newsletter,reported that the Lloyd Maxwells and two other families “are
pioneers in the recently opened Skyline area, which overlooks a great sweep of
Lake Michigan and much of the surrounding country.” The Maxwell’s new, impressive home on 1
Skyline Drive, cannot be seen from the road.
It is one of the first of many Ogden Dunes’ homes that were designed by the
late Frederic Collins, a long-time resident of Ogden Dunes.
current owners, Jon David and Joan Machuca, describe their reaction to the home
in an article that appeared in Shore
Magazine in January 2009. Jon
recalls their visit to the home twenty-four years ago when it was on the market. As he peered “through the window of the
ahead-of-its-time cement block and glass home, he was looking straight through
to the dunes on the other side …” He said to his wife, “Joan, this is where I
want to live.”
addition to his creative additions to the Collins home, he also designed the new
garage/studio that sits along Skyline Drive.
Jon’s curving path leads from his studio along the dune to the house,
decks and patios. With just enough wall
to hold up the house, the glass windows in every room insure that the panoramic
views “of stunning landscape” are the same whether you are inside or
the path one finds a “sculpture fence – copper tubing with colored glass
toppers. … [and] is shaped to echo the undulating dunes.” Many plantings, including the wild ginger and
blood wort, along this and other paths are indigenous, thus less likely to be
eaten by deer.
the fork of the path stay right to the lower level great room. The great room, recently added and designed
by the Machucas, replaced a smaller glassed-three season room. The great room and the kitchen/dining areas
come alive through the texture of the walls, the use of color, and the large
windows to the east and west that open up the oak forest and the deep
ravines. Note the artistic chess set and
table that Jon created using tinker toys and wooden spools. This level originally provided only limited
living space, serving primarily as a furnace and laundry room. The laundry room was on the east side and was
closed off by folding doors. The patio off
the great room has also been greatly expanded.
one goes up the stairs to the second level, note the small ¾ bath, on the right. It is another creative addition. At the top of the stairs please take time to
read the framed articles about the house over time (taken from the Gary Post-Tribune, American Home, the Lake
Magazine and, most recently, the Shore
Magazine). This level was the main
living area. The large windows to the
east and west linked the outside to the dining/living room. The living room has an impressive fireplace
made of polished cobblestones from another old Chicago street. Off
the dining area was a small kitchen; it is now a fancy bar.
next stop is up the half stairway to the master bedroom, originally two small
bedrooms with separate doors to the south patio. The bathroom is also recently designed. Note the patterns of the tile and the use of
color. The full-length mirror in the hallway is
framed by the use of color that creates a shadow effect of the mirror. The large bedroom now has a 270 degree view
of the dunes. The sloping roof, original
to the house, creates almost a cathedral ceiling. Collins used this technique in a number of
his homes. The bedroom opens up to a large
southern patio. This provides great
views, even of the lake to the northeast.
The plantings and the paving stones provide a sense of serenity and
security. The spacious deck on the west
side of the home is built on the roof of the great room. The careful selection of deck furniture,
pillows, flowers and natural plantings reinforce the sense of serenity and
path on the east side leads down to a lower level deck. Again one is impressed by the plantings and
built-in deck seating. The views of the
lake to the northeast are particularly spectacular. The path then leads back to the studio. On entering the studio one is impressed with
the large windows to the east and south.
The windows follow the pattern of the windows in the home, as does the upward
sloping roof that extends over the garage to the west.
studio looks like a garage along Skyline, but opens to the same views that one
sees from the house. The walls on the
east and south are all glass, opening onto a wrap-around deck that overlooks a
30-foot ravine. Looking out, you become
part of nature; looking in, you see his lithographs and paintings “all washed in
natural light.” [quote from “External
Masterpiece” by Julie Kesslerin Shore Magazine, January 24, 2009]
lighting in the studio, as well as all through the home, is designed by Jon to
draw attention to the little creative details that characterize the living and
work space. Within the studio, one
finds examples of Jon’s artistic talent, both completed and in progress. The portraits and his painting of the steel
mills are impressive. One sees examples
of his lithographs from his Sports Series and an article on his award as “best”
of show for his artistic creation of the Crown Point “Bull Dog”.
home reflects the artistic talent of both Jon Machuca and the late Fred
Collins. Architect Fredric Collins was
introduced to Ogden Dunes by Kathryn Monahan, whom he married in 1944. His courting of Kathryn led to his lifelong love
affair with the Indiana dunes. Between
1945 and 1949 seven of the homes that he designed were built in Ogden
Dunes. All are different, yet all share
the common characteristic of becoming part of their landscape. This is especially evident in the Machuca
home. It was designed to sit at the top
of a narrow dune that runs north to south from Skyline Drive and to provide panoramic
views of dunes and oak forests.
Fred Collins’ architectural firm came to be known for its large commercial and
public projects in northwest Indiana, Fred continued to do limited residential
work, primarily for friends and neighbors.
His contributions to Ogden Dunes, which span six decades, include fifteen
original homes, 16 major additions or redesigns, and an addition to the
Community Church. On his retirement in
the 1990s, Fred returned to his first love, being an artist. In October 2005, the year that he died, the
Historical Society’s “The Hour Glass” museum mounted a major exhibit of
Collins’ architectural work and his art.
Ogden Road: Home & Studio John
John Petrou family moved into a new home at 10 Ogden Road in 1962. It is a bi-level home with an English
basement. His own and other pieces of
art complement the living space. The
large limestone fireplace gives character to the living room.
this home, John, a social studies teacher, administrator and coach in the Gary
School System, and his wife raised their family and became part of the
community. John was a major contributor
to the success enjoyed by Ogden Dunes soccer teams through the seventies. [Dee-Jay and Tom were in 2nd and
1st grade in 1969]
John, now a retired teacher/administrator, is extending his artistic
skills. He works primarily in oils and
acrylics on canvas. In a 2006 exhibit of
“Artists of the Dunes” at “The Hour Glass”, John showed his oil painting,
“Beached”, and his acrylic work, “Seven Maidens”. The latter reflects his interest in his Greek heritage. He also does smaller pieces, such as painted
Christmas tree ornaments.
Shore Drive: Home & Studio Vickie Combs
138 Shore Drive: Home & Studio Vickie Combs
Combs is, by profession, a registered nurse and, by avocation, an artist specializing
in glass. About ten years ago, when she
was taking time off from nursing to care for her young family, she was
attracted to the beauty of glass. This
led her to working with a stain-glass artist in Miller. By trial and error she has perfected her technique
and her art. Today her art work includes
jewelry, vases, plates and some three-dimensional stain glass creations.
works primarily with fusible glass. She
begins by cutting, at least, two fusible panes of glass into the shapes that she
desires. It is a three-day process. The
first day the glass is melted, i.e., fused, in her kiln. On the second day it is heated or shaped in
the kiln by placing it over a mold.
After it cools on the third day in the kiln, she polishes it. Her work, with its shapes and colors, also
reflects her home and studio. Both are
filled with vibrant colors and geometrical and flowing shapes.
Vickie Combs Studio
Home and Studio
and Lytta-Jean Combs built their new home on the western end of the Shore Drive
in 1959, joining a number of other young Gary couples who were building homes on
large lots on the lake or on dunes overlooking the lake. The Combs enrolled their children in the
Portage schools, including their youngest James who was in 1st
grade. A few houses west Fred Collins was
designing a number of high-end homes, including his own. Combs, a Gary contractor and developer, built
a number of large commercial and public buildings, many of which were designed
by Collins. In 1990, the elder Combs
sold their home to their son Jim and his wife Vickie. Built in a dune, the original home was
one-story off Shore Drive and two-story when it opened to the lake shore. The living room is a two-story cube with a
full glass wall facing the lake.
Jim and Vickie completed a major addition and redesign of the original
home. They replaced the breezeway and
court yard that separated the house from the garage with a two-story addition
that also extends over part of the original home. They also added a four-season room of the
shore side of the house.
front door opens into a large hallway.
On the left is the newly remodeled kitchen. The north side of the kitchen opens into an
enclosed patio. To the right is a
hallway that leads to bedrooms on the left and a game room on the right. Along the hallway hang three panoramic photos
taken by Jim when he was young. The game
room opens into the large new addition, a two-story great room, lighted by high
large windows. The textured west wall
is especially impressive; the south wall has a nice entertainment center. Sliding mahogany and glass doors can close off
this room from the rest of the house.
The modernistic stairs lead up to a balcony overlooking the room. The east side of the balcony opens into the master
bedroom suite that includes an office, a master bath with impressive lake
views, and master bedroom with its own elevator to the lower level.
west side of the balcony opens into Vickie’s studio that contains her kiln,
saws, work area and supplies. It also
doubles, at times, as a laundry room with a small washer/dryer. The
studio has large windows that provide light and a western view of the
returning to the main floor, one goes down the stairs to the living room. A large,
two-story fire place takes up most of the east wall. On the south wall is a portrait of one of Jim
and Vickie’s sons, painted by Jean Bargeron, whose studio is also on the
tour. To the right of the living room are
a second kitchen and game area. The area
opens into the new “four-season” room with its fire place. In turn, this room opens onto the patio and
yard that contains a small swimming pool.
with other homes in Ogden Dunes, the street side view gives an impression of a
rather small house. Instead we find a
large, spacious, modern home that also provides a very comfortable living space
for a family with two active pre-teen sons, as well as two busy and large
141 Shore Drive: Home & Studio Manda Kazmier
Manda Kazmier Home
her retirement as a French teacher in 2002, Manda Kazmier has become a serious
and respected weaver. Although Manda’s
immigrant mother was a weaver, Manda, who inherited her talent, did not begin
weaving until she retired. On
retirement, she joined the Chesterton Weaver’s guild and began to take lessons
to develop her art. Since that time,
she has become a recognized weaver. She
participates annually in the School House Art Fair. In the 2006 exhibit, sponsored by the
Historical Society, Manda exhibited a woven blanket and a lady’s scarf. More recently Manda was one of 28 artists
selected to participate in a juried exhibit “Interwoven Expressions” at the
Aberdeen Art Fair. This year she exhibited
at the Portage Public Library, the Tall Tree Arboretum, near Valparaiso, and
the Parkinson’s Symposium.
prefers to work with natural yarn, especially alpaca and merino wool and
silk. One loom lends itself to the
woolen yarn, while the other is used to create more intricate patterns. Her work includes blankets, scarves, coats,
sweaters, and even purses.
Manda Kazmier Studio
The Home and
and Manda Kazmier moved into 141 Shore Drive in April 1969, buying the Phillips
cottage. At that time, Hank was an Associate
Professor in the Chicago City colleges. Manda taught French at Evergreen Park High
School. It was in this home that they raised their four children.
and Alton Phillips in 1949 hired a Chicago architect, to design a summer
cottage on a lot near the western end of Shore Drive. It had a two-story southern exposure, overlooking
a steep ravine, overgrown with cotton wood trees, and a one-story front along
Shore Drive. It is a concrete block structure
with a raised ceiling in the living room.
On the street level, the cottage had a living area with a fireplace and
one bedroom; on the lower level is a bedroom and a family room that opened into
1969, Manda and Hank have almost continuously expanded their home and the
gardens that surround the house. Hank is
an active and creative gardener. They
added a fourteen-foot addition across the south side of the home. This added a second bedroom on the
street-level and greatly expanded the living room that opens the view to the
dunes and woods. One should note the
impressive collection of art that is found throughout the home, especially
Manda’s painting above the fireplace. As
one moves to the stairs, look for the interesting piece, “Molve” by Djukin, a
Croatian native painter; it is painted on the back of the glass.
the lower level is a large family room and to the left, another bedroom that is
now Manda’s weaving studio. The studio
contains one of her looms and her art in progress. A second loom will also be displayed. Also in the family room are other examples of
the family’s art collection. On exiting
the home, one will move to the enclosed porch, with a cathedral ceiling and a
large brick grill/fireplace. Examples of
Manda’s are exhibited on the porch; some are for sale. The porch opens up to the beautiful gardens,
steep ravine, and sculpture pieces, including a marble remnant, now a work of
art, from Marble, Colorado. See also the
bronze sculpture, “Vestal”, by Ivan Mestrovic, who had been artist in residence
at the University of Notre Dame. The
Kazmiers have also added the breezeway, two-car garage, a mansard roof, and a
will then exit up the stairs to the breezeway where one entered. In the breezeway is a woodcarving, a family
commemoration chapel. The Kazmiers commissioned
Jurgis Daugvila to do this piece. He is
a highly respected Lithuanian sculptor who lives in Beverly Shores. Although not opened to the tour there is also
a circular stairway that takes one to the roof to look out over the lake and
the wonderful gardens in front and the rear of the home.
Sunset Trail: Home & Studio Jet
Jet Wittenberg Home
(Jeanette) A. Wittenberg is a long established and highly respected Ogden Dunes
artist. Jet believes that living in
the dunes and near the lake “provides her unlimited opportunities to study
[nature’s] changing moods and color.”
work has been described as reflecting vibrant enthusiasm and sensitivity and is
rich in its versatility. The paintings
“reflect the intimate familiarity, feelings and sensitivity that she has with
nature, flowers and children… Her colorful scenes capture the beauty and
serenity of nature.” In an article in The Vidette-Messenger, Jet shared her
love for art, “An artist has to really paint what’s in [their] heart … to love
what [one does].”
Indiana dunes, the subject of many of her earlier works, continue to draw her
back. She has returned often to her
beloved dunes for inspiration and satisfaction. Two of her duneland prints are
in the Historical Society’s art collection, “Winter Wonderland” and “Children
on the Beach.”
Jet works primarily in oils, she continues to do water colors. In recent years the photos, sketches and
memories from family travels provide Jet an unlimited reservoir for subjects
for her paintings. The themes of her
paintings range from images taken from her backyard garden to scenes of the
European countryside to large canvases of animals of eastern Africa. A recent and exciting project involving Jet
and her husband Ken is a series of children’s books on young animals of
Africa. The first, Orphans of the Jungle, was published in 2008; the second is on the
drawing board with the completion date scheduled for late autumn.
A number of galleries have or are handling her
art work, including Image Station Art on Maui, DeBouver Fine Arts Gallery, and
Masterpiece Gallery of Indianapolis.
She has participated in over a hundred juried and one-person art
shows. In the 1970s, she was invited to
exhibit in the annual show of the Hoosier Salon. At the time, this was quite an honor for a
Jet Wittenberg Painting
The House and
1962 Jet and Ken Wittenberg contracted with an Ogden Dunes builder, Robert
Bjork, to build their home on Sunset Trail.
They designed the house to be a nurturing home for their family of three
young sons and to provide a creative environment for Jet to paint. Over time the home, with its views of the dunes
and the lake to the northwest and a lovely backyard, has provided Jet with the
stimulation to keep her artistic talents fresh and dynamic.
large first floor of their home has become a gallery highlighting her
work. On entering the foyer, one sees
her large canvases in the den to the left and in the living room to the
right. Her work is also on the stairway
to her second floor studio. The studio
with southeastern exposure overlooks the family’s beautiful flower garden and
the duneland woods. Retracing your
steps, you enter the large den. Most of
the work, large canvases of the great animals of Africa, is permanently
displayed. As you leave the den, go
down to the lower level to view many of her oils and water colors. The themes in her work include the dunes,
gardens, and European cottages. What is
especially fascinating are the drawings that gave rise to what is becoming a
series of children's books on African animals.
Diana Road: Studio (to
enter the studio, walk up the driveway south of the home, then go through the
garden in the rear) Jean
Jean Bargeron House
Bargeron, a well-known landscape artist and an accomplished portraitist, works
primarily in oils, though she still works occasionally in water-color and
pencil. Her experience and background in
business, photography, and travel have broadened her artistic talent and make
her work unique. Though primarily
self-taught, she has been doing art since she was a child. Her Irish-American grandmother gave her the
encouragement and support to develop her natural artistic talent. Following college and marriage she began to
do art in order to earn Christmas money.
Walt, her husband, was completing his doctorate at the University of
Michigan and she was caring for their two young children. She next became involved in a fledging art
guild in Hamburg, New York. This
ultimately led to a job doing free lance work for a publishing company. A few years later Jean was hired to direct
the art and design department for a local newspaper.
time, Jean perfected her use of color. She
continues to learn, to teach, and to do art.
Capturing the moment is what drives her work. She seeks to portray human
nature and the joy of life. Clients and
other artists agree that
her paintings vibrate with
color and motion. She especially enjoys
working with families who ask her to do portraits.
Lake Street Gallery in Miller exhibits her work. Many of these pieces reflect her month-long
stay as a solitary artist in a small cottage in County Wexford, Ireland in 2005. She had prepared for her Irish experience by
taking on a shorter excursion to New England a few years earlier. In Ireland she drove to a different site to
capture the magic of the Irish countryside.
Jean wrote of her stay in Ireland, “[the work] is very earthy and filled
with ‘Lemon Light’ as was my daily life.
That was the color that so often finished the day and so burst through
after a rain storm. …. There is a story
behind each of my pieces and I’ll happily relate it to you.”
acceptance in Ireland is reflected by being asked to show a piece of art at the
‘Portrait of Ireland 2005’ show.” She has also exhibited with the Northern
Indiana Arts Association, as well as the Lake Street Gallery in Miller. Her art may also be accessed through www.jbdunes.com.
enter the studio, one walks up the drive of her home at 51 Diana Road and through the beautiful garden at the rear of
the home. The door on the left side of
the garden opens into a large spacious room that has been turned into a
gallery, exhibiting many of her paintings.
Her studio is to the right of the gallery. There one can experience an artist at
work. It is a real studio, paints
everywhere, sketches on drafting tables, and pretzels to get the artist through
to the next meal. Jean has three easels,
two of which are almost always in use, holding works in progress. Much of her work draws upon photos and sketches
from her clients or from her travels. The
studio itself opens into a large, well maintained garden. Thus, she combines her two passions, art and
gardening. So on most days one finds Jean either at work in her studio or her
the home is not open for the house walk, it is itself impressive. The home is a
large ranch, sited on top of a dune, overlooking the lake and the western
dunes. Midwest Steel built this home in
the late 1950s as a residence for its president. Later Midwest Steel sold it. In 1996 Jean and Walt Bargeron became the 3rd
or 4th non-Midwest Steel owner.
Bargerons moved to Ogden Dunes with Walt’s transfer by Bethlehem Steel. After his retirement, they decided to remain
in Ogden Dunes. It has become home. Since their arrival both have been active in
the community; Walt served on the Town Council and Jean has served as president
of the Women’s Club.
Summit Road: Home & Studio Marie
Marie Englehart Home
Englehart lives art. This is reflected
in her own work but especially in her home that is filled with art, especially
art of indigenous people and the work of artists who have influenced her. Growing up in a home with a mother who was a
home economics teacher, she and her sister began sewing and creating clothing
almost from the time they entered 1st grade. It was natural for Marie to pursue art when
she entered college. She graduated with
a degree in ceramic art and art education.
Currently she teaches in the Duneland School District.
with most artists, she has worked with various materials and in many
mediums. Beginning with ceramics and
pottery, she later became an award winning weaver. In the 1990s, Marie and a friend, a clothing
designer, formed a business to create “wearable art” that was sold through the
Apparel Center in Chicago and elsewhere.
working alone, Marie Englehart uses a process called discharge. She starts with a
solid dark fabric. Then she sprays
diluted bleach through templates onto the fabric, thus removing varying
amounts of the dye to produce surface designs.
From this fabric, she creates women’s “wearable art”. Her colors and the textures of the fabric,
combined with antique lace, results in one of a kind “wearable art.” Examples of her work (coats, jackets,
dresses, scarves) are displayed in her studio/sales room.
the many intriguing aspects about Marie, her work and her home, is her
collection of art by earlier artists of the dunes. It is almost a museum honoring the work of
Dorothy Ives, Arlene Seitzinger Miller, and Kathy Kinney. Marie shows her respect for those who have
gone before and who have influenced her.
The Home and
home at 8 Summit Road is one of the first developed on a ridge of the highest
dunes in Ogden Dunes. Nancy and Arthur
L. Gerometta, a vice president of Gerometta Construction of Gary commissioned
architect Joseph Martin of Gary to design the home in 1957. The home sits on a dune that had deep
ravines to the west and south. As with
many homes in Ogden Dunes, the lower level is built into the dune, providing
magnificent views of surrounding dunes and Lake Michigan from both the lower
and upper levels.
enter the home, one passes by her well-designed, natural garden. In the foyer one immediately is struck by
the magnificent northern view and the large plaster and lace sculpture, “The
Oracle of Legal Corruption”, by Dorothy Ives.
You are surrounded by well-placed works of indigenous artists from
throughout the world and quite interesting furniture art. Note especially the painted rebuilt antique
hutches and the fascinating iron work-sofa in the living room and the iron
bedstead in the master bedroom. The iron
work, made by a local artist, represents cattails and native grasses. A large “Tie Wall Hanging”, Marie’s work in
progress, is on the stairway to the lower level.
the hallway to the right and view the painted hutch, the art and the fabric
used in the bedrooms and bathroom. The
hallway is lit by a recently redone skylight.
Next you will enter the art-filled living room that overlooks a natural
garden, highlighted by two sculptured birds.
Among the impressive pieces are examples of Marie’s pottery pieces that
expressed opposition to war, tea tables painted by Arlene Seitzinger Miller,
and a number of Ives’ work.
next stop is the lower level with a large, comfortable room that looks out into
the garden and views of the western ravine.
Above the fire place is another example of Dorothy Ives’ work. In this room additional art work from Marie’s
collection is displayed.
returning to the first floor one enters her studio/display room. Originally a three-season room surrounded by
duneland flora, today it is a nurturing work space for Marie’s creativity. Here one can examine and, if one wishes,
purchase her creations. A wide range of
“wearable art” is available.
leaves 8 Summit, also known as the Gerometta* home to long-time Ogden Dunes
residents, with a greater appreciation for the wide-range of art that is
created by our neighbors and a greater sense of the history of our community
and its people.
Gerometta, born in Gary, first attended the University of Illinois on a football
scholarship in 1942. Following
acceptance into West Point, he played on three national championship football teams,
1944-1946. As an officer in the Korean
War, he was wounded in 1951. As a result
of his leadership and bravery, he received the Silver Star and the Purple
Heart. After coaching and teaching at
West Point, he returned to Gary in 1954 to join the family’s construction
business. He and his wife Nancy moved temporarily
into a home in Ogden Dunes, at 68 Ogden Road, joining his brother Robert and
his sister Jean who had built homes on Aspen in the early 1950s. It was in their Summit home, they raised
three sons. After Art’s death in 2000,
his wife Nancy sold the family home on Summit.
Marie Englehart Studio
Ski Hill Road: Home & Studio Lee
Lee Hibbs Home
The Artist: Lee
Hibbs manifests her artistic and creative abilities in many ways. She is an accomplished flutist, a gardener, a
photographer, a painter and a former teacher.
She was raised in a home that appreciated art and music. Lee received a music scholarship to attend
Indiana University. On graduation, she
became a teacher and symphony flutist.
an artist, Lee prides herself on her ability to work in many mediums, from
water colors to prints to photography.
She is also an organizer. For
years she has been active with the Chesterton Art Center and the Chesterton Art
Fair. She also has participated
regularly in art shows throughout northwestern Indiana. For many years Lee served as a board member of
the Association of Artists and Craftsmen of Porter County. Her involvement in the community included
chairing the Ogden Dunes Women’s Club Art Fair, maintaining the Church gardens
and building, and hand painting dunes scenes on a thousand Christmas ornaments
and over six hundred sweatshirts.
Hour Glass Museum”, the home of the Historical Society, has a number of her
duneland photographs in its collection. In
its 2006 exhibit, “Artists of the Dunes”, Lee loaned her etching, “Polliwog
Pond” and a water color, “Tying Her Shoe.”
raising a family of four children, Duane and Lee Hibbs today use their home as
a gallery for their personal art collection, reflecting the work of artists from
around the world. Instead of displaying
her work, she surrounds herself in her home and garden with art of others; it
is this that continues to inspire and shape her own work.
Lee Hibbs Art
The Home and
insure that Lee lives her art, she designed the family home at 79 Ski Hill Road
in 1963. From how it is sited on the lot
to the location of windows and the interior layout, the home is a studio and a
gallery. The interior space is integrated
into its natural surroundings and its planned garden.
entering the home, one immediately feels its warmth and openness. The large windows in the living and dining
rooms draw the outside into the home.
Encouraging the serenity of the home are the earth-tone colors of the
rooms. These and the others rooms provide the background for the art that Lee
and Duane have collected on their many trips abroad. The focal point of the living room is the
fireplace which frames examples of their art, as well as one of her own
photographs of Lake Michigan.
the living room one enters the dining room, which overlooks a large wooden deck
and a beautiful flora and sculpture garden that flows into the surrounding
woods. In the dining room are examples
of her print-making blocks and examples of her art work. A long hall/gallery that opens into the
bedrooms have become a temporary exhibit of Lee’s water colors, drawings, and
photography. Two of the bedrooms can be
viewed from the gallery; one of these has a wall-size mural that Lee painted
and a display of digitally enhanced photographs of hands; again numerous works
of art are seen in the bedrooms.
the lower level is a large family room.
In it are works of art from members of her family and art collected by
her mother. To the right of the family
room is the “jungle closet” a work of art that Lee created for her
grandchildren. To the left are two
rooms, the first is her studio (that sometimes doubles as the laundry
room). It is in this room that she
generally works, with her computer, paints, brushes, and supplies. The next room, the guest bedroom, can sleep
as many as six grandchildren. For the
walk, it will exhibit many pieces of her work, especially those that are
inspired by the lake and the dunes.
Examples of her work will also be offered for sale.
lower level opens out onto a large patio and deck. The patio has a small artistic fountain. Beyond the patio are the beautiful flower
gardens and her creative sculpture garden.
Water and other refreshments will be available on the deck.
Hibbs, a retired engineer and an active cyclist and runner, and Lee, who was
one of the founding teachers of the Sandpiper pre-school program in Ogden
Dunes, remain active contributors to the
Ogden Dunes community. They both have
held leadership roles in the Community Church and in almost every community
organization. Duane also served as
president of the Town Board as it navigated the issues and challenges of saving
Historical Society thanks those who have participated in this House/Studio tour. As you finish the tour, you are welcome to
come by “The Hour Glass” for refreshments and to visit our exhibits.
also wish to express our great appreciation to the nine artists and their
families who have made their homes and/or studios available for viewing. They are justly proud of their work and
their living environment. We also
acknowledge the generosity of the major benefactors. Without their support, we could not have
mounted this worthwhile project. And we
thank the docents who have given their time to make this, The House/Studio Tour,