The cottage was built in 1993-1934 on Lupine Lane by Pete Nicholson for Orlin D. and Tillie Frank. Orlin Frank, a botanist/naturalist, taught at the University of Chicago Laboratory School. The Franks named their cottage, the “Hour Glass” to represent the “Sands of Time”. In 1942, when O.D. retired, he and Tillie moved permanently to Ogden Dunes. At that time they added the western third of the cottage, including the garage, two bedrooms and half-baths on the 2nd floor, and a bedroom on the 3rd floor. After the deaths of Tillie (1878-1960) and O.D. (1879-1963), the “Hour Glass” was passed to family members who sold it to Sue Mechtersheimer (1905-1993) in 1992. Sue, a former Chicago teacher/administrator, a part-time realtor, and long-time resident of Ogden Dunes, had sold the lot on Lupine Lane to O.D. Frank in 1933. The central feature of the cottage is the large great room on the 2nd floor with its famous “Friendship Fireplace”, constructed with stones and fossils, given to the Franks, because of their interest in travel and natural history. Over 400 stones are numbered, with an index showing who gave the stone, where it was from, and the date. It is a double fire-place built in the shape of an hourglass, with the second fireplace in the loft above the living room.
With Sue Mechtersheimer’s gift, the Historical Society now had a permanent home. It now houses a permanent exhibit on the first floor, as well as space for storage. The great room on the 2nd floor allows us to offer programs and accommodates an audience of forty or more. It also serves as space for rotating or seasonal exhibits. The two former bedrooms serve as an archival room and an exhibit room. The attached rear porch also provides exhibit space.
The “Hour Glass” also provides space for community activities and meetings. Because the Historical Society is an all-volunteer organization, we can open the museum only when we have programs. However, the public can view the exhibits by appointment. Please call, 219-763-0658 or 708-383-7105, for an appointment or contact one of the members of the Board. We have made our exhibits available to local libraries and recently, we began a collaboration with the Town to install large, rotating exhibits in the Town’s Community Room, adjacent to the Volunteer Fire Department on Hillcrest Road.
Since its founding in 1991, the Historical Society has published regularly the “Hour Glass Newsletter” for its members. With this website, we will add articles that have appeared in the past issues of the newsletter. This continues our mission of presenting the history of our community and its residents and organizations. Also beginning with its founding, the Historical Society shares the history of northwest Indiana through six to eight public programs a year.
With support from Tri Kappa, the Ogden Dunes Community Foundation, the Anderson Foundation, the Town of Ogden Dunes, and other friends and organizations, we continue to collect and to organize the papers, photographs, and objects that reflect the history of Ogden Dunes. Our collections include papers and photographs from the Town, the major community organizations, and residents of Ogden Dunes, as well as works of art from artists associated with Ogden Dunes.
The Historical Society regularly collaborates with other historical organizations. A member of the Board meets regularly with the representatives of other Porter County museums. The POCO Museum (Porter County Museum) has provided significant assistance to us, especially in supporting the Ogden Dunes Stories Project that resulted in the permanent exhibit on the first floor. POCO also featured an exhibit on O.D. & Tillie Frank and the Hour Glass Cottage in 2014-2015. We have also shared exhibit materials with the Beverly Shores Museum and the POCO Museum. In 2016 the Historical Society co-sponsored a Mid-Century Architecture Tour of Ogden Dunes and Beverly Shores with Indiana Landmarks. Also in 2016 the Historical Society and other local museums collaborated with the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to offer a series of exhibits celebrating the creation of the National Lakeshore in 1966. Our exhibit, “The Battle for the Dunes: the Ogden Dunes Stories,” is now installed Town’s Community Hall.
The Historical Society also sponsored two major homes tours, “Cottages of Ski Hill Road” in 2007 and “Homes and Studios of Artists of Ogden Dunes” in 2009.
In 1993-1994 the Historical Society collected and published all the issues of the “Ogden Dunes Sandpiper”, an occasional town newsletter published from 1938 to 1970. This is a valuable resources detailing the development of the Ogden Dunes community during its formative years. More recently, the Historical Society, Ken Martin and Dick Meister produced Ogden Dunes: A Photographic History, published by Arcadia Press in its Images of America Series in 2014.