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
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"
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."
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
"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.
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.
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.