Monday, July 15, 2013

Memory Monday -- memories of Dad, part 2

Summer at the Cottage
I guess a good sub-theme for this post would be:  "Dad, Working, Boating, Gardening, and Dancing"

Last week I wrote a little of Dad and posted a picture of him in his twilight years.  This week, I'm letting you see him in his middle years ...he's the gent on the far right.  His hair is brown, his build is slight, and his ice blue eyes still twinkle.

This is a picture of my family, except for me, taken at our Beach House' side-yard.  There's my sisters, Betty and Evelyn, Mother, Uncle Bill, and Dad (Aunt Leota was behind the camera).  My sisters are about 15/16 years old here, so this was taken in the mid 40s.

Buckeye Lake, in Central Ohio, was a popular summer spot, and many folks from Columbus started to buy lots and put up fishing cottages.  Dad purchased one of those cottages in a development on the southern shore called Fairfield Beach.

The Entrance by BL Historical Society

Across the lake was a large amusement park where the likes of Benny Goodman, Harry James, and Guy Lombardo would perform routinely...all the big names.  Trust me, it was a big big deal in the 40s when this picture was taken.

Crystal Ballroom from Buckeye Lake Historical Society
 The Amusement Park offered two large dance halls and a skate rink as well as the usual arcades, rides and roller coasters.  One of those dance halls was cantilevered over the lake and had a glass floor within the dance floor.

from Buckeye Lake Historical Society
 Along the boardwalk outside of that dance hall you could rent a boat or hire a Chris-Craft limo-boat to take you for a ride or across the lake to a popular spot, Weldons Ice Cream Factory.  Of course you could go to one of the bars sprinkled around the lake if that's where your cravings drove you instead.  A lovely way to spend the evening though was to hop aboard one of the paddle boats and dance the night away on the lake.
Weldons Ice Cream Factory by Weldons

 The Lake had a large Chris Craft boat population and the paddle boats that traversed the length of the lake playing happy music that all the residents could enjoy while guests would dance and enjoy the sunset or evening lights.  We had a wooden Layman run-about with a 25 horse green Johnson motor on the back.  My sisters and Dad would ski and take advantage of the two sandbars that you could motor up to and jump in for a swim.  Of course there was a very popular and large beach right down the road from our place.  Our boat house was nearby, and there were lots of docks to fish from.  Up the road the property owners association built a two-story dance hall/meeting hall and held square dancing every Saturday night.  There was a large fireplace inside, two kitchens, and a stage for all the dance bands.  Some of my earliest memories are of twirling ladies in large crinoline skirts breezing by me with their fellas as Daddy an I danced together in a corner. It was a wonderful place to be, and one of those wonderful memories I have of Dad.

Dad was an electrician by trade and basically rebuilt the entire cottage in his free time.  The family went out there every weekend and stayed for  their two-week vacation every year.  Mother didn't drive, and there were only mud roads then, so the family wasn't one of the summer-long residents that most cottage owners became.  You can see the garden behind everyone.  This was Dad's tulip and rose garden which was one of the first improvements he made, and it remained there for 50+ years.  The soil here is very fertile because this area of Ohio was once swampy until the Lake was dug out for the Erie/Ohio Canal Systems many years earlier.  Dad always planted a big garden and ended up cutting down most of the trees you see here and replanted with apple and peach trees. 

During the 40s/50s, Columbus was tearing up some old cobblestone streets and surfacing them in asphalt, so Dad scavenged cobbles of granite from the scrap heaps and brought them out to the Lake to build a fireplace.  He moved the bedrooms from one side to another and put in a larger eat-in kitchen in what is now called an "open concept" arrangement with the living room. He made the cabinets of knotty pine, and enclosed the front porch and back porches with jalousie windows.  From the front porch area we had a lovely view of the Lake, so we placed a dining table there.  When this picture was taken, there was a shallow well with a red pump outside for retrieving water (just out of the shot to the right), and there was an outhouse and a leach bed out back at the edge of the lot as well.  Although we had inside water by the time I came along, the outhouse was used until 1962 when Dad retired and we moved out there permanently.

If you'd like more information on Buckeye Lake's colorful past, visit the Buckeye Lake Historical Society .  Weldon's Ice Cream Factory is still doing business in their original location, and I highly recommend visiting Weldon's if you ever get to Millersport on the shores of Buckeye Lake...great ice cream and all the furnishings are original right down to the brass swivel bar stools.  Sit on the porch and gaze out over the lake to catch a relaxing moment or two.  And be sure to hop on over to Sandy's Memory Monday for the blog hop.


  1. AWESOME picture, and memories. Right you are it was big doings, isn't it a shame it went by the wayside. You're up earlier then me, we're in a different time zone, linky up, please swing by and add yourself...So enjoying your memories of your Dad, what an awesome Man he was.

  2. I have really enjoyed your two posts about your dad, family, and Buckeye Lake! Our history doesn't go back quite that far. We didn't connect until 5th-6th grade, I think, which would have been early 60s, I guess. I feel so blessed by your friendship!

  3. I'm linked, Sandy, thanks. Not on a differing time zone, just get on the computer earlier, most likely. Glad you're enjoying these posts about Dad...I agree the demise of the Amusement Park was a shame. It was a different era, and my folks sure enjoyed their time at the cottage. Rumor has it that my step mom had dated Harry James brother some when they were booked there....that had to have been a kick.


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