Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ohio’s Lake Erie Vacationland

The warm summertime weather and access to water in the Sandusky Bay and Lake Erie Islands region have been popular with vacationers for decades. Visitors to “Vacationland” can enjoy beaches, parks, fishing, boating, camping, and of course the popular amusement park, Cedar Point. An advertisement in 1904 from the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway promoted railroad travel to several destinations, including the southern shores of Lake Erie.

Local residents also enjoyed the pleasant summer weather and time off from work and school during the summer months. Some families had a home in Sandusky, and a summer cottage closer to the beach. The Lange cottage at Cedar Point is pictured below:
Several articles in the Sandusky Register from the 1920’s through the 1930’s mention house parties. According to the August 25, 1920 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal, Eulalia Peterson hosted a “delightful house party at the summer home of her parents” on the Cedar Point Chausee. Several young ladies enjoyed outdoor diversions during the daytime, while young men joined the girls in the evening to enjoy dancing with music form the Victrola on the veranda.

Boating has been popular with local residents as well as visitors to the Sandusky Bay and Lake Erie area for many years.
Swimsuits were much more modest in days gone by, as seen in this photo from the Cedar Point Beach, taken before 1940.
Besides recreational activities, many historical attractions are within driving distance of Sandusky including the Thomas Edison Birthplace, the R.B. Hayes Presidential Center, the Cooke House and The Follett House Museum. The Marblehead Lighthouse has been guiding boats and ships on the Great Lakes since 1822. A ride aboard a ferry boat can take you to South Bass Island or Kelleys Island, where even more attractions may be enjoyed.

Two books about Lake Erie’s Vacationland can be borrowed from the Sandusky Library: Ohio's Lake Erie Vacationland in Vintage Postcards, by R. Wayne Ayers, and Lake Erie Vacationland in Ohio: Revisiting a1941 Travel Guide to the Sandusky Bay Region. The latter title was originally compiled by the Ohio Writer’s Program of the Work Projects Administration, and was reprinted in 1999 with an introduction by Connie Smith Girard. The Sandusky Library Archives Research Center features books, photographs, brochures, and historical newspapers on microfilm which cover the history of the Vacationland area, including Cedar Point and the Lakeside Association.


Anonymous said...

What is that wooden structure in the water in the picture with the bathers?

Anonymous said...

It was an attraction at Cedar Point called the Sea Swing.