|From a 1907 postcard, Conneaut Lake's main thoroughfare (Water Street) facing west.|
Over such a span of time, it should be of no surprise, then, that the lake would be the setting for an infinite number of stories across cultures, eras, and generations, the vast majority of which are never recorded. Those that have, however, then serve as the mechanism that provides context to our past. And while that context can be captured in many ways, there’s more than a handful that speaker to the quirky and peculiar moments of an era.
Here are seven from the early days of Conneaut Lake.
1. Swimming the Lake
|Marion Christy featured in the St. Louis Republic|
2. The Wild Man of Conneaut Lake
|Inspiration for the Conneaut Lake Wild Man?|
3. The Lake’s Sea Monster
|Large sea snake pictured in Japan in the 1980's|
4. The Deserted Village
5. Something Fishy
|Fish at Conneaut Lake weren't always so pleasant|
6. A Wild West Fight
|Pawnee Bill's Wild West Show Poster|
On a mid-July evening at the Midway Hotel, located along Conneaut Lake’s eastern shore, a sizable group of unidentified guests, presumably intoxicated, hatched a plot to raise the flag of Spain for all to see. The plan, according to The Record Argus, was not simply to hoist the colors up the large flagpole at end of the Midway’s boat dock, but to actually steal the pole itself, haul it to point near the middle of the lake (possibly Wolf Island), and then raise the ensign of Spain where if could be seen from most points around the lake. Just as they began dismantling the flagpole, however, the schemers were thwarted by the Midway’s proprietor, Amos Quigley who, after overhearing the rabble-rousers planning, suddenly appeared with a shotgun leveled in their direction. Needless to say, the fleeing conspirators abandoned their original plan. To discourage any counterattack, Quigley remained on guard at the dock until sunrise. It is not known who the guests were, why they were intent on raising the Spanish flag specifically, or how they even had such a flag in their possession to begin with, but it should be noted that the date of this incident was July 17th, 1898. Two weeks earlier, Colonel Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders had earned immortal fame at the Battle of San Juan Hill, and by the time the sun had set on the same day as the Midway incident, the Spanish flag flying over the garrison in Santiago, Cuba had been replaced by the Stars and Stripes of the United States.
7. Thwarting a Spanish Insurrection
|The Midway Hotel (far left) and dock (foreground) as it looked in 1901|
…and there are more tales like these that are yet to come.
Stories compiled by Ron Mattocks
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