Put In Bay Blog

Put-in-Bay Historical Weekend Cancellations

Historical Weekend

Put-in-Bay Historical Weekend – Sept 7-9, 2018

It is with a heavy heart that we announce all events at Perry’s National Monument have been cancelled due to weather this weekend.

Historical Weekend at the Bay is a celebration of the Anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie. It is a celebration of history, art and music. We will remember and honor Perry’s Naval Victory and two centuries of peace shared by the United States, Canada and Great Britain.

founders day reenactment

Friday, September 7th 2018

Boy Scouts are Cancelled! Each year, roughly 1200 Boy Scouts come to camp on the Perry’s Monument east lawn for their annual camporee. They assist with National Park Service activities during their stay as part of their community service.

The Flag Retirement Ceremony Friday evening at Perry’s Monument has been Cancelled.

Historical Village

Saturday, September 8th 2018

The Art in the Park, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, has been Cancelled.

The War of 1812 Military Historic Encampment has been Cancelled! This is a much loved experience at Perry’s Monument with musical performances, black powder demonstrations, and a rustic old-fashioned “village” set up on the West Lawn.

Stone Lab has announced that there will be no trips to Gibraltar Island for their Open House. However, there will still be tours of the Aquatic Visitors Center, Put-in-Bay Lighthouse, & Stone Lab Research Center during the day.

The morning Memorial Service at Perry’s Monument has been Cancelled. Each year, during Historical Weekend, this event usually honors the men who fought and died during the naval battle (War of 1812).

Sadly, the big Grand Parade which includes all the Boy Scouts and classic cars, has been Cancelled.

The evening Toledo Orchestra Brass Quintet has been also Cancelled. It was to be held on the Perry’s Monument Visitor Center back porch.

The biggest sadness of the weekend is the Cancellation of the Lights of Peace Harbor Illumination. If you’ve never seen it before, it is a mile long experience along the shores of Lake Erie in front of the Perry’s Monument. This impressive light display honors friends and loved ones and will hopefully return in 2019.

Boy Scouts

Sunday, September 9th 2018

The second day of the War of 1812 Military Historic Encampment has also been Cancelled!

The Park Service has announced the Cancellation of the Musket Firing, the Carronade Firing, and the Combined Musket and Carronade Firings.

Ever seen the Old Fashioned Baseball sponsored by Miller Boat Line? If not, you will have to wait until 2019 because this has also been Cancelled.

For more detailed Cancellation information, please call the park service at 419-285-2184 and they can provide you with up to date information.

Categories:
Events & Gatherings

Hotel Victory:  Put-in-Bay’s “Grandest” Memory

Hotel Victory

Put-in-Bay, or South Bass Island, is known as the crown jewel of the Lake Erie Islands. Ever since Commodore Perry stationed his fleet here in the harbor and defeated the British in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812, Put-in-Bay has symbolized freedom, joy, and peace.

The island offers a rich history, and tourists have been visiting Put-in-Bay for more than 200 years.  After the war, many sightseers came to the island to attend celebrations and festivals that commemorated the Battle of Lake Erie.  Others would pack lunches and picnic along the waterfront, making sure to leave the island by nightfall, as there were no hotels or lodgings on the island for tourists.  In fact, it wasn’t until approximately 50 years after the War of 1812 that the first overnight accommodations were born.

Perhaps the most famous—and certainly the “grandest”—hotel to ever occupy the island is known as Hotel Victory.

Hotel Victory
Hotel Victory

 

A Luxurious Put-in-Bay Opportunity

Although a few small hotels grew (and burned to the ground) from 1860 to 1880, visionaries began to see Put-in-Bay as the land of opportunity.  So, in 1887, a group of investors, spearheaded by J.K. Tillotson, sought to build a luxurious, grand hotel on the island.  When it was completed, Hotel Victory stood as the largest hotel in the United States at the time.

The financiers chose to build Hotel Victory at Stone’s Cove in South Bass Island State Park.  The hotel site covered 100 acres. Twenty-One acres were reserved for the hotel, while the remaining 79 were divided into 475 villa lots that were sold to interested parties.

 

A Cornerstone and a Celebration

 

As with other elaborate, island ceremonies that commemorated the anniversary of Perry’s Victory or celebrated construction of the Put-in-Bay Monument, the first major gala for Hotel Victory was a grandiose event.  At the Battle of Lake Erie’s memorial celebration in 1889, seven steamboats brought 8,000 people to the island to laud the placement of the hotel’s cornerstone.

 

Construction Begins on the Monument

An architect from Toledo, E.O. Falls, designed the plans for the hotel.  His vision was to have the hotel shine like a beacon from miles away as travelers approached the island.  The idea was a majestic, English, baroque construction that emulated structures during the reign of Queen Anne.  His blueprints included towers, brickwork, porches, and a host of other intricate details.

Without question, this project was a massive affair.  Builder George Feick (of Sandusky) had to assemble his own sawmill, dining hall, and dorms for his men to complete the project.  He employed 75 carpenters at one time in to create the largest hotel in the country.

 

The Grand Opening (and Even Grander Details)

Hotel Victory opened on June 29, 1892.  Yet, 275 men continued to work until all the details were completed four years later in 1896.  Upon completion, it was the “grandest” hotel in America.

Its main building was 600 feet long, 300 feet wide, and surrounded a courtyard.  A giant lobby connected the main building to the dining room, kitchen, and the servants’ living areas.  The two dining rooms could serve 1,200 guests at once.

The hotel featured a 30-foot long bar where cocktails flowed late into the evening (and early morning).  The estate featured 625 guest rooms and 80 private baths.

One mile of carpet decorated the halls, and 20,000 yards of carpet accentuated the rooms.  This incredible Put-in-Bay hotel included 16.5 acres of flooring, 1,700 doors, and 2,500 windows.

The property’s landscape was equally impressive.  The grounds championed a beautiful bridge that stood above a ravine.  A marvelous fountain captivated visitors’ senses, and, a few years later, so did an enormous swimming pool (100 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 8 feet deep) that featured a roof to protect from the sun.  More than that, an opulent boardwalk connected hotel guests to the shore.  In total, the hotel cost over $1 million, which is equivalent to about $30 million dollars today.

 

Financial Troubles and a Resurrection

Predictably, given the extravagant expenses, two months after Hotel Victory’s grand opening, the business couldn’t pay for its expenses.  Creditors pushed the hotel into receivership, and, to make matters worse, a few months later, the stock market crashed, and the hotel closed until 1896.

Business steadied the next few years…until a smallpox outbreak on the island in 1898 prompted a quarantine. The famous Put-in-Bay hotel was sold again in 1898 and the new owners hired the visionary Thomas McCreary as new manager.

Under McCreary’s oversight, the Hotel Victory experienced its greatest popularity and success.  McCreary was an exceptional publicist, promoter, and host.  He touted the hotel as “the” place to stay on the island, and, for years, his words were accurate.

During his tenure, McCreary hired a German sculptor (Alfons Pelzer) to design the Victory Monument on the hotel grounds.  22 feet high, the monument featured a winged woman holding a wreath in one hand and a staff in the other.

When McCreary died in 1907, however, so did any significant future progress.  The hotel closed again in 1909, and, within two years, the structure was covered in decay.  Hotel Victory received one last push and was re-opened in 1918 and then sold again in 1919.  Forecasters predicted that the country would experience an economic surge now that World War I had ended, and investors hoped that that the hotel would, once again, return to glory.

 

Hope Burns Away for the Hotel Victory

That hope was smothered on August 14, 1919 when a massive fire started at 7:30 p.m. on the third floor.   Crowds gathered on the island as flames ascended 75 feet into the air and could be seen as far away as Sandusky and Detroit.  Within an hour, Hotel Victory, the most extensive undertaking in the island’s history, was lost.

The Put-in-Bay Fire Department was able to prevent the fire from spreading across the island, but the blaze burned for several days while thieves looted the property.

Old legend suspected investors of arson, but that theory was quickly discarded, as they didn’t have much insurance.  The cause was assumed to be a faulty light wire, and damage estimates ranged between $450,000 and $1 million.

Colonial Fire
Colonial Fire

 

A Put-in-Bay Landmark

In 1938, the state purchased acreage on the old Hotel Victory site and built a new public park.  It is now a campground called South Bass Island State Park.  There are a few signs commemorating the ruins of the old hotel, such as the swimming pool and the Victory Monument. Grab a Put-in-Bay taxi and go check it out for yourself when you visit.

Today, when tourists visit the island and vacation at the luxurious Put-in-Bay Condos or the Island Club, they experience a taste of that freedom, joy, and peace that Hotel Victory once represented, and what Put-in-Bay will always offer.

Categories:
News

National Parks Bill to help Put-in-Bay

Perrys Monument and Put-in-Bay

A National Parks Service bill proposed by Sen. Rob Portman could address a $12 billion backlog of deferred maintenance at National Parks. It would bring more than $1.8 million to one of Dayton’s historical sites and millions elsewhere. Portman introduced the Restore Our Parks Act in the U.S. Senate last week, according to his office. If passed by both houses of congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump, the bipartisan bill would address a long backlog of deferred maintenance at the country’s National Parks.

Ohio National Monuments and Parks

Ohio’s eight national park sites would get more than $100 million from Portman’s bill.

Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial in Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island would receive the most funding at $47.7 million. The 352-foot monument was established to commemorate the people who fought in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.

You can read more by visiting: https://www.mydaytondailynews.com/news/national-govt–politics/ohio-national-parks-could-get-more-than-100m-additional-funding/rkBUR1jLBLPTp9IZshwMeI/

Categories:
News

Labatt Beer – Drinking for Cleaner Water

Labatt Blue

Labatt USA Partners with Lake Erie Waterkeeper to Promote Local Water Stewardship in Ohio This Summer

Investment in local organization serves as part of Labatt USA’s larger partnership with the global Waterkeeper Alliance to protect and sustain drinkable, fishable and swimmable water

Labatt USA will partner with Lake Erie Waterkeeper to further its efforts to protect and sustain the Lake Erie watershed. They will make a $10,000 investment to support Lake Erie Waterkeeper’s efforts. This is part of a larger investment of more than $100,000 with Waterkeepers throughout the Great Lakes region.

The partnership and investments align with LUSA’s triple bottom line approach. The beer company prioritizes people, planet and profit. This includes measuring, reducing and mitigating its impact on the environment and society through investments, volunteerism and education.

“Not only is clean water required to make great beer, but it also means recreation on the water. By working to improve our water footprint, we’re also able to impact our communities to help ensure everyone can swim, boat and enjoy our local waterways throughout the summer,” said Lisa Texido, brand manager for the LUSA Family.

“Increasing public awareness of water stewardship is crucial to preserving, protecting and improving our watersheds” said Sandy Bihn, executive director for Lake Erie Waterkeeper and Lake Erie Foundation. “Partnering with Labatt USA is a terrific opportunity to connect with more people throughout the state of Ohio and keep our waters fishable, swimmable and drinkable.”

About the “Loving Ohio” Retail Program

This summer, Labatt USA will release limited-edition “Loving Ohio” graphic cans of Labatt Blue and Labatt Blue Light. They will feature popular summer water destinations in Ohio including Edgewater Park, Arch City, Put-in-Bay and Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Loving Ohio cans will be available in all locations that sell 24-packs of this fine Canadian beer. In-store signage promotes the partnership between LUSA and Lake Erie Waterkeeper to help raise awareness of the importance of water stewardship.

About Labatt USA

Proudly headquartered in Buffalo, New York, Labatt USA has imported Labatt Blue from Canada since 1951. Today, Labatt Blue is America’s top-selling Canadian beer. It has become the premier Canadian pilsener in the Great Lakes region and expansion markets across the United States. First brewed in Canada in 1847, Labatt continues to carry on the tradition and heritage of the great outdoors. Owned by Rochester-based North American Breweries.

Categories:
News

2018 Put-in-Bay Garage Sale This Weekend

Put-in-Bay Garage Sale

PUT-IN-BAY, OH – This weekend, Put-in-Bay welcomes visitors to the island to go on a “Garage Sale Treasure Hunt”! You never know what you might find from an old wooden chair to a nautical heirloom.

Treasures abound at over two dozen stops on the Garage Sale Trail. The event will be held all day, from 9am-5pm, on Saturday May 19, 2018 on South Bass Island (home to the city of Put-in-Bay). Stop by the Chamber of Commerce office as your first stop for last-minute information.

Take advantage of great discounts on merchandise and various island treasures. Maps with locations of the garage sales will be distributed the day of the event. Don’t miss the big bargains at the Heritage Resale Shop at the Historical Museum.

Every corner of the island will have something for sale, and even some locations that are last-minute and not listed. For a preview of the map, or to download a copy to take with you, check out: http://www.putinbayislandclub.com/images/newsletter/PIBgaragesale.pdf

There are also some Houses, Condos, and Hotel Rooms available this weekend. Visit Put-in-Bay Lodging options for different options that may be right for you!

Categories:
Events & Gatherings

Put-in-Bay Events: Think Spring!

Time to start thinking about Put-in-Bay Events!  However, Old man Winter seems like he’ll never release his grip on the area.  Still, we are gearing up for another fantastic season on Put-In-Bay.  While the bulk of our guests come between June and August, the island has wonderful activities and events both early and late in the season.  Also, the lodging rates during these times are a great value.  Check out these great Spring Events on Put-In-Bay.

Mr. Ed’s 13th Annual Pajama Party: April 20th Weekend

mredspajamaparty

Mr. Ed’s Bar is home to this fun event that is a sure sign the Put-In-Bay season has arrived.  Guests are encouraged to bring their favorite comfy pajamas, while enjoying great live music and the best local DJ’s.  Guests can vie for great prizes for sexiest pajamas, funniest pajamas and more.  Also, the zany Mr. Ed’s staff always manages to pull out a few surprises for the bash.  Take advantage of the discounted rates, and sneak in another fun weekend on the Bay, early in the season.  Also, this weekend is a popular choice for bachelor and bachelorette parties.  Wedding season is just around the corner!  Book Now to be part of the action.

All Sport FUNdamentals Put-in-Bay 4th Annual Draft Day 5k FUN Run: April 28th

draftday5k

The time is now to get moving.  What better place for a 5k than beautiful Put-In-Bay?  All Sports Fundamentals is hosting this great annual race to kick off the race season.  This organization strives to provide great Put-In-Bay Events to keep people active and having fun while doing it.  All participants will receive a Draft Day 5k Jersey, free lunch and drink discounts.  Also, the Lake Erie Islands Browns Backers will be offering tickets to win prizes.  These include autographed footballs, memorabilia and more.  All proceeds from this event will directly assist the LEIBB.

Putinbay.com’s Spring Fling Customer Appreciation Party: May 4-5

springfling

We love our guests!  So, we like to show you our admiration by throwing a huge street party.  Each year during the first weekend in May, the Island Club transforms into party central.  The Spring Fling party kicks off on Friday with live entertainment and free beer.  A beer truck with over 50 kegs provides the libations for the Fling.  Then, Saturday the party rocks on.  There are more entertainers gracing the stage.  Also, we cook burgers and hot dogs for all of our friends.  This customer appreciation party has grown to be a must-attend event of the season.  We have many guests who enjoy the party so much, this is the Put-In-Bay event they attend each year.  Grab your Put-In-Bay Home Rental for this awesome event!

Mardi Gras Weekend/John Carroll Weekend: May 11-12

mardigras

You don’t have to go far to get a taste of the Bayou.  Each May, Put-In-Bay hosts a fun filled Mardi Gras Weekend.  Grab some beads and float on over for an exciting Put-In-Bay Event.  Also, this weekend is another great choice for bachelor and bachelorette parties because its on the cusp of the popular June Wedding season.  Another fun aspect of this weekend is the addition of the seniors of John Carroll University.  For over 5 years, the senior class has came to Putinbay to celebrate their upcoming graduation.  There’s never a dull moment on the island, especially with such great Put-In-Bay Events.

See You on the Island for Fun Put-In-Bay Events

mist

No matter what time of the year you visit Put-In-Bay, there is always something exciting going on.  However, the Spring time gives guests a chance to experience the island with more affordable vacation rentals, less crowds and easy-going vibe.  We look forward to welcoming you and yours to Put-In-Bay this Spring.  See you at the Bay!

 

 

 

Put-in-Bay Paranormal

Doller House Put-in-Bay Paranormal

Is the island normal or is Put-in-Bay Paranormal?  According to some paranormal researchers, there is convincing evidence that yes is the answer.  The following will discuss claims of other worldly visitors at three Put-in-Bay establishments: The Park Hotel, the Doller House and the Crews Nest.

Put-in-Bay Paranormal: 3 Suspected Haunts

Park Hotel

Park Hotel Put-in-Bay Paranormal

The Park Hotel has been a fixture on the downtown Put-in-Bay scene for over 150 years.  Originally, the hotel opened as the Deutches Hotel in the 1870s.  A striking feature of the new lodging choice was beds with springs, instead of beds stuffed with hay.  The first owner is believed to be George Schmidt.  A newspaper article from this era mentions him as owner.  Also, the Roundhouse Bar construction was in Toledo and shipped to Put-in-Bay.

Now, where does the haunts came in to the picture?  A woman, known as the “governess,” purportedly perished at the Park Hotel.  Allegedly, the woman fell from the second floor down the steps to the lobby.  Islander children who have played frequently in the lobby, have noted a feeling of being “watched over” by this woman.  Also, she’s known to frequent Room 14 at the Hotel.  Another incident of paranormal activity relates to a suspected suicide.  Some speculate that an early owner of the bar may have committed suicide within.  The legend includes a death by hanging in the third floor stairwell.  Reports suggest the man remained, looking down on guests in their bed and peering from the window in Room 17. Also, this entity visits in the “Winter Bar,” located next to the Lobby.  This is one of the most popular Put-in-Bay Paranormal places.

Doller Mansion

Doller Mansion Put-in-Bay Paranormal

This magnificent home’s construction was by Valentine Doller during the mid to late 1800s.  Doller was an immigrant from Germany who came to Sandusky, Ohio in 1851.  Then, in 1859 he moved to Put-in-Bay.  He was responsible for the construction of many buildings, as he was a prominent and prosperous member of the community.  Additionally, he held several positions including first postmaster, council member and eventually mayor of the island.  He and his wife had six daughters.

One evening, one of Doller’s daughters left quietly to enjoy some of the nightlife.  Olga Doller frequented the Put-in-Bay Colonial, a massive entertainment hall on the island at this time.  During her trek home, she fell into the water.  So, she yelped for help from her predicament.  Fortunately, she avoided the peril.  However, her actions enraged Valentine Doller.  From that moment on, he forbade his daughters to marry.  This new ruling was very difficult for the sisters to bear.

One daughter, Daisy, eventually moved to a home next to the mansion.  For the rest of their lives, the family remained on the island.  Today, they rest at the Crown Hill Cemetery in the family mausoleum.  It’s believed the spirits of the anguished daughters still run amuck in the Doller Mansion.  Reports indicate that they still peer from the windows, longingly looking for love.  Today, the Doller Mansion is home to the Put-in-Bay Winery.

Crew’s Nest

Crews Nest Put-in-Bay Paranormal

The Crew’s Nest is the premier social club on Put-in-Bay.  Here, members can enjoy a fine meal, a swim in the large pool and much more.  Originally, the property opened as The Eagle Cottage.  Moreover, the property finished construction in 1875.  The first owner, Captain F.J. Magle, ran a steamboat that provided service to the island.  Then, in 1946 the property was sold and renamed The Friendly Inn.  Here, guests found lodging and a home cooked meal. Today, the club boasts improved facilities thanks to many improvements over the last 50 years.  Workers at the Crews Nest have noted strange noises coming from the attic.  Also, they claim that things thrown up the attic stairwell come back down by an unknown force.  The entity has a name, “Spencer.”

So, it appears there is some evidence to suggest that Put-in-Bay Paranormal activity is present.  With such a storied past with colorful characters, this comes as no surprise.  If walls could talk, they would shed interesting insights on the former residents of the island.  Also, they would give us a better understanding as to why these spirits are still present today.  This is yet another layer of the interesting island of Put-in-Bay!

Categories:
News, Uncategorized

Burning Snowman 2019

Snow, ice and frigid cold temperatures mean Burning Snowman 2019 is near!  These conditions is what we’ve been dealt thus far this Winter.  Are you ready to bid farewell to the blustery conditions?  So are we!  The 4th Annual Burning Snowman Fest in Port Clinton, Ohio is here to do just that!

The Burning Snowman Fest is an event designed to help think warm thoughts during these cold times.  Revelers will gather once again on February 23, 2019 for this popular event.  The host locations are Mr. Ed’s Bar and Grill and Dock’s Beach House in Port Clinton.  Also, other local bars will be offering great specials for this event.  More importantly, this event’s purpose is to raise funds for local charities.  There will be live entertainment, food, hobo bonfires and even hot tubs to soak in.  Entertainment will be selected from the wide selection of local talent.  One band will even get to make their big debut.  See below for information about this great prelude to the Burning Snowman 2019 on Thursday, January 17th.  The winner will even get a chance to play at Mr. Ed’s Put-in-Bay this Summer!

Stay at Burning Snowman 2019

There is no better place to stay for this festival than the Commodore Perry Inn.  The location is absolutely prime.  Guests will be on site for the entire event.  So, all of the fun to be had will be mere steps away.

COMMODORE PERRY INN: PORT CLINTON, OHIO

Rooms Start at $119.95 + tax

For Reservations: Call 419-732-2645

Have Questions?: Call or email Chassey at 419-357-6247 or sales@commodoreperry.com

Burning Snow Man Transportation

For transportation for any time during the festival, Call the friendly folks at After Hours Taxi.  They will be out in full force ensuring guests the utmost safety.  So, don’t drink and drive! Instead, call After Hours for a sober skipper!

AFTER HOURS TAXI

419-732-6151

Start Planning Now!

This event has gained traction as the must attend event of the Winter.  Therefore, many of the local lodging options fill up fast.  There is no better way to experience it all than to stay right at the party.  So, you won’t miss out on all of the great fun.  Lastly, lest not forget that this is a party with a purpose.  The generous donations of Burning Snowman attendees has made a great impact on the local community.  Come out and do your part and wish Winter away!  Burn baby burn!

 

 

 

Categories:
Events & Gatherings, News

The Colonial: 30 Years Later

Put-in-Bay Ohio Colonial Hotel Fire

The building was nothing short of spectacular and iconic in downtown Put-In-Bay; now we look back on The Colonial 30 years later.  Generations of islanders and tourist spent time here, enjoying the dancing, bowling and more.  Then, on that tragic day in May 1988, the building quickly engulfed in flames.  Let’s take a trip down memory lane.  Find an easy chair, pour a beverage and follow the story of the beloved Colonial, a favorite Put-In-Bay Attraction of yesteryear.

Colonial: Years Before Construction

colonial30yearslater

The land where the Colonial resided has a tumultuous history.  First, a home known as the “White House” was on the property.  Here, guests could stay on occasion, making it one of Put-In-Bay’s first boarding houses.  Then, in 1861 ownership changed hands to Joseph W Gray, the editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He moved to make the structure into a full time boarding house.  Later, his interests were no more, as he was bought out.  The hotel was known as Sweeny, West and Company.  As time progressed, the hotel expanded with extra wings constructed.  Now, the hotel dubbed the Put-In-Bay House remained

Tragedy Strikes

colonial30yearslater

Sadly, tragedy would overtake the fledging enterprise.  A benefit on August 30, 1878 aided Yellow Fever relief in the South.  However, just before 6 PM, a fire ignited in the cupola at the top of the building.  Quickly, flames spread throughout.  Sadly, there was no fire department on the island at this time.  Residents formed a bucket brigade to fight the fire.  However, the blaze was far too powerful and the hotel burned to the ground.  Later, speculation pointed to 4 young men as the culprits of the fire.  Prior to the tragedy they were smoking in the cupola.  A fire truck from Sandusky came over via steamer.  Unfortunately, they arrived too late.

The islanders pressed on.  Valentine Doller, a prominent Put-In-Bay figure, purchased the land.  Then, he constructed another Put-In-Bay House, albeit much smaller.  The new building was just 200 feet long and could accommodate up to 200 guests.  Sadly, tragedy struck yet again.  On September 3, 1907 the second Put-In-Bay House caught fire.  Again, the building burned to the ground.  The newly constructed Colonial Dance Hall nearly caught fire too.  Fortunately, they were able to contain the blaze to the hotel.  However, this ominous history would rear its ugly head again.

Colonial Construction and Early Years

colonial30yearslater

With Valentine Doller behind the helm, the construction of the Colonial was underway.  His company, the Put-In-Bay Amusement Company, paid $20,000 for the hotel property.  Their plans included the construction of a large dance hall and skating rink.  On June 16, 1906 the Colonial opened its doors to great fanfare.  All of the islanders came out to commemorate the joyous occasion.

During the first decades of operation, the Colonial was truly a wonderful place to visit.  Lake steamers ferried thousands of guests to the island.  Moreover, they attended the numerous dances held in the grand hall.  Children, teens and adults could all find fun things to do in the massive space.  The construction of Perry’s Monument and the Centennial of the Battle of Lake Erie brought hordes of crowds to Put-In-Bay.  Then, by the late teens, the threat of Prohibition was real.  Interestingly, the state of Michigan went dry the year before the country followed suit.  Consequently, Michigan residents flocked to the island as drinks were readily available.

Roaring 20’s and The Great Depression

colonial20yearslater

There were many different activities tried in the space.  The 1920’s and 30’s saw a surge in dances on the weekends.  There were dancing contests held with Jack and Sue Snyder from the actor’s colony acting as judges.  A popcorn stand was downstairs.  Many made their way to the stand because of the delicious aroma.  Another favored activity of the island women was to come and gossip on Saturday evenings.  Imagine, catching up on the island news watching the youngsters dancing below.  Bowling alleys were available sometime around Prohibition.

The Depression proved to be quite a difficult time for Put-In-Bay and the Colonial.  Consequently, the partners of the Dance Hall faced an impeding bankruptcy.  A new era of the Colonial was eminent.  George and Fannie Lonz purchased the property for $6,250.  They were the owners of the beloved Lonz Winery on Middle Bass Island.

Lonz’s Colonial

colonial30yearslater

Now, the Colonial was under the ownership of the Lonz Family.  They would retain ownership for the next 25 years of this well-known Put-In-Bay Bar.  Over the this tenure, the building’s management varied.  During the early 40’s, Bob and Maria Shiele ran the wine room.  Here, they adorned the walls and ceiling with fabric, and painted it to resemble a cave.  Also, Chick Linker ran the roller skating operation.  Local publications ran ads with headlines such as, “Roller Skating at the Colonial: A Chick Linker Operation.”  Then, from 1945-1947 George Compton ran the operation.  Sadly, Compton passed away on October 4, 1947 during a skating party at the end of the season.  Many believe a heart attack due to over exertion to be the culprit.

Then, in 1948 Lonz leased to Howard Sutton.  Howard’s mother assisted with managing the Colonial.  They promoted a wide assortment of events in the building.  Interestingly, even a wrestling match occurred.  Lonz added a wine tasting area at the East end.  Here, his fine Lonz Wines from Middle Bass island were available.  This room felt like a cave, being dimly lit with deep set booths.  Also, past guests remember the room having a perpetual smell of stale wine.  Others ran the operation pressing in to the 50’s and 60’s.  This include Frank and Alice Crowley, Dale and Adeline Schmidlin and Ralph Zickafoose.

Disaster Nearly Strikes Again!

colonial30yearslater

The Colonial faced peril yet another time. The Schnoor & Fuchs Grocery Store caught fire on March 12, 1964.  This store, located just to the South, was a complete loss.  However, the Colonial at less than 100 feet away, remained unharmed.  Shortly after this close call, Lonz decided to sell the Colonial.  Just prior to the sale, he sold the neighboring ball field.  Then, a developer went on to build the Commodore Motel.

Neff Breathes Life into The Colonial

colonial30yearslater

The South Bass Island Company, owned by Al Neff, purchased the building for $20,000.  Neff immediately went to work on giving the property updates and improvements.  New alleys with automatic pinsetters replaced the dated lanes.  Also, this new area had a furnace so that it had year round potential.  Bowling leagues formed in the Winter months.  Other improvements were to come.  The old Lonz wine room transformed in a rustic fashion.  Much of the décor utilized reclaimed material, making the space feel very authentic.  Quickly, the “Bay 90’s” became one of the islands favorite hangouts.  The massive dance floor was also rehabbed at great cost and effort.  Wonderful events like the Put-In-Bay Centennial Ball in 1977 and the Founder’s Day Ball in 1979 took place in the renovated Colonial.

The Old Rittman Grocery Store moved in 1968 to the present day location of the Island General Store. The architecture retained the character of the original building.  Restored original posts and siding from an old island school were among the building materials.  Duane Dress managed the store in the early 1970’s.  Then, in the final 3 years that Neff owned the property, Tip Niese ran the grocery store.

The Niese Term

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The Colonial changed hands once again in 1979.  Tip Niese became owner of the iconic property.  He changed the Bay 90’s bar to the present day Beer Barrel Saloon.  After overseeing the grocery store in the late 70’s, Tip was poised to be a perfect partner for the property.  At this time, George Stoiber and Skip Duggan were interested in buying.  Not long after, both Stoiber and Duggan sold out their interests, leaving Niese as the sole owner of the Colonial.  Changes were to come for the building.  The automatic alleys were removed and replaced with a restaurant ran by Tom Yantz.  Also, a video arcade was erected on the ground floor.

Patrick Houston Dailey: Coolest SOB in the World

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Spring brought a true paradigm shift.  A man showed up at the Colonial in a van, asking for a music gig.  Before leaving, he left a cassette of some of his material.  The Niese family had doubts about this unknown entertainer.  They had never heard of him.  Still, they agreed for him to play Memorial Day Weekend of 1979.

Patrick Dailey was this man.  However, the first weekend he was scheduled encountered great storms.  The Put-In-Bay Ferry service stopped.  Still, he made it on Sunday.  His show filled the room on that Sunday afternoon.  The crazy antics, fun lyrics and splendid rhythm captivated audiences. Soon, Pat Dailey and the Beer Barrel were synonymous.  Every Friday and Saturday night, fans would line up to see Pat play.  Quickly, Dailey wrote songs about the island which became the island anthems.  Interestingly, the wildly popular Put-In-Bay was written by Pat while sitting next to the Commodore Pool.

Colonial and Beer Barrel During the 1980’s

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The Niese era also brought in a wide variety of live entertainment.  Again the Colonial rose to be the hub of activity on the island.  The Beer Barrel was expanded several times to make room for the large crowds.  Also, the Grocery Store grew during this time.  From the time Tip first bought the store it had grown three fold.  Other additions included the Palm Tree Patio.  Here, guests could enjoy cold drinks while chowing down on ribs and chicken.  Potted palm trees swayed in the lake breezes.  Time marched on with fun events like Halloween parties with Ben Dover and the Screamers.

That Fateful Day in May: The Fire

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Memorial Day Weekend in 1988 on Put-In-Bay remains in infamy.  On Friday May 27, 1988 fire once again came to the Colonial property.  In just 45 short minutes, the island treasure was merely rubble.  A propane barbeque grill on the outdoor patio was the source of the blaze.  Mike Niese, son of the owner, and other employees attempted to put out the fire.  Unfortunately, the flames were just too intense.

The fire was so intense it was seen from the Mainland.  Quickly, the Put-In-Bay Fire Department realized it couldn’t successfully fight the Colonial fire.  So, the efforts focused on preventing the fire spreading to other structures.  Also, there was much attention given to 1000 gallon propane tank in the rear of the building.  Business owners were hosing down nearby buildings with hopes to stop the spread. Fortunately, the fire did not cause significant damage to neighboring buildings.  Sadly, the Colonial was a complete loss.

The Show Must Go On!

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After the fire, the Niese family pressed on.  Islanders still needed grocery essentials, newspapers and so on.  They sold said items and more out of the back of trucks.  The Colonial was still smoldering in the background.  Quickly, the site was bull dozed.  A huge tent put up ensured the Beer Barrel could remain open for the Summer. The grocery store opened in a temporary trailer.  Still, Tip Niese vowed to rebuild.  So, he employed George Poulos, a renowned local architect, to design the new building.  After Summer, the large tent came down to make way for construction.  This new building construction was made of concrete and steel.  No more could fire wreak havoc as it had so many times before.

Today at the Old Colonial Space

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The new building opened in 1989, complete with the World Longest Bar.  The Beer Barrel Saloon and Tipper’s Restaurant continue to provide the island with great entertainment.  Furthermore, outstanding acts like the Lo Cash Cowboys have played here and eventually made it big on the National level.  Today, the Niese family continues to operate this iconic Delaware Avenue address.

 

 

 

 

Mid America Boat Show Opens January 18th w/ Put-in-Bay Night

Mid America Boat Show

The Mid America Boat Show returns to the I-X Center in Cleveland, Ohio January 18th, 2018.  This is the largest and oldest boat show in Ohio.  Here, there are many fun and entertaining things to do and see.  Bring the family for a taste of Summer in the middle of the Winter!  Also, browse from over 400 boats onsite.  Boat dealers and boating vendors will be on hand offering the very best products and services.

Mid America Boat Show 2018 General Info

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Dates: January 18-21, 2018

Location: I-X Center; 1 I-X Center Dr; Cleveland, Ohio 44135

 

Boat Show Hours:

Thursday, January 18th          Noon – 9 PM

Friday, January 19th               Noon – 9 PM

Saturday, January 20th          11 AM – 9 PM

Sunday, January 21st             11 AM – 6 PM

Admission: Adults: $14

Children 12 and Under: FREE

Adults 60+: $12

Put-in-Bay Night on Opening Night 1/18

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There’s no better way to forget about the cold Winter than thinking about Put-in-Bay.  So, be sure to stop by the Put-in-Bay Pavilion at the Boat Show.  Here, have a taste of the legendary Boardwalk Lobster Bisque.  Also, enjoy from live entertainment from local favorites West Side Steve, Ray Fogg and Pat Shepard.  This will take place at 7 PM.  However, to secure a good spot for the show, it is recommended to stop by earlier.  So, see you at the show for Put-in-Bay night!

More info about the entertainment can be found here.

Fun Attractions at the Mid America Boat Show

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Fish NOW Expo

This hands-on exhibit features a 5,000 gallon aquarium on wheels.  Here, fishing experts will give intriguing demonstrations.  Also, they will show how fish react to bait and how they secure it.  Children can learn how to rig and use a cane fishing pole.  So, stop by for this unique experience.

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Go Dive NOW

Participants can go scuba diving in a wet suit.  Certified diving instructors oversee for instruction and safety.  Furthermore, dives are completed in a 30 foot 15,000 gallon pool.  So, come and see what it’s like to scuba!

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Boater Experience Pavilion

Come by with the whole family for a variety of fun activities.  Also, be sure to catch Pirate Willie’s Pirate Show with the little ones.  So, join in on the fun!

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Lake Erie University

Each day, experts will give presentations about all things Lake Erie.  Furthermore, this will include weather Lake Erie Ports, invasive species, algae blooms, weather forecasting and more.  So, stop in and learn about our greatest natural resource.

Come Out to the Show!

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So, mark the calendar for this great event.  Shake off the blustery cold and think about a beautiful day boating on Lake Erie.  Lastly, turn your dreams into reality and Book Your Put-in-Bay Vacation Now!