Put In Bay Blog

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/


DeRivera Park Cannons

The following piece is published in this month’s Put-in-Bay Gazette. The Gazette has been producing incredible independent Put-in-Bay island news for over 40 years. If you have any interest at all in what is happening on South Bass Island, we urge you strongly to subscribe to the Put-in-Bay Gazette. One-year online subscriptions are only $15, and print subscriptions are available as well. To subscribe please click here.

The six cannons in DeRivera Park look better than they ever have this summer thanks to the hard work of John Galvin and Tim Schluter. The two additional cannons on the village portion of the park still show the many layers of paint applied to them over the past 122 years since they have been mounted for display. As the cannons were stripped of many layers of old paint, the original numbers and other foundry markings were revealed.

One cannon is marked with “B.F.” indicating the Builder’s Foundry of Rhode Island.  Five cannons are marked FP indicating the Fort Pitt Foundry in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Each foundry numbered their cannons and applied other markings. These cannons found their way to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and from there, to Put-in-Bay from the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  From there, they were shipped to Sandusky and later, to Put-in-Bay.

The Cannons in the park are 8-inch guns (the diameter of the inside of the canon) or VIII Shell Guns.  Each one weighs about 6400 lbs. Constructed near the end of the Civil War these guns never were completed and did not see action.

Initially, Put-in-Bay had one 1812-era carronade believed to have come off of one of Perry’s ships.  It was sold to the town of Port Clinton in the 1890s where they included it in their local parades and historic events. The sketch to the right shows how the carronade may have looked on Perry’s ship.  The carronades were easier to handle than the long guns. They required less than half as much gunpowder, allowing fewer sailors to fire them.

Several ears after Put-in-Bay sold the historic carronade, the residents decided to acquire cannons for display. In the late 1800s, the United States War Department was donating excess cannons as decorative items. The art of canon forging was improved after the Civil War making these obsolete.   The cannons sent to PIB were the older Dahlgren style. These canons had not been finished by the foundries before the end of the Civil War. The vent holes in the cannons had not been drilled so they could not be fired.  Put-in-Bay requested eight cannons and 88 cannon balls in 1897. Together, the eight cannons and the cannonballs weighed about 33 tons so moving them was not a small task. The amount spent for the freight on the Baltimore-Ohio railroad to Sandusky was about $150. The larger challenge was moving them from Sandusky to PIB.

After a year of stagnation, as officials argued over freight prices, bills, and transport responsibility, the cannons came to the island. Once they reached the shore of Lake Erie, and funds were raised for expenses, the Fox Brothers used their steamer, the A. H. Burch to bring them to the village.

It took several local fund raisers, a lot of initiative and some generous donations to bring them from Sandusky to Put-in-Bay and get them mounted. A Dramatics Club at Put-in-Bay put on regular performances in the 1890s and later. Their ticket sales generated more then they needed for their costs and were used for various local projects, including St. Paul’s Church, the construction of the initial sea-wall along the shoreline of the village park, and some of the costs of getting the cannons and cannon balls placed in the park. One performance, “Reedy the Mail Girl” offered January 13, 1899 supported the canon project.  The cast included members of the Vroman, Engel, Wigland, Kunzler and Rittman families.

On February 2nd, 1899, a play titled “Hidden Crime” presented by “The Home Club” raised funds for the canon transport fees. The play cleared $52.26 which was lower than hoped due to the grip (flu) suffered by a large number of residents that month. The first week of February Mayor J.C. Oldt was holding $115.28 raised by the community for the transfer and placement of the canons in the park.

The village council met a few days after the February fund raiser. The Mayor appointed T.B. Alexander (who was not present at the meeting) to collect funds to be used to pay the balance of the freight due to Fox and Sons.  His committee was also tasked to have the cannon mounted in stone by May.

The Fox Brothers charged $33 to bring the 33 tons of material to the island. In addition to the proceeds raised by the Dramatic Club, island residents were asked for donations to pay the fees. Some, like Rev Forbes of St. Paul’s gave 50 cents. Some businesses pledged as much as 75 cents.

In late April 1899, George E. Glascoyne, an island resident, prepared foundations for the cannon mounts. First he dug holes, adding stones to the bottom. The stones were covered with cement and lime up to ground level then, cut stone was set in place to hold the cannons. The masonry work provided by George Gascoyne cost about $119 in 1899. According to Sandusky Register, the final bill was close to $300.

An article in the July 6, 1899 Sandusky Register announced the village cannon committee choose to name the cannons with the names of the six officers buried in the park, and their commanders, Commodore Perry and Commodore Barkley. The names were painted on the breech of each of the cannons. The US names and British names were mixed with one US officer on every other.  The alignment of the names placed the old willow between the two commodores;  starting at the north end of the park:  Brooks U.S., Com Barkley B.N., cannon balls, Com O.H. Perry U.S., Finnes B.N, Lunt U.S. Stokoe B.N. Clark U.S. Garland B.N.

The earliest settlers who were chased away by the British before O.H. Perry began sailing on the lake had cleared the land of all trees. At the turn of the century, when the cannons arrived, it held a few second growth trees, and the old willow tree marking the burial spot.

Theresa Thorndale (a pen name) aka Lydia Ryalls, wrote for the Sandusky Register and later published a book in 1898, including several of her articles. Lydia Ryalls has a second hand account of the events of Sept. 10th. Thorndale interviewed older residents and shared their faded memories of visitors from Perry’s crew who returned to the island to visit the spot. An un-named visitor provided his narration of the events with Mr. Vroman who was the first island resident who arrived in 1843. He passed the story to Lydia Ryalls … “After a description of the fight, the narrator closed with an account of the burial of the dead at Put-in-Bay. Six officers, three American, three British, were interred on site marked by the ‘Perry willow’ or ‘lone willow.’” The willow was rumored to have grown from a willow branch imbedded in the ground a few days after the battle. Posts and a rope were placed around the tree. The tree was photographed by countless visitors. On April 17th, 1900, after surviving the storms since 1813, it fell on a day almost as calm as the day of the battle, at the age of 87. Willow trees have a lifespan of 40-150 years.

The cannon balls near the place where the Lone Willow once stood remained as their memorial. Supporters still yearned for a better memorial to remember the Battle of Lake Erie. It took another 12 years before the Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial began to rise above the island. In 1913, 100 years after the battle, the remains were moved from the park to the column but the cannonballs remain as a reminder of their initial resting place.

This piece of Put-in-Bay journalism has been provided to putinbayonline.com courtesy of the Put-in-Bay Gazette, Put-in-Bay’s only local newspaper. Visit their website putinbay.news for more information and to subscribe!


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.


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!

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


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


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


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


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


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!

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.


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!



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!




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


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


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


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


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


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!


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


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


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


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


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


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!


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


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



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



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


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.


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!

boating experience

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!


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!

mid america boat show

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!

Put-in-Bay Ohio Ice Fishing Looking Promising!

Old Man Winter has sent an arctic blast across the region, making Put-in-Bay Ohio Ice Fishing a real possibility.  With the plummeting temperatures comes an islander’s Winter wish, ice!  These early below average temps could lead to one of the best ice fishing seasons in recent memory.

Weather Contributes to Put-in-Bay Ohio Ice Fishing

Currently, a Polar Vortex has swept across the region.  According to an article on Live Science, a polar vortex is part of a low-pressure system.  Moreover, as winds blow in towards the center of the system where the lower pressure is located a phenomenon occurs.  This is known as the Coriolis Effect.  In the Northern Hemisphere the storms spin counterclockwise and in the Southern they spin clockwise.  The Earth’s spin causes this effect.  During the Winter months, the North Pole tilts away from the Sun.  Due to the perpetual darkness, the temperature gradients vary. Consequently, these gradients power wind, which in turn leads to a low pressure system swirling around the pole.  This vortex resides within the stratosphere.  However, when it dips into the troposhere, we see the frigid air affect our weather.

Planning a Put-in-Bay Ice Fishing Adventure

This is the year to finally make way to Put-in-Bay for some hard water fishing.  If the conditions hold up, this may be one of the most fruitful seasons in several years.  Fortunately, there are transportation and lodging options available for anglers.  First, getting to the island.  Currently, the only mode of transport is via airplane.  Below are links and contact information to book air travel to the island.

Put-in-Bay Air Transportation

Griffin Flying Service          419-734-5400

Island Air Taxi                     419-573-2960

So, you’ve made it to the island.  The flight was a scenic wonder with ice as far as the eye can see.  Now it begs the question, where to stay?  Fortunately, there are lodging options that are open year round.

Put-in-Bay Lodging in Winter

Commodore Resort            419-285-3101

The Commodore Resort is located on Delaware Avenue in downtown Put-in-Bay.  So, ice anglers can walk to the docks and restaurants easily.  Rooms available for ice fisherman.

So, you’ve made it to the island, checked in and are ready to fish.  Unfortunately, your ice shanty and gear wouldn’t fit on the airplane.  Don’t fret.  There are ice fishing guides ready to assist.  So, choosing an ice fishing guide is the best way to get on the fish.  Also, they are equipped with the gear needed to make it happen.


Lake Erie Walleye
Put-in-Bay Ohio Ice Fishing Guides

Put-in-Bay Ice Fishing              614-312-7649

Lake Erie Ice Fishing A#1        810-434-1179

Hard Water Charters                419-277-7992

So, the stage is set.  Now, we just need the players!  So, don’t wait to plan your ice fishing adventure.  There is nothing better than cooking up fresh fish from the ice.  Using these resources, a complete trip can be planned.  Hopefully this will be an ice fishing season for the ages.

After a long day fishing on the icy lake, some rest will be in order. Reserving a Put-in-Bay Cabin is a great respite.  Here, the comforts of home beckon guests to relax and unwind.  So, set the watches to island time and watch the worries fade away. Besides, with so much to do on the island, you may want to spend and extra night so you can get the full island experience! Make sure you book fast because weekends tend to fill up fast in the summer. The sooner you book, the sooner you can get on a Put in Bay ferry!

Activities, Weather