DAYS ON THE LAKE SHORE" by Dorothy Garesche Holland, presents a wonderful history of the early
lakeshore by an early and long-time summer visitor. Her aunt, Marie Garesche, built one of the first summer cottages on the
lakeshore in 1902, and her father, Ferdinand Garesche,
built their own cottage in 1912. After retiring in 1960, she wrote three books
on genealogy and several articles for the Missouri Historical Society Bulletin. Mrs.
Holland, an educator and writer, died in 1997 at the age of 92. She was the
subject of an SDHS oral history interview in 1995. (Thanks to her son Dempster Holland for giving SDHS permission to add this
history to the SDHS On-Line Research
Center archives. -- Chris
Yoder, March 23, 2011)
EARLY DAYS ON THE LAKE SHORE
Holland - August 1977 -updated 1983
For several years I have had the intention to jot down Lake Shore
memories and it would probably still be merely an intention were it not for the
needlings of the late Chick Bohn. These memories in no way pretend to
add up to the definitive history of the Lake
Shore, they are personal and primarily
of the St. Louis
contingent, which included many members of our family.
St. Louisans were not the first resorters an
the shore . In the
booklet, The Lake Shore Chapel (Nancy J. Budd 1974) Elizabeth Douglas Shorey
is quoted saying that two cottages were built below the Bryan property in 1897, but she incorrectly
identified them as the Ibsen cottage and the one directly south of it. The two
old cottages are the two north of the Ibsen cottage, that belonging to the Vanderbergs
and the one recently sold by Gene Worcester.
An early account of the Lake Shore
as future summer resort was given me by the late Virginia Bartow, who
was afterwards interviewed by the Commercial Record for the
Centennial issue in 1970. Her father, Dr. Edward Bartow, walked down along the
lake from the old Oxbow Inn, now part of the art camp. They found the section,
now called the Knoll then a cow pasture belonging to the late William McVea, the first of that name. Dr. Bartow and several other
men made him an offer of $500 for the property which included 500 feet of lake front, Mr McVea accepted and rushed home to harness up his horse.
When his wife asked him why the hurry, he answered, "Some fools have
offered me $500 for the pasture and I'm going to record it in Allegan before
they change their minds." The original owners included also Professor Lucius Sayre of the University
of Kansas, members of the Caldwell family and
Frederick Sperry. In about 1970 Miss Bartow told me that four of the Knoll
cottages were owned by descendants of the original owners who built in 1898. Some of us remember Dr. Bartow,
a tall, handsome old man with a white mustache and a twinkle in his eyes. He
was always at our branch post-office in the morning and, an avid stamp
collector, on the lookout for new issues.
In the chapel book there is a notation from Van A. Wallin
who reported that his family
built a cottage on the corner of Center Street and Lake Share Drive in 1900; it
later burnt down and the twin
cottages put up. They now form one house, recently the home of the late Mrs.
Lena Bryan. Mr.
Wallin added that during the same summer of 1900 his brother-in-law,
W. H. Simpson built on the other corner, the cottage later owned by the
youngest Simpson, Betty, and her husband, Charles Goode.
It was during the summer of 189
that my aunt, Marie R. Garesche, visiting friends in South Haven, took the fruit
boat up to Douglas and hired someone to drive
her out in a buggy to the lake shore. She had heard of' this beautiful
untouched stretch of beech and was immediately entranced with the area. She
bought about 100 feet of lake front property from the McVea
family and made plans for the summer home to which she intended bringing her
aged parents each year. As my aunts never threw away any letters , after the
death of the last one, Lala, I spent many hours going
through boxes of correspondence, keeping out anything of interest, In March of 1900
my grandfather, Ferdinand L. Garesche, wrote his
daughter, Louise, who was teaching in Minnesota, "Marie is going ahead
with her plans for her cottage - a piece of madness none of us can
prevent." It was considered "a piece of madness" because there
was so little money available. Marie was an art teacher at one of the public
high schools in St. Louis and despite her training at the St. Louis School of
Fine Arts, later the Art School of Washington University and a year's study in
Paris under several we11-knowm masters, she received a very small salary. A
subsequent letter from her father to Louise reported that Marie had modified
her plans, the first ones were too costly.
Marie and several of her four sisters spent
the summer of 1900 in the cottage, both parents coming for visits plus several
friends. Before her father arrived, he wrote that he knew the cottage was full so
if there was no room for him, please put him, in the room underneath the
cottage, "I don't mind being with the spiders". My Douglas
memories begin in this cottage, although they are merely hazy fragments.
In 1909 my father,
Ferdinand A. Garesche, and his brother-in-law, James
B. J. O'Brien, bought about thirty feet of property at the south end of Marie's
and put up their cottage, the next summer; my grandmother, Mrs,
E1izabeth Fitzwilliam O'Brian, and her daughters, Laura and Rosaline and our
family spent many seasons there together. Today my two remaining brothers, Bob
and Dick, and I are the owners of the F A G, as it is known. We all grew up
there, including my others brothers, John and Phil. My parents' eight grandchildren
have all stayed there, first as children, now as parents with their children,
the fifth generation to enjoy it.
In the early 1900's the trip from St. Louis
to Douglas was no matter of a seven or eight
hour drive. We took the day train to Chicago,
our family getting on in Madison,
Illinois, just across the river
from St, Louis, where we lived. At the Chicago
station we climbed aboard a Parmalee bus (in the very
early days, horse-drawn) headed for the pier where we took the lake steamer for
the overnight trip, getting off either at Holland
or the closer Jenesen
Park. Breakfast was
either in Holland
or Saugatuck after we arrived by the Interurban which ended its run in front of
the Butler Hotel. Then by bus or Mr. Daggett's taxi
to the Lake Shore. Later Mr. Daggett would bring
over the trunks and the barrel of beer my father always sent up - once in a
while one of the bottles turns up - a beautiful blue green. One night there was
a terrible storm as we crossed the lake and we were all scared and very ill; my
mother said never again, so from then on it was the night train to Chicago and
the Pere Marquette to Fennville where our old friend Mr. Daggett
would meet us.
At first all supplies came from Saugatuck and my parents and aunts
would often walk to the Kalamazoo
river and row over. Each family rented a boat for the
season. Ours was number 17. There was also a ferry that crossed every hour,
returning on the half hour round trip a nickle, Later
a horse drawn bus ambled along the shore driven by one of the old men of the
Campbell family, very kind to children, and who allowed my brother John when,
he was five or six years old to ride up and down with him. There were also two
motor buses from Saugatuck, both driven by enormously fat men. Each bus had
four long seats and were open at the ends. When the
buses were crowded, after the movies for instance, adventurous ones stood on
the running boards.
It was those same buses that took us to Mass on Sundays, to the small
white frame St. Peter's, now the Community Church. Twenty-five years ago the
handsome new St. Peter's was erected on the edge of the bluff
overlooking the river. Its beautiful simplicity has pleased everyone, residents
and vacationers alike. For many years there was no resident pastor, the priest
from South Haven came every Sunday morning, Sometimes his car broke down,
sometimes the road was impassable, and he would phone Mrs. Fish who lived
across the side street to tell us there would be no Mass. Mrs. Fish took care
of the vestments and the church was opened by Mr. Devine who also acted as
usher and collection taker.
Sometimes the appointed
altar boy would not appear and when this became evident several boys or young
men would step up into the sanctuary to serve. For years St. Louisan Mrs. George Hellmuth made
her self responsible for the flowers and I remember her coming to our cottage
to tell my mother it was her turn the following Sunday to provide them, she
could either bring the flowers herself or give Mrs. Hellmuth
two dollars and she would see to them.
There was no electricity at first - We had coal-oil lamps in the
living-room, dining room and kitchen and candles for the bedrooms. Electricity
was brought to the shore after a few years but it was temperamental and the
slightest storm would cause it to go off, so for years we kept a supply of candles and lamps on hand. We always
had plumbing, although each cottage had a little outhouse for the help, but for
a long time we had no hot water except that heated on the kitchen stove or a
little sterno in the bathroom where my father heated
his shaving water.
After a few years the MacDonald brothers
opened a grocery store in Douglas and
fruit and vegetables were brought around by nearby farmers- the Felker peaches were especially delicious. Later on the Lelands opened a store in Saugatuck, an establishment with
groceries on one side and merchandise on the other. I remember the little trollies on wires that would be sent whizzing from the
various counters to the cashier's. The Butler
Patry and Belle of the Reef occupy that space today. Mr.
Walz was the butcher - we could hear his "Good
morning" as we sat at the breakfast table and he would deliver the order in
the early afternoon.
Where I was very young there was an ice-cream and candy stand across
the road from our cottage, just a little stall where the shutters could be
pulled down at night. It was owned by Sam McVea,
"Uncle Sam" as everyone called him, and later he was joined by his
nephew Bill, father of the present Bill McVea. They
added a screened-in summer house holding two tables with a choice of chocolate
or strawberry sundae but my generation preferred a large nickle
ice-cream cone or a box of Cracker Jack with its prize. In
the '20's, much to the delight of the Lake Shore
residents, Bill. McVea opened a grocery store.
And it was a marvelous store, any staple anyone wanted or asked for, fresh vegetables
and fruit from the nearby farms or even closer. One day my mother wanted some
fresh corn and Bill turned to one of his helpers and said, "Go out and
pick a dozen ears for Mrs, Garesche,"
Far many years there was a wonderful butcher at the McVea
store old Charlie, a Czech who had been
a Chicago butcher until he retired and bought a little place down the shore. In
one corner of the store were newspapers,
Chicago, Detroit and 5t. Louis, these could be
reserved, marked with the person's name and put in a large pile. There was also
the branch post-office and the morning mail distributed about nine-thirty was
the focal point of the day. Everyone gathered there, everyone knew who had
recently arrived, bridge dates were made, teen-age gatherings arranged and it
was almost as goad as a club.
Bill and Gertrude McVea were always patient,
helpful and courteous, ever in the midst of demanding customers, kids grabbing
chewing gum, dogs on leashes, and several people all wanting to be waited on at
once. McVeas delivered not only groceries but milk.
Driving the truck, a museum piece, was a prized fob, my cousin Edmund Benoist was of the first drivers and was couch envied by his contemporaries. It became a
tradition for each driver to inscribe his name inside on the ceiling. The
present Bill McVea stir has the truck, called "Bruno"
by its devoted drivers, the names still visible.
In my memory Douglas was a real paradise for children, we could roam
safely at wi1l and we spent days roaming - through Shorewood, through Camp Gray
with its mysterious wooded paths, down to Campbell's dock to climb around
through the boathouses until an irate Mr. Campbell chased us out, through the
woods behind Trumbull's and Rosemont where we picked blackberries and
discovered an arbor of luscious white grapes to which we illegally helped
ourselves. Betty von Brecht, Marie Michel, Wilhelmina
Howard, and I rambled together, sometimes taking picnic lunches, often climbing
Baldy or taking the chain ferry to Saugatuck. We wandered through meadows
catching butterflies, we collected tiny baby frogs on the river road, we searched for turtles in Turtle Creek.
In the mornings and early evenings everyone went to the tennis court owned by Trumbell's, a court still used by the present' owners, the Corletts. It was the principal gathering place,
togetherness being more important than the actual game. As ten or eleven year
olds we were snubbed by our teen-age elders but we came anyway. Then as now
there were beach suppers, marshmallow and hot dog roasts and sometimes in
August corn roasts.
Card games were popular from the very first days and I can remember
being half asleep when a loud cry would come up from the dining room as someone
won a big pot at poker - my parents, her sisters, Laura and Rosaline O'Brien and
their friends loved to play and the evening would end with a welsh rarebit made
by my mother. Often when they were playing there would be a tap on the window
and there would be Miss Sophie Sloan with a whispered, "Can I get in the
game?" She loved the company of younger people and they loved to have her.
Then there were the more staid five hundred and later bridge parties,
four or five tables of dressed up ladies and a sprinkling of men. Before
flashlights were popular each household had one or more candle lanterns and as
each guest came in she would deposit her lantern at the door - when it came
time to go home; there would be much confusion trying to identify the lanterns
- the wise ones had tied a colored string around the handle. Elaborate
refreshments were served about eleven, my mother's specialty was tomatoes
stuffed with crabmeat salad and hot biscuits followed by ice cream with red raspberries
and cake. I was pressed into service to help the cook and pass the biscuits.
Every cottage had a cook, often a nursemaid, and on Thursdays and Sundays they
would gather at the Douglas Beach for a picnic.
The place to go, especially on Saturday and Wednesday nights, for the
teenagers and almost teen-agers, was the Big Pavilion in Saugatuck. One of the
mothers would take a group of us over and find a bench on the river side -
girls who stayed on the street side were looking for
pick-ups, so it was said. At any rate those from the Lake Shore
always settled in about the same spot. The floor was wonderful, the music
equally wonderful, and each dance cost seven cents; when
the boys were broke our mothers would buy tickets. The girls paid fifteen cents
entrance fee to the pavilion but the boys managed to slip over one of the rails
on the porch along the street side or go through
a window. At one end of the pavilion were the movies and at the other
end an ice-cream and refreshment section. For some obscure reason we never ate
there - Parrish's Drug Store was the place to go.
To return to the cottage building: Aunt Marie not foreseeing the day
when almost every cottage would need two parking spaces, proceeded to build
three more cottages on her property. The one next to our family cottage went up
about 1911 or 1912 and was rented for man years to the Dinks Parrish family of St. Louis; Mr. Parrish never came to Douglas
but the ladies of his family loved it. Mrs. Parrish, always known as "Miss
Ag" even to her children, had two sisters who lived with them, "Aunt
Sal", an unbelievably salty character and another who was
rarely seen. There were three Parrish daughters, all great readers, Grace and
Wilhelmina, excellent almost professional photographers, whose work has been
exhibited at the Missouri Historical Society, and the youngest, Isabelle, later
Mrs. Morgan McCormick,
This cottage, named 'Sans Souci",
meaning without care, was the summer home of the von Brecht
family of St. Louis
for many years. In 1954 after renting it for several seasons Chick and Jeanne Bohn
purchased it and Jeanne, her children and grandchildren occupy it every year. The next cottage erected on the
property, right on the beach, was the Maisonette, put
up about 1914, with a lower level of two extra bedrooms. In the 40's it was purchased
by my aunt Lala Garesche
and her friend. Grace von Phul and the lower part
remodeled and enlarged. Lala died in 1961 and later
Grace sold it to Mary Northern and her brother and sister-in-law, the Hafkas, who in
turn sold it to Sue Erikson of Hinsdale who
has done considerable remodeling, bringing in the furniture from her former home
and has made a lovely year-round house.
It was probably about 1916 that Aunt Marie built the "cement"
cottage, actually stucco,, and called it "Ravinedge." She lived in this cottage for every summer
from then on, except the seven or so years she was in Europe.
At one time she had severe eye trouble and the doctor told her she must be
absolutely quiet for a long period. She and her sister Millie decided to spend
the winter, so she installed a furnace and settled down. Much to the
consternation of the family in St.
Louis, she sent home snapshots of the frozen lake and
even worse of the shore photographed from the frozen water. She was spending
her "quiet" winter climbing out over the ice mounds to take pictures.
Unfortunately these pictures have been lost. "Ravinedge"
was left to her sisters, Lala and Mimi, and eventually
came to me in 1961. I rent the upper part, my son Garry and I live in the
apartment below, and further down
the old studio has been remodeled into an apartment.
Before leaving Marie R. Garesche, I must add
a few words about her art; unfortunately she had no agent to promote her work
and she sold her pictures in her Michigan
studio and in Florida
where she spent many winters and had a small shop and studio. Many of the paintings
are lovely, especially those she did in Greece and the flower pictures. In
her seventies, she took up etching, installed an etching press (since donated
to Oxbow) in the Michigan
studio and turned out some really handsome etchings. She exhibited frequently,
her picture being accepted at many jury shows: she was a founding member of the
Artists Guild in St. Louis
and of Artists Equity in the same city. Most of the family own and cherish her
To return to the building of Lake Shore cottages - in 1900 one of Aunt
Marie's friends, Mrs. John O'Fallon Delaney, came to see her new summer home,
and promptly fell in love with the area, buying the property south of Marie's,
excluding the McVea right of way. The Delaney cottage
was larger and much more elegant than any previously built and although the Delaneys had no children they wanted plenty of room for
relatives and friends. Her sister, Miss Sophie Sloan lived with them and the
two ladies always referred to each other as "Sister Lizzie" and
"Sister Sophie," Mr. Delaney lived the life of an English gentleman
portrayed in novels written before World War I. He had inherited a great deal
of money, he had received an excellent education, holding degrees in both law
and medicine, he had traveled extensively and he had never worked a day in his
life. Tall and handsome, he always, even to his last somewhat hazy days, had beautiful courtly manners. Mrs. Delaney,
a busy, bustling little woman, was one or the kindest people alive and never
happier than when doing seething for someone.
Almost every summer there were guests in the Delaney cottage, chief
among them her cousins, the Wygant family. Mrs. Wygant, the former Marie Tracy, had married into the army
and while I do not remember Colonel Wygant ever coming
to Douglas, I remember all the children well. The oldest was Marie, about my
age, and the first child I remember playing
with. She later married Potter Curran of St. Louis whom she met one summer and was left the Chalet where they used to come
before she died some years ago. Another visitor was another cousin, the fascinating
Nell Tracy, the belle of St. Louie in her debut year. She was less than five
feet, had deep dimples and golden hair and when she was at the cottage there
were always beaux arriving from St, Louis. She married Hartly
McVeigh, a brother of the senior Mrs. John Barrymore and moved to California. Her daughter
Tracy inherited the Delaney cottage at Mrs Delaney's
death and after several owners it now belongs to Petty Thiel
whose husbands Ed purchased it some years before his death. They have made it a
beautiful winterized home end returned it to the graciousness Mrs. Delaney gave
For years Mrs. Delaney had a butler-chauffer, Luther, Margaret, the cook,
and up in a third floor room was an old black woman, Angelique, too old to work
but kept almost as a member of the family and who occupied herself with the
household mending. Margaret, the cook, a World War I widow, had a little
red-headed girl who became devotedly
attach to Mrs. Delaney and who eventually was almost - but not quite - adopted
by her and who later caused her endless heartache and trouble by her escapades.
Margaret later married and she and her husband stayed on with Mrs.
Delaney after Mr. Delaney died and the poor old lady became a virtual prisoner
of the two. She had became progressively confused and had for a time complained
that much of her silver, fine china and other furnishings had disappeared and
that money did not last as long as it should. Finally, friends brought suit to have
her declared incompetent (the only way her relatives could oust Margaret). The
suit was successful, the thieving couple ejected, a good nurse and a cook
engaged and Mrs. Delaney, one time grande dame of St. Louis ended her days
Directly north of our cluster of cottages is one owned for may years by
the Woodcock family, now belonging to Lilah and
Maurice Paris, and beyond are two cottage belonging to the family of the late
Dr. Clark, one to his widow, another to his son. Beyond these is a large very
old house, once used as a summer school for girls by a Miss Butts, and later
sold to Mr. Walsh of Cincinnati.
He bought the cottage about 1910
or so and he and Mrs. Welsh and their eight children spent many summers there.
It has belonged for many years to Mr. and Mrs. Paul F. Ring of St. Louis and is
frequently filled with various of their seven children
and seventeen grandchildren and friends. The last cottage before the Knoll
belongs to the Allan family, Dr. Allan of Alton,
Illinois, and Bill Al1an who for some time was
a newscaster in Grand Rapids.
For the last several years Genie and George Thoma of St. Louis have rented it.
One St. Louis family built a cottage at the
far end of the Knoll, the Landon Lodges who later sold it to Mr. and Mrs. A.B. Stutzman, also of St.
Louis. Across from the Knoll is the summer home of Bob
and Julia Carr and their daughter and son-in-law Twink
and Charlie and next door is the house owned by state senator and Mrs. Raleigh
McCormick and now belonging to their daughter Virginia Worthington.
Mr. Welsh was so delighted with Douglas that he sang its praises to a
Cincinnati friend, Mr. Joseph Hummell who with Mrs. Hummell and theirs daughters came to stay at Beachmont and who about 1917 bought a white house next to
Homestead. The family has spread out over the original property and the Homestead property they
bought in the 1950's. The original house is now the O'Donnell-Macheca cottage, belonging to the two daughters of Gertrude
Hummell von Brecht. Mary
and Jerry Wagner lived for many summers in the small house right on the golf
course which Mr, and Mrs. Hummell built for their
retirement years. Now that cottage belongs to the Wagner's younger son Jerry. Mary
and Jerry built another cottage on adjoining property and their son, Bob,
spends most of the year there. Gertrude, as the widow of Carl Rohs, married Charles von Brecht,
a Douglas romance, and when they turned over the big house to their children,
built a smaller one for themselves, and son Charles. Add to this the "Snore
House", a converted laundry house to a guest accommodation bunk house and
the total number in the compound is five. Joe Rohas
and his children often spend
time at the big cottage.
Another Cincinnati family to settle in Douglas was that of the Beckmans,
Mrs. Beckman being the sister of Mr. Hummell. They
bought an old farmhouse south of Center Street, now owned by their children,
Paul and Vincent Beckman and Irene Leveroni, and
often visited by the two Jesuit sons, Fathers Bob and Jack Beckman, Vincent Beckman,
the oldest son, married the late Betty
Desloge of St. Louis after another Douglas courtship.
Her Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Louis Desloge had summered
in Douglas for many years. The Vincent Beckmans and her brother., George Desloge, purchased a house on the corner of Lake Shore Drive
and the road leading to the highway and converted it into apartments. A third
member of the Desloge family, Kiki
Meslans, had an antique shop for several years and
divides her time between Douglas and Belair, Florida,
Directly south of the former Delaney, now Thiel
property are two cottages belonging origins to the Bicknells,
then to descendants the Watts and now to the
Woods family. Some of the Bicknell descendants still come to Douglas, among them Josie Watt and her husband, Bill
Clark of St. Louis, a third Douglas
romance. They occupy a Shorewood cottage which belonged to her parents. Only
one other St. Louis
family ever owned a Shorewood home. Douglas and Emma Gareache Houser. The younger Houser son, James,
became interested in collecting rocks be found on the beach, later majored in
geology and today is on the staff of the St. Louis Museum of Science.
Beyond the Woods cottage is the large house
designed and built by George Hellmuth, St. Louis
architect, for his family and that of his parents-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Francis
Fowler. It is a beautiful house and was always beautifully kept, the scene of
much entertaining and sold after the
death of Mrs. Hellmuth to the Shuhans.
Mrs. Fowler was a sweet little old lady
with large black eyes and her husband was a fiery little man who always
carried a cane, In the late 30's and later Mrs. Hellmuth
took "paying Guests" in a most elegant fashion, service plates and
large damask napkins at dinner and such elaborate meals that all the guests put
on pounds. None of the He11uths come to Douglas
these days except Sister Hildegarde Hellmuth RSCJ who visits the Ibsen cottages.
Directly south are several houses owned by the Corletts
and then the cluster of Atwood buildings, the main house dating back to the
early days. Beyond the Atwoods
is the cottage built by the Merrils of Chicago and now owned by Otto Erker
of St. Louis and south of it is the house built
by the Aleshire family and bought some thirty years ago by Bob and Avis Barrett of Chicago.
Miss Sophie Sloan owned several rental cottages at the time of her death,
the one next to the Barretts was rented for any years
to the Morgan McCormicks and has since been pulled
down and a new cottage erected on the lot. Beyond that was another Sloan
cottage, one of the oldest on the Lake Shore, sold to Helen and Harry Painter and after
their deaths to Helen and Gene Worcester, who remodeled it considerably, making
it a year-round home. Last summer it was sold and Gene
and his second wife Dee moved to Arizona.
The Vandenberg cottage is next, according to The History of The Lake Shore Chapel two early houses in this area were
built about 1897 by D.C. Barto and William A.
Douglas, the Vanderberg and Worcester houses are surely these two. The Vanderburg
cottage was occupied for some years by the Arthur Friths,
she was a first cousin of my fathers, the former Mimika
Farish, and he was a professor of architecture at
the, University of Chicago. Their only child, a handsome, gifted boy, was run
over and killed by a street car and within g year his father died. His mother
lived to be 96 and even at the end of her life could never mention her son
without tears rolling down her cheeks.
To the south is the house built by Bill Benoist
arid his wise, another cousin of ours Adelaide
Garesche beautiful charming woman, and her husband
one of the kindest men who ever lived. The cottage was built about 1914 and
they spent many summers here. Their eldest son, Edmund, was killed in an automobile
accident and the cottage belongs to
their daughter, Mira Lee Ibsen who frequently has as guests her younger
brother Bill and his wife Irving.
The last cottage on the hake aide
before Center Street
was built by the Bolin of St. Louis,
probably like so many others about 1910. There were three daughters who spent
summers there, Adele, Edith, Mrs. Oliver Dorr whose husband was head of the
famous catering firm of Dorr and Zeller, and Amy, Mrs. Kniedelseder,
and two sons, Bill, killed in World War I and John, the last of the family to
use the cottage. It is now owned by Jack Hennessy of St. Louis.
On the other side of the road beyond Center Street is Elkhorn
Ledge, rented through the years to several St. Louis families, including the Frank Corleys and their children, Bob, Frank, Margaret, John and Bill. Mrs. Corley was of the Curran sisters, the other three
also summering in Douglas from time to time; Mrs. John Tierney with her large
family let the teenagers take over her home every evening as she read quietly
upstairs. They all knew that they were expected to leave at eleven and as none
of the attractive Tierney girls were allowed out after that hour, the rest of
the group went on to their homes. Two of the Currans
married brothers, Abigail was the wife of Sol Gross and June of William Gross and both families
spent many seasons here. Elkhorn Ledge was later occupied by Frank and
Catherine Smith and their twin daughters Donna and Barbara, now the wife of Tom
Eagleton, senator from Missouri. Still later Jim and Delphine McClellan and their children rented the cottage
for several years.
South of Elkhorn
Lodge is a large white house owned for many years by the Switzer family of St. Louis. They bought it in the 30's and it had at one time belonged
to the Smulskis of Chicago. Mrs. Smulski
was an opera singer and would sing at St. Peter's every Sunday, her glorious
voice filling the little church. The Switzers had a
large family and Mrs. Switzer's mother, Mrs. Kern, would always be with them. A familiar figure along
the shore was Ernie, the family chauffer.
Farther south Mark Eagleton owned a cottage
where he and Mrs. Eagleton and their two sons, Mark
and Tom, spent the summers; later the second Mrs. Eagleton
and their son, Kevin, occupied it. Now, the house is owned by Joe and Kay White
who remodeled it considerably. Joe spent many summers in
Douglas with his parents, Joe and Eunice White.
Going back to the north of Center Street there are two cottages just
north of Rosemont, the larger of which way built by the Vincent de Messimy of Chicago; she was still another cousin, Marie Garesche of St. Louis and they had one beautiful daughter,
Pauline. Cousin Vincent, was a delight, his appearance was not unlike the
description of Agatha Christie's famous detective, Poirot, although his black mustache was short. He had
dropped his title of count when he came to this country from France but had
preserved his engaging French accent. He was a great wit and racounteur and a gourmet who boasted of teaching the chef
at one of the large Chicago
hotels how to make bouillabaisse. Their cottage was built in 1912 and sold in
the '40's to Don and Pete von Brecht Heuchan who occupied it for many years with
their children, Heather, Bun, Charlie and Mary.
About 1915 the de Messimys sold part of their
property to friends named Sarpy, also French who had one little girl, Victoria,
on whom they doted. The cottage they built was later sold to Mr. and Mrs.
Morgan McCormick and left to their children, Betty and Rinks.
Now it belongs to Rinks and his wife Jan who are there every summer-
with their family.
For several summers the de Messimy cottage was
rented by the Reyburn family of St.
Louis who came with their four daughters, Charlotte, Juliette,
Helen or Bubbles, and Mary. One time in the early '20's when automobile travel had recently become popular, one of
Juliettes beaux, Eugene de Penaloza,
motored up, to see her. It had always taken two days to make the trip from St. Louis but to the surprise - and horror - of the Lake Shore,"Penny"
made it one day. The elders shook
their heads, predicting that a young man so addicted to speed would come to no good end.
To the north is a house belonging origital1y to Miss Anna Trumbull and rented at one time to the
Sessions of Chicago
who had a son Buster. For many years it belonged to the Edward Thiel family of Chicago and recently sold to Jerry and Jane
Allan of St. Louis who were long time summer Douglas residents and who formerly
owned a cottage in the Felker orchard addition where
their children, Libby, Haske1l, Ann and Jane spent their summers. Next door on
the property where once stood a house belonging to Mrs. Moss is one recently
purchased by Tom and June Corrigan of St.
Mrs. Moss of St. Louis, a transplanted southerner, had a beautiful
garden that she so cherished that if a tennis ball from the court directly
behind would be knocked in it, she would refuse to return it. She was an avid
bridge player and although she was inclined to be cantankerous at the card
table, there was a game in progress almost every evening in her living room. In
those days the road was not paved and Mrs. Moss, disliking the dust that
drifted into her cottage, would often put the sprinkler in the middle of the
road and whether you were walking or riding it was up to you to maneuver around
the spray. Even when she was in her late sixties
Mrs. Moss swam a half .mile every day and it was a daily occurrence to
see her rubber clad head as she breast-stroked through the water and then to
watch her walk back along the shore in her knee length bathing suit and black stockings.
was built by my aunt, Lala Garesche about 1920; she was
a graduate of Columbia University in New York with a major in dietetics and
decided to put her degree to good use. So she opened a tea room which struggled
along far a few years, then closed. (However, the house is still referred to a
"the Tea Room.") A number of St. Louisians
have rented it from time to time, among them Walter and Peg Muckerman
and their children, Peggy, Walter B., Peter and Steve. The cottage was left to
a niece, Emilie Garesche Hesse of La Grange,
Illinois. She and her husband, Al,
came every summer, after joined by their daughters, Susie Williams and Ginny Le
Very with their children, and son Freddie Hesse,
North of the Hesse cottage is a small one
built by the most -shall we say picturesque Lake Shore
characters, Professor and Mrs, John Beverly Robinson.
A faculty member of the Washington
of Architecture, he was a tall thin man with a drooping walrus mustache. Mrs.
Robinson, who he adored, was large and always clad in amazing - if that is the
word- garments. Her grandmother had left her twenty trunks of clothes, mater
trimmings, laces and so forth and Mrs. Robinson used to say the materials were
too beautiful to cut. So she draped the silks, dimities and lawns around
herself, securing them with pins, and large hats would be adorned with flowers,
bunches of grapes or same other bits of trimming from which the ancient price
tags still dangled.
The front yard was a bungle of weeds, carefully watered each day, our
"wild flowers" as they were called. Mrs
Robinson was an artist and loved to paint in different locations, but as she
was elderly and not strong, walking even a short distance was too much for her.
So the professor would escort her along the road, carrying. a kitchen chair
which he would put down every fifty feet or so, that she might rest, Her paintings
were charming, many of them beach scenes and her husband would say proudly,
"No one can paint clouds like my Betsy," As Mrs. Delaney she was
taken in by unscrupulous people when she was a widow; several young men were
presumably taking care of her cottage and her house in St. Louie and were
cheating her out of everything she had. Apparently her daughter, Mrs. Marriot, wife
of a St. Louis
doctor, and her two sons, Beverly and Deveraux, who
lived in the east, could do nothing. The cottage was sold to Bill and Lucille
Sutter of Chicago
and later to Raymond and Esther Eddy.
In the '20's, '30's and early '40's there were many rental cottages,
Aunt Marie had seven, to the four on the original lot she added one next to the
Douglas Beach, later purchased by the Cergizan family
and still later by Ammon and Corie
Schreur who did a beautiful remodeling, job. Marie
also built two more on Center Street, known as the bungalow and the colonial.
Miss Sophie Sloan owned seven and after her death Mrs. Delaney continued to handle the rentals for the
various heirs, Miss Lattie Luckow
had three or four the Bryans
put up some behind Rosemont.
So many families came to Douglas, some
for one year, some for many. Among them were the William Brammans
with their daughters, Barbara and Hildegarde and son
Bill; the O'Donnells with daughters Mary, Jane and
Betty and sons, Bill and Jack. Bill married Julie von Brecht
in still another Douglas romance, The Lindsay Franciscuses
rented the Chalet for some years with their daughter Mary and sons, Lindesey Jr., called "The Chief"and
Buzz. The Laurence O'Neils were
here for many seasons with son. Laurence Jr., Nancy and
Bonnie who married John Barron of Saugatuck. Dr. and Mrs. Funsch and their family spent many summers in Douglas.
Dr. and Mrs. Ralph Kinsella, their daughter,
Mary Janet, and sons, Ralph Jr., Edward, and Peter, were
frequent cottagers and the sons and their families still summer in Douglas. Two families of Halls came for many years, Mr.
and Mrs. Louis T. Hall and their sons,
George, Louis and Phil , and later built a
cottage at Pier Cave. The Edward Halls had two
daughters, Nonie and Betty and one son, Eddie. And before ending the account of
the Lake Shore cottages, the first one built by Marie Geresche
was sold in the 1930's and later to Jim and Georgann
Kennedy who spent many summers there with their ten children and after her
death it was sold to the Kosac -Ginrich
For many years, almost from those first early days, there were four boarding
houses along the Lake
Shore, all on the side
across from the lake . Farthest to the north was Beachmont,
belonging to the William McVeas and close by Homestead owned by Miss
Lizzie McVea and her brother Sam. Next in line was
Trumbles, owned by the lady of that name, the
property including the original house now known as "Baelly
kill", owned by the Corlett family, Rosemont
belonged to the Bryans
and was the last of the four to be operated as a boarding or rooming house. It
changed hands several years ago, was elegantly remodeled and now called "Rosemont
Inn." Both Beachmont and Homestead were pulled down long ago.
For some reason Trumbulls was the most popular
among the St. Louis
people and often those in cottages would take their meals there. Among
the Trumbull regulars were the Michel family of St, Louis, Mrs. Michel,
Celeste, Marie and Charlie; the James Tylers and
their children, Caroline, Sara, Nonie and James; Mrs. Adreon
with Clemence, Clark and Josephine; Mrs. Warfield and
her daughters, the Misses Charlotte and Margaret who would open one of the most
celebrated decorating shape in St. Louis, introducing English style glazed chintz
and Doctor and Mrs. Senseny ,their sons George and
Jack and niece, Janet Phelan. Others who stayed there in the very old days were
the Price sisters, Miss Sidney, Mrs. Grace Adreon, and
Mrs. Rogers Scudder, and the gorgeous Lil Hattersly, bridge teacher and daughter of the writer Kate
Chopin, recently accorded her place in American literature at long last. Bobby Hattersly accompanied his mother during her visits here.
When my brothers John and Bob were teenagers they had a wonderful crowd
and one thing they all enjoyed
was a homemade diving tower built like the skeleton of a wigwam with two small
platforms. Each year they would all get together, cut down a small tree, build
the platforms and haul the tower out into deep water and anchor it with stones.
A big storm would invariably dislodge it and carry it far down the beach where
it would have to be rescued and pulled back. If the boys faltered they would be
sternly urged on by Hildegarde Hellmuth,
usually the instigator of the annual, tower building. There were many teenagers
around in those days of the twenties and thirties, summer school was not as
important as it is now and summer jobs not as vital in those days of low
My two younger brothers, Phil and Dick, were teenagers in the thirties
and early forties; one of the features of their era was the afternoon baseball
game on Trumbulls'
beach. There were lots of boys here in those days - Corleys,
Kinsellas, Wynnes, Franciscuses, Beckmans, O'Donnells, Tiernays and many
others who gathered for a hard fought game, cheered on by an admiring audience
of girls. Several times a month they would play the Douglas team on their court in the village with the same
admiring audience - plus Mrs. O'Donnell, the most enthusiastic fan in the
Another year or so and the boys were all scattered, to the Pacific, to
the Atlantic, to England, France, Italy, India - in the army, the navy, the air
force, the marines. All of
them, thank God, came back and most of them have often visited the Lake Shore
since those days. And this is a good place to stop the account of Douglas
activities; so much has changed since World War II automobile travel, is so
easy that people can come for a week-end, no one arrives with several trunks to
spend the summer, People came and went with such facility that no one could
keep track of who was on the Lake Shore.
Even with such changes, much is the same - the beach, the lake, the
quiet road, the atmosphere of peace and the love we all have for this beautiful
place. I know my fathers descendants send up silent words of thanks to him for
our many happy summers in the cottage - although, as he often told us - he had
to borrow his half of the $1500 it cast t o build it!