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  • Writer's pictureMelody Lager

Lake Cornelia

By 1875, Lake Cornelia (originally called Little Wall Lake), was being touted as a beautiful lake. “Crystal clear” waters beckoned visitors, and soon settlers. It soon became the place for local ice harvest. The lake was lined with large boulders, which early settlers thought were built by pre-historic peoples. Instead, it was soon proven that the glaciers had left the boulders, which over time shifted to form a wall. It was renamed by some state geologists who found Miss. Cornelia Eastman from Clarion to be a "very attractive, talented young lady"! By 1905, there were enough people in the area to form a ball team, which played other teams in the area. Fishing, camping, and hunting dominated the lake and surrounding grounds. Boy scouts held hikes, ladies held slumber parties. There was a railroad depot and general store, plus in 1893 the Lake had it’s own post office.

Accidents happen! In 1907 John Sturgeon was shooting ducks from his boat on the lake. The gun accidentally discharged, blowing a hole thru the bottom of his boat! Mr. Sturgeon was attempting to get to shore by holding on to the boat, when finally rescue came. Since this happened in early April, Mr. Sturgeon was quite lucky to have help before freezing. Illegal activity also happened, as more than once officers were on hand to catch illegal fishers and hunters. And in 1925 three young men were caught with a gallon of booze.

By 1920, Lake Cornelia was a “Booming as a Summer Resort Town”, according to the Wright Count Monitor. That year, J.D. Ely was building a restaurant and a rooming house at the lake. The Cornelia lumbermen and merchants were busy putting up a dance hall. Several new cottages were also being built. In 1921 a bathing beach and softball field were added to the east side. It was noted on a Sunday in July 1925 that about 5,000 people were out at the lake, enjoying swimming, picnics, etc. Over 1,000cars were parked. No doubt they were enjoying the tent skating rink and water slide at the beach also! In 1929 the Wilsonian dance hall opened. One of the early bands was –Lawrence Welk!

In 2008 the Lake Cornelia Improvement Association printed a book, “Lake Cornelia, Moments in Time”. A copy of this is in our historical library, if you would like to know

more. Below is an early picture of Clarmond Country club and the lake.

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