By Joyce L. Alig, President, Mercer County Historical Society, Inc.
West Bank Road must have been an exciting summer place 40 some years ago. I receive so many requests about the restaurants, the places selling bait, the summer residences, and the wooden fishing piers off of West Bank Road. I remember driving along West Bank Road in the 1950’s; do you?
I am sure that those of you who grew up around Celina, remember these names and places better than I do. Also, many citizens of Dayton and Lima and nearby villages, rented sites on West Bank Road.
Who is the young man who was fishing on a pier off of West Bank Road in June 1965? Who was the photographer?
Since this photograph is dated June 1965, I checked the 1968 Celina Directory, which listed owners of sites along West Bank, going south: Carter Villa on The Lake Cottages, Joe. L. Graham, Joe and Vi’s Cottages, Dale Roebuck, Vincent Pompeo, Carl D. Miller, Miller’s Cottages, R.A. Deeters, Deeter Cottages, Clarence Wehrkamp, Wehrkamp Resort, Fullers Cottages, Donisi’s Pizza, Geo. Donisi, Bob Weitz, Robert Elswick, Leroy Huber, Victor Parker, Cledith Hiser.
At that point, South Sugar Street intersected with West Bank Road. The list of owners continued: Chas. Steen, Helen Boroff, Dave’s Resort, Stanley Humbert, Barney’s Place, Harold Mull, Midway Lounge, James Welch.
After 1900, post card photographs of sites around the lake were popular. The local restaurants around the lake preserve the history of Grand Lake Saint Marys by posting old photographs on their walls. These photographs attract the attention of their guests, and contribute to the preservation of the visual image of history of Grand Lake, as well as the memories of people about those old photographs.
On the second Sunday of November, November 13, the Mercer County Historical Society is hosting the 16th Annual Post Card and Post Mark Exhibit at the Mercer County Historical Museum, 130 East Market, Celina. A great way for preserving the history of this lake is through citizens who remember spending time at these sites around Grand Lake. The Post Cards preserve history.
The local photographs taken with the old Brownie Cameras always tell a story. The June 1965 photograph above shows how peaceful it was to be fishing on the Lake, next to the cottages along West Bank Road. Do you have photographs along West Bank Road, or other sites around Grand Lake, that you would show us at the Museum at the November 13 Exhibit? Another time to visit the Museum, to show us your photographs or post cards is Sunday afternoon, June 26, when the Mercer County Indian Relic Collectors host the 36th Annual Prehistoric Artifact Exhibit on the lawn.
Photographs and Post Cards preserve local history as well as any written history book. You are invited to help the Mercer County Historical Society preserve the history of Grand Lake Saint Marys. My last thought at studying this photograph, is that it would be great to return to a quieter time in our lives, and go fishing along West Bank Road.