Wednesday, April 29, 2009


It is still April and there have already been quite a few boats out on Jordan Lake this year! The lake has been a local recreational attraction for many years and continues to be a "favorite!" Soon after the establishment of Lake Odessa in 1887-88 a group of interested men organized the Jordan Lake Boat Association. This group consisted of William S. Hart, Stephen Haight, F. A. Sargeant and E. E. Wagar. In 1889 the Association purchased four acres of land on the shores of Jordan Lake which eventually became what today is the beach area. It was quickly ascertained that a "drawing card" was needed to allow people to enjoy the lake. It was decided to have a steam boat constructed for use on the lake. The group hired Charlie Scheidt to build the boat which was reported to have held between 100-150 individuals. The boat was built at Saranac and transported to Lake Odessa. The name "Favorite" was given to the little steamer as it became a favorite attraction to many. It is told that the steam boat would start at the beach pavilion with a full load. It would go west toward the hill at the west end of the lake, turn course down by the outlet, go down past Eagle Point and then on east past Jordan Cove. There were many sand bars in the cove and almost every time the boat would get stuck in the sand. Then row boats had to be taken out to pull the boat free. Many parties and celebrations were held on this boat with local bands playing on the steamer. This small boat boosted the resort business in Lake Odessa greatly. The photo above shows the Lake Odessa Band as it appeared during this era. This band frequently played on the steamer and could be heard for many miles.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Memorial Day will soon be upon us and these two photos remind us of that. These photos were taken at Lakeside Cemetery in Lake Odessa on Memorial Day 1946. It appears that many children were involved and perhaps were part of a parade ending at the cemetery. The Historical Society is attempting to identify as many in these photos as possible. If you recognize a face please contact the Society by email ( or click on comment below and leave a message.


This school photo was taken at the Odessa Center School about the years 1899-1900 and shows the school children of that day. It will soon be time for the Historical Society's annual school display and photos and items such as this will be the focus. The Society is working on collecting more information concerning all Rural Schools that were in the Lakewood School District. The Odessa Center School was located at the corner of Jordan Lake and Bippley Roads and is today remodeled into a residence. The photo above is identified as follows: Standing l to r: Jessica Wright, Ellsworth Barkdull, Cris Snyder, Roy Jackson, Howard Barkdull, Iva Hunter, Irvan Snyder, Hattie Clark and Lee Clark; seated l to r: Leslie Clark, Glendora Hunter, Marian Wright, Mildred Wright, Bertha Berndt, Gaylia Curtis; Front Row l to r: Clayton Clark, Alice Wright, Ernest Bever, Mae Hunter, Fred Berndt and Linnet Clark.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Congratulations to Roger Winkler who was the winner of the Society's 50/50 Raffle drawing. The drawing was held on Saturday, April 25, with over 500 tickets being sold. The photo above shows on the right John Waite, Society President, presenting Roger with the winner's check. The proceeds from this fund raiser will be used toward painting the Depot and exterior siding for the Hosford House.


The sales were fast and furious at this past week-end's Rummage Sale at the Lake Odessa Museum. This annual fund raiser helps support ongoing projects and generates a good profit each year. There are always bargains to be found and lots of "treasures" to be discovered! The crowd was steady on both Friday and Saturday with the tables pretty bare by the end. Thank you to all who donated and made this fund raiser another great success!!!

Friday, April 17, 2009


On Sunday, May 3, the Lake Odessa Area Historical Society will host a Mother-Daughter Tea. The Tea will be held at the Lake Odessa Museum Complex at 1:30 p.m. All Mothers, Daughters and Ladies of the community are invited to attend. This will be a special time of sharing with Robin Michalski and Alma Gray planning the event. Light refreshments will be served with a short program included. Donations toward the museum will be accepted. Reservations are needed by calling Robin at 374-8416.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


The Lake Odessa United Brethren Church (an outgrowth of the West Odessa United Brethren in Christ Church) was built in Lake Odessa in 1895. It was located on the northwest corner of Fourth Ave. and Fourth Street. The Board of Trustees that was responsible for this construction consisted of: P. A. Wachs, Emanuel Cramer and Stephen Mallory. This picture was taken before 1946 when the church became known as the Lake Odessa Evangelical United Brethren Church. This also appears to be before 1923 when the church was remodeled and a full basement dug underneath. The church remained active until 1967 when it merged with Woodland Evangelical United Brethren Church and formed what is now Lakewood United Methodist Church located in Woodland Township of Barry County. Many early pioneers of this area can trace their religous roots to the West Odessa United Brethren in Christ Church and as Lake Odessa provided new directions the church also followed. Today the Lake Odessa church structure has been remodeled into a residence.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


The Algodon School, located in the northwest part of Odessa Township, was one of the early school districts in this area. Also known as the Anway School, this school was in several locations over the years. The "keepsake" card shown above is from the 1893-1894 school year and depicts the teacher at that time,Jason E. Peacock. Thirty-six students are listed and gives us a picture of the families that lived in that area. The following names appear on this card for 1893-94: Bertha Drake, Charles Courter, Clara Dailey, Robert Bliss, Iva Batdorff, Wellie Dailey, Nettie Post, Herbert Courter, Blanche Watkins, Willie Shellman, Blanche Howlett, Clyde Bever, Irma Anway, Guy Bever, Lilah Anway, Fred Patrick, Bessie Morris, Eugene Bushnell, Edna Howlett, Roy Anway, Lizzie Post, Earl Shellman, Hester Dailey, Jesse Stockford, Pearl Bever, Anna Anway, Hazel Bryant, Lawrence Patrick, Mary Courter, Ezra Post, Roy Strew, Willie Post, Orin Anway, Walter Strother, Eddie Swiger and Charley Shellman.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


This awesome photo of Lake Odessa's main street was taken in 1888. The village was not even a year old at this time but life already had sprung up around the newly constructed railroad. This photo is taken where the railroad crosses Fourth Ave. (Main Street) and is looking south. The first train to come through Lake Odessa was on July 16, 1888, and this photo may have been taken close to that date. Notice the buildings and the landscape of the street....even 121 years later Lake Odessa is still recognizeable as it was then. Many businesses quickly started up during the first year...some survived but many quickly went by the wayside. Lake Odessa's "boom town" atmosphere helped boost the village's growth with the following years witnessing a more stable environment. One can only imagine the excitement of these early days and rare photos like this one help to stir those thoughts!


The April program for the Lake Odessa Area Historical Society focused on our MEMORIES of Jordan Lake. John Waite presented the program with some historical data on the lake but emphasized the importance of the lake as a natural resource. Anyone who has lived in this area has some connection or memory with this vital aspect of our locality. Many shared their recollections of learning "how" to swim in the lake, picnics and excursions and many other events. Several recalled Coach Wall Abbott leading the beach program and his influence in their lives. This video above, from Youtube, is a great collection of current photos of Jordan Lake and is how we are chronicling history now in 2009. Thank you to Ryan Linsea for allowing us to use this video to spark those memories of our own adventures on Jordan Lake. If you have a memory connected with the on the comment section and share it with us.....this blog is meant to share so give us your thoughts!!