FAMOUS MIDDLE BASS CLUB
1913 text from reference (15) in the Bibliography
as well as a craving appetite for piscatorial pastimes, must have figured in the
deal, when a company of “Buckeye” representatives - high in social standing
and correspondingly in the business and political world - purchased a tract of
several acres, some years ago, on Middle Bass Island, and there permanently
established a fishing and boating club that has since become famous.
site selected occupied the island’s western extremity, a most eligible
location. Here, for many long seasons, the elite of city social circles have
mingled with staid legislators and statesmen, fat capitalists and men of bulk,
breadth and brains generally, all taking a hand off and on at the rod and
trolling line. The organization formerly included a membership of about 200,
among whom appeared the names of Gov. Foster, Gov. Bushnell, Senator Foraker,
Gen. J. Warren Kieffer, and others quite as prominent.
exclusive in their tastes, the club people have long been famous as
entertainers. Not every “Weary Willie” may stretch his legs under their
banquet tables; but the worth-while individual, lucky enough to secure an
invite, there enjoys “a feast of reason and a flow of soul”, together with a
bill of fare and service sufficiently elaborate and dignified as to please the
individuals of note booked as guests of the club have appeared the names of
Ex-Pres. Harrison, Ex- Pres. Cleveland, Senator Hanna, Cassius M. Clay, of
Kentucky, and members of the Garfield, Rusk, and Sherman families. These, with a
whole galaxy of lesser lights of greater or less brilliance, have appeared from
time to time as guests of the club.
an arduous political campaign, Pres. Harrison once enjoyed a month's retirement
at Middle Bass club, as a guest at the Berdan cottage. On several occasions,
Grover Cleveland was a delighted visitor at the club, being entertained at the
cottage of La Roy Brooks.
bass fishing Grover entertained an especial fondness, and his reputation as a
proficient along this line, almost equalled that of Jay Cooke, the well-known
Philadelphia financier. Jay Cooke rendezvoused during the bass fishing season,
spring, and fall, at his castled summer residence on Gibraltar Island, distant
less than half a mile from Middle Bass, fishing at times on the same grounds
with the Ex-President. Though both of these celebrities - once familiar figures
on the islands - have been removed by death, still rife with reminiscences is
the club, concerning the lively sport enjoyed when "Jay" and
"Grover" figured as contestants for the black bass fishing
championship. Very many in fact of the club's original members and guests have
crossed the “Great Divide.”
and other differences have further conspired to reduce the membership, and to
affect club interests to some extent, yet notwithstanding these difficulties,
the organization is still recognized as ore of the strongest and most popular in
on the same line as in former years, the club is kept open from early May until
mid October. In addition to the club house - a fine commodious structure with
extensive verandas, wide and cool - the grounds contain a handsome pavilion and
boat houses, a Gothic chapel, and a large and elegant hall, at which are held
club parties and entertainments. These attractions, together with a collection
of artistically built cottages, shaded avenues and carefully kept lawns, form in
themselves a village of matchless beauty. Every beautiful and artistic effect in
the arrangement of vines, vases, plants and shrubbery is studied, every detail
being looked after with scrupulous care. Pavements of smooth white stone edge
the main avenues, connecting with wharves and pier, and during the summer a
ferry line steamer plies between the club grounds and Put-in-Bay.
to fishing outfits, some of the swellest are displayed both on land and water.
However, the boys, both young and old, make a specialty of comfort, rather than
appearance, and may be frequently seen attired in unconventional garb, with
slouch hats or caps and with sleeves rolled high, cruising the fishing grounds
about Rattlesnake Island, amongst the Hen and Chickens group, or elsewhere, in
pursuit of the gamy black bass, which, with lengthy bamboos, trolling lines,
spoon hooks, dip nets or almost any old thing they seek to inveigle.
at the club is one continued round of happiness. Fishing, bathing and canoeing
occupy young and old. Music by the club orchestra, piano or mandolin may be
heard during the afternoon and evening. Rehberg Hall echoes to the feet of
dancers, while gaily painted boats and white winged yachts put out from shore
with pleasure parties. Propellers, with strings of barges bound up and down the
watery highways of commerce, come and go, and shadowy sails appear to vanish
again in the blending haze of sea and sky. Such is life at Middle Bass Club, and
every fisherman who has once wet a line in these famous waters yearns to come
again and yet again.
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Revised: 21 Jul 2008 07:49:56.
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