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1913 text from reference (15) in the Bibliography

Go back to Middle Bass and her Attractions - 1913              Go Forward to John Yates Beall - 1913

Go to a longer History

Sentiment, 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.

The 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.

Although 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 most fastidious.

Among 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.

Following 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.

For 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.”

Political 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 Ohio.

Run 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.

As 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.

Life 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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