Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

In 1880, a group of business men, most of whom were from Wabash, formed an association for the purpose of locating a summer resort in our county. They purchased a plot of ground just east of Syracuse between the B & O railroad and Wawasee lake. There they built a club house which had accommodations for sixty persons and named the entire project "Cedar Beach". Situated directly on the lake, on a high bank in the midst of a dense grove of trees, this summer resort soon was visited by many people seeking a few days relaxation from their regular work.

Most of these early summer resort projects--and there were several of them in our county in the 1880's and 1890's--followed a certain pattern. A group of outside businessmen, sometimes from as great a distance as Indianapolis, would buy a site on one of our lakes and erect a club house or hotel there. Soon the local residents would realize the value of the trade which the outsiders brought in, and additional facilities for taking care of outside guests would then be provided. From that day until this the resort business has been important to Kosciusko county. It is reported that one Kosciusko county farm in the Barbee Lakes region was paid for by the sale of angle worms.

Most of the resorters who came to Cedar Beach came all the way by train or got off at Syracuse and took a steamer for the rest of the trip. Captain A. M. Jones ran a steamer known as the "Roxy" from Syracuse to Cedar Beach. Coming by way of the Big Four railroad, some would get off at Milford and take a private conveyance from a hostelry there to Cedar Beach.

The summer resort business in this area today is big business. Very little information has been gathered concerning the growth of the resort business in our county. It would prove to be a very interesting chapter in any history of Kosciusko county. If any of our readers have information concerning the history of any resort areas, we would appreciate it, if you would send us the information. We would like to run several columns on the history of local summer resorts.

Warsaw Times-Union Tues May 19, 1953