Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

The "Lakeland Festival," to be held annually at Warsaw, emphasizes the importance of the lakes in the history of this area. Our first local pioneers undoubtedly appreciated the lakes, but it was not until the fall of 1885, that any organized movement to make Warsaw a summer resort town was started. It was at that time that the Warsaw Summer Resort association was formed for the purpose of "improving and developing the natural advantages of Warsaw as a summer resort."

This association laid out "Lakeside Park" in a 36-acre grove between Pike and Center lakes. This was a public picnic grounds, with tables and seats, swings and hammocks, a tabernacle, a ride called the "railroad in the air," a bath house for the convenience of swimmers, and a zoo containing bears, deer, wolves, foxes, coons, squirrels, gophers, white mice, guinea-pigs, wild geese, and rabbits. This park was a booming resort area for several years.

Another summer resort site which was started with high hopes was "Mineral Beach." It was located on a tract of land on some high bluffs on the east shore of Pike lake. These grounds were laid out in lots with avenues and walks. The idea was to sell or lease these lots to people who would build summer cottages there. In the center of the lots the association reserved an area for a camp-ground, on which people could pitch their tents without charge. A canal, constructed between Center and Pike lakes, made water transportation from the north end of Buffalo street to Mineral Beach possible. However, the Mineral Beach project never developed as its promoters wished.

On April 28, 1888, the Warsaw Daily Times put out a special edition which was designed to promote the city as a resort area. This issue tells of the history of Warsaw, gives an account of many of the business establishments in the city at that time, and goes into detail concerning the activities of the Summer Resort association. We are very grateful to Mrs. Nelle Neal, of Warsaw, for loaning us a copy of this special edition. The material in this column today is taken from that special issue of 1888.

Warsaw Times-Union Tues. Jun. 29, 1954