Indian Lake Ohio, Where It All Got Popular

This week we have been focusing our attention on Indian Lake in Ohio. Yes, a small lake kinda in the middle of Ohio, and well, the country. Mind you this is not a huge body of water, but man oh man, did the residents ever make the most of it. A perfect weekend getaway for folks up in that area, and with the universe of power boating all taking place in Michigan, it was one of the first places people could be introduced to the sport. Indian Lake could be named as one of the first generation playgrounds of the power boat industry. While Algonac can claim “Where it all began” Indian Lake can claim, “Where it all became popular.” And like Algonac, Indian Lake should be on your road map through the history of our community. Sadly though, much of it all has disappeared, but not in our hearts.

We got this yesterday from the Ramsey Bros. Yup a shot of BUMBLE BEE

The map.

Naked ladies always sell

All the cool stuff at the Souvenir stores

Just a quick search on Ebay brings us all sorts of goofy stuff

Look Honey, you can wear this to the Kowalski’s cook out next weekend

Back in the 20’s paved roads were a big deal. Post Card worthy. Imagine a Post Card today of I 95..

Shopping! This is pre Amazon, Walmart, Kmart, Ebay, well, wait, I found this on ebay, so.. LOOP ALERT!

Satellite image, Yes it is a Shallow Lake. Tomorrow STUMPS

Vintage Post Card

Top Hat on right pre- graphics and 19 race boat on left at harbor. Main street.

Indian Lake Darts early 30’s in the harbor. Don’t know who’s are who’s.

Sandee gables.bathing and entertainment constructed out in open lake off wolf Island. 1920s. Long gone. It was dredged out onto and to enhance wold island.

And you can stick one of these on your car.

And here is some footage of Russell’s Point back in the day. mmmmm, the music kinda makes me want to pull out some dollar bills. HEY?


The time they drained the lake.

13 replies
  1. Greg Lew
    Greg Lew says:

    More great photos. I love the shot of Bumble Bee headed out from the dock with a full load of riders. Definitely the good old days. You don’t see any Toyota’s in that parade!

  2. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    LOVING this series of stories!!

    Wait one cotton picking minute. From a family Hot Dog roast to a BBQ for 15,000 people. Dang that was a serious operation.

  3. warren
    warren says:

    Thanks for the pics and great video.
    I was born just before the time of the parade, so the memories all this brought up were more from family pictures and stories from my parents.
    Although never visited Ohio, we lived up in Michigan and had similar scenes.

    • warren
      warren says:

      Wondered if the 1968 song “Indian Lake” by the Cowsills was the same place and looked it up. Yep same place

  4. Alan Frederick
    Alan Frederick says:

    Interesting how one marina/dealership can dominate the boat sales with a certain brand (in this case Dart) much the same as Streblow in Lake Geneva, WI or Correct Craft in Conneaut Lake, PA.
    You buy one and then your neighbor buys one, etc. and pretty soon on a small lake that’s all you’ll see.

    • Greg on Indian Lake
      Greg on Indian Lake says:

      Very few Inboard Dart or any other Large runabouts were privately owned on Indian Lake during the depression. Most were working , making a living. Dart, more specifically. The Indian (Lake) boat company sold more row boats and outboards on Indian Lake and the majority of those were to resort operators. Retail sales were largely to out of area buyers of means in resort areas more densly populated with people of means who were less affected by the depression. Inboard power boats for exclusively personal pleasure use were at the time beyond the means of most but the very wealthy. This accounts for the popularity of “Speed Boat Rides”. In respect to Dart. up until the acquisition by the Hayes consortium of the Inboard line and move north, the factory was located in nearby Lima, Ohio. The owner, Nate Coon, maintained a residence and operated a resort and lumber company at /on Indian lake. He did not need a dealer.

  5. Mark in Ohio ( today in Florida)
    Mark in Ohio ( today in Florida) says:

    Another great story Matt and Greg. My Mom and Dad used to go to Indian Lake with friends when that were dating in the late 40s. They had a lot of stories about the fun they had. Dad had an Elto ( that I still have) he would take it up, rent a boat, and explore the lake. Thanks for digging up all the memorabilia. Very cool.

  6. A Skiing Car Nut with a Boat from Norway
    A Skiing Car Nut with a Boat from Norway says:

    Cool photos and great history.

    Uh, but ya’ll may want to start calling it “Native American Lake” since the Dept. of the Interior is and has been for awhile going around changing all of the names of places.

    Yep, they all had a pow wow and then went on the warpath to change all names deemed offensive. Whoa, wait, I am sorry. Cannot use those words either….um, ok so they all a series of meetings and then are working with intense feelings to change names of places deemed offensive.

    Actually now that I think about it, the name will not be Native American Lake but rather whatever the Native Americans used to call it two hundred years ago. And they will use the English language to spell it out even tho the Native Americans had no written language per se.

    And one more thing, since I cannot use certain words (as above) as it implies cultural appropriation, being Norwegian I find it totally offensive that my fellow white people and everyone else uses words of my culture for your banal useage. Therefore, STOP using our words – ski, slalom, and fiord / fjord. I mean really, i have seen thousands of people attempt in vain to ski, and they suck so bad that it makes me sad. So just knock it all off and call it some other name. Only we Norwegians can ski, have slalom courses for our cars, and drive our boats up a fjord.

    And careful Matt, no doubt the use of the word “stumps” is gonna offend someone tomorrow. Best use “the remains of a fallen tree”…..

    • floyd r turbo
      floyd r turbo says:

      Does that mean I have to rename my Fjord Explorer? Ok, so I’m Danish – just referred to those breakfast items as sweet breads with apple, lemon or cherry preserves.

  7. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Had a great July 4th with Jack Beatley who has a place on Indian Lake and a large collection of boats. I was under the impression his family had an off lake boat sales operation many years ago just blocks away from the lake. Jack treated us to a Hacker ride and lunch at a well known burger joint (Tilton Hilton?). Later that evening we went out to the fireworks show by boat. After the fireworks headed to Lake Muskoka via Port Huron my son and I enjoyed a half dozen fireworks shows that evening on the flat plains of western Ohio via I-75

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