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Middle Bass Island

Puzzle Picture

The Berdan Cottages



Feb. 19, 2008:


I forgot to post both winning entries for this contest last year. They are below. Both winners received a book.


Sept. 26, 2007:


The first half dozen islanders I showed this picture to couldn't identify it. So I decided to make its identification a little contest.


The prize for the first person to identify it clearly is a signed copy of the 2004 "Lonz of Middle Bass" book. The identification needs to be more than just "taken at Wehrle's Pavilion", or something similar. (I'm not hinting that the picture was taken at Wehrle's.) It needs to prove that you are sure of your statement, and not just guessing.


A second prize, another signed copy of the same book, will be awarded to the person who submits the most complete description of the scene by Oct. 31. Winners agree to have their names and descriptions appear on this site. Individuals I have already shown the picture to are not eligible.


Please send your answer to mike@middlebass.org. I use a challenge/response email system, so you may have to respond to a challenge from my email server before your email gets to me, unless you are already in my address book.



The above picture was taken from the west deck of Rehberg's Hall, which was just east of the Middle Bass Club. If it wasn't for this picture, we might have never noticed that there was a west deck, because it is hardly visible in the other pictures.


Matt Richardson correctly identified the picture by writing "These are the Berdan cottages in the Middle Bass Club. President Harrison was reported to have stayed in the closer of the two. The Cizl and Betz cottages now sit on the site of these two cottages. "


There are a number of references to the Berdan cottage(s) on this site and you can find them all by clicking here.


Irvin Musson provided the most detailed description:

This picture is of the Berdan Cottages on the corner of Grape and Rehberg looking Northwest from the second floor of Rehberg’s dance hall.  The lives of the owners, John and Peter Berdan, are detailed below.  These cottages both burned and were replaced by the current cottages according to Edward Strater.  There is another picture which you have posted showing both Rutherford B. Hayes and Benjamin Harrison sitting on the front porch of the near cottage taken in 1892 also included below.  You also posted a “firemap” which shows both cottages but is undated also included.

PETER FREDERICK BERDAN was born in Brunswick, Medina County, Ohio, October 23, 1824. He was a son of John and Pamela (Freese) Berdan. The father was born in New York City, December 16, 1798. The mother was born in Lee, Massachusetts, February 4, 1802. The father was a merchant and Justice of the Peace at Brunswick, and otherwise prominent in business, as in social and religious circles. the country thereabouts was then pretty much a wilderness, and the Village little more than a Hamlet. Hence, the traffic of the Store made very moderate return in profits.

In September, 1835, the family removed to Toledo, arriving there amid the most intense of the excitement connected with the boundary dispute or the "Toledo War." Mr. Berdan soon engaged in the Forwarding and Commission business, with B. H. Peckham (the firm name being Peckham & Co.), whose warehouse was at the foot of Lagrange Street. This firm did most of the business of the kind in Toledo, the Steamboats generally stopping at their dock. As elsewhere stated, upon the organization of a City Government for Toledo, in 1837, Mr. Berdan was chosen as its first Mayor, serving as such for a term of two years. In 1839, he was elected by the State Legislature as Associate Judge for Lucas County, which position he filled with special credit until his death, October 11, 1841. No name is borne in the memory of the early settlers of Toledo with more respect, than is that of John Berdan, who throughout his residence there, as throughout his life, manifested conscientious regard for the rights of his fellowmen, while, in all ways open to him, contributing to their well-being. Peter's educational privileges, aside from the careful attention of his parents, were meagre. At Brunswick he attended for a short time a School taught by a female teacher, who accompanied the family to Toledo. He had no male School teacher save while for one year at Gambier Seminary, which term closed when he was 12 years of age. If entered upon his business life when 13 years old, as clerk in the Store of Titus & Co., Toledo, at a salary of $75 per year (without board). At that time $500 was the highest salary paid to any clerk. He remained with Titus & Co., and with Gid. W. Weed, successor to that firm, until 1845, when he engaged in the same capacity with the firm of Ketcham & Secor (V. H. Ketcham and Joseph K. Secor), remaining there for three years. In 1848 Mr. Berdan and Salmon H Keeler organized the firm of Berdan & Keeler, dealers in general merchandise, the partners contributing, respectively, to the capital stock of the firm, the sums of $156 and $132, their savings from clerkships. They were associated in successful trade for six years, and until the firm of Secor, Berdan & Co. was organized in 1854, with which Mr. Berdan was connected until his retirement from active business, in January, 1877. Such change was largely the result of impaired health, caused in great measure by long years of incessant business cares, rarely interrupted by any cause. Few men in Toledo or elsewhere have passed as equal period of time in like unremitting devotion to the demands of trade -- made the more imperative by the steady increase and extension of its volume. Mr. Berdan's withdrawal from routine cares of trade, did not take him from the circles of business. While judiciously consulting health in comparative relaxation, he was not without interests furnishing exercise for his mind. He was for many years a stockholder and long a Director in the Second National Bank; was a stockholder and for seven or eight years a Director in the Toledo Gas Light and Coke Company; was a heavy stockholder and for an equal period a Director in the Wabash Elevator Company; and was among those who organized and put in operation 'the Maumee Rolling Mill, in which Company he was from the first and until his death a Director. In these various channels, both his capital and his superior business capacity were made effective to the common prosperity. In no sphere of action did Mr. Berdan more fully manifest his appreciation of the claims of his fellow-citizens upon his attention and aid, than in his long and prominent connection with the Fire Department of Toledo. Entering such volunteer service of the City as soon as old enough to warrant that relation, he maintained the same, with special success, won by personal sacrifice known to few of the present generation in Toledo. "Old No. One Engine Company," of which for years he was Foreman, was largely indebted to his untiring devotion, for the high position to which it attained, and which it held so long as the system of which it was a prominent part was in existence. Mr. Berdan was actively identified with the prosperity of First Congregational Church, Toledo, with which his father and family and his own family were connected throughout a period of over 50 years. He was long connected with the Middle Bass (Put-in Bay) Association, at which place with his family for many seasons previous to his death, he spent much of his time, and was greatly benefitted thereby. he was eminently a man of domestic attachments, whose chief happiness always was found within the charmed circle of his home. Mr. Berdan was married October 21, 1852, with Maria Waite, only daughter of Judge H. M. Waite, of' Connecticut, and sister of Chief Justice M. R. Waite and Richard Waite, of Toledo. She died in Toledo, September 3, 1864, aged 33 years. She left five daughters -- Mary B., wife of Walter Shepard, of Buffalo, New York; Ida M., wife of E. C. Bodman, now of New York City ; Alice A. (deceased), wife of Arthur E. Baker, of Toledo; Julia, wife of Oliver Rodgers, of Toledo; and Pamela, of Toledo. Mr. Berdan was married in New York June 21, 1866, with Mary Elizabeth Ketcham, who with three children -- Anna Secor, Frederick and John Milton -- survives him. Mr. Berdan had one brother -- John Berdan, so long associated with him in trade, and vet in the same business: and two sisters Rachel A., widow of the late V. H. Ketcham; and Mary M. (deceased), wife of Dr. E. M. Buckingham, of Springfield, Ohio. Not least of the many conditions contributing to the happy domestic circle of Mr. Berdan, has been the part borne therein by his venerable mother, throughout a widowhood now near a half-century in duration. Rarely, indeed, has a family been blessed with such presence and support; and even more rarely, has such blessing been attended by like precious results.



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