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MIDDLE BASS And Her Attractions

1898 text from reference (12) in the Bibliography

Go forward to 1913 Version

As one of the triplets which comprise the "Bass" group, Middle Bass Island is a section of the same emerald, so to speak, as that from which, Put-in-Bay was cut. Its coves and shore lines are pretty and picturesque, and the place as a whole forms a natural garden spot. The primitive name, "Isle de Fleurs," is significant, and the blooms of field and forest not only; but fruits, and foliage and vegetation, both wild and cultivated, unite in rendering it a perfect dream of beauty.

Middle Bass is shaped something like a duck --- minus the legs --- the neck forming East Point, a long, narrow projection luxuriant with tangles of wild growths and picturesque with rough rocks, and a tumbled beach over which ranting storms rush and roar.

A sort of "John O'Groat'shouse" occupies the extreme point, rising boldly over creviced shore and dashing sea. 

The tail of the duck is formed by the bobbed off western portion of the island. Upon this caudle appendage is located the grounds of the Middle Bass club with its buildings and improvements. That Middle Bass holds, as a summer resort, an important place, is due to its charming location and convenience of access not only, but also to the enterprise of this association, which has expended a large amount of money in fitting up for the use of its members and invited guests during summer heats a most delightful rendezvous.

The approach thereto from the main landing at Wehrle's is by an angling road which cuts through rich tracts of vineyard and orchard lands, while to left and right appear the neat dwellings of islanders, with their pretty yards and gardens.

The grounds are sheltered by natural forest trees and the situation is refreshingly cool and breezy. In addition to the magnificent club house with massive tower and wide, cool verandahs, they also contain a handsome pavilion and boat house, a Gothic chapel in which religious services are conducted, 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 unrivalled beauty and elegance. There are no fences to give to the place an air of littleness or exclusiveness and the lawns and grass plots reach unbroken to the gutter and are miracles each of the gardener's skill. Every beautiful and artistic effect is studied in the arrangement of vines, vases, plants and shrubbery, and every detail is looked after with the most scrupulous neatness and care. Pavements of smooth, white stone, sawed into blocks of uniform size and thickness, edge the main avenues and connect the club grounds with the steamboat wharves and piers.

During the summer season a ferry line steamer - Le Roy Brooks - runs between the club ground and Put-in-Bay, and viewed from the steamer's decks as she approaches the former place, presents an exceedingly attractive appearance. Club resorters crowd the wide pier, idly promenade the avenues, or recline in the deep, cool shadows of spreading trees. Cots, ca~Lp chairs, rockers and tete-a-tetes stand ready for occupation, and luxurious hammocks swing invitingly.

The club consists of 200 members, having been limited to that number, and represents some of the wealthiest and most influential families of Toledo, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Springfield, Dayton, Chicago and other cities.

In the club membership, or on the list of invited guests, annually appear names of prominent men such as Governor Asa Bushnell and representatives of his staff; Senator Foraker, General J. Warren Keiffer, Judge Haynes, ex-Secretary of the Treasury Charles Foster, and Senator Hanna. These, and other distinguished public men, with their families, are members or guests at this resort. Among society people of prominence entertained there from time to time may be mentioned the Misses Clay of Lexington, Kentucky; Miss Rusk, daughter of Jeremiah Rusk, Mrs. Reese, sister of Senator Sherman, and ladies of like prominence.

The cottage of John Berdan has won distinction as the home, for two or three weeks during his presidential campaign, of Benjamin Harrison and family, who were then guests of the club.

Life at the club is delightful, and rest, recreation and happiness are found in measure unrestricted. Lawn tennis, bicycle riding, bathing, boating and other pastimes occupy old and young. Music by the hotel orchestra, piano or mandolin may be heard during the afternoon and evening. Singing by select solo and quartette performers fill the air with a medley of sweet sounds, Rehberg's hall echoes to the feet of dancers, gaily painted boats and swift winged yachts put out from shore laden with pleasure parties. Propellers, cargo laden, and strings of barges bound up and down the great 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 this little earthly paradise.

Among resorts there is none which so strongly attracts the gayer portion of visiting crowds than that known as "Wehrle's Hall" where:

'Youth and pleasure meet

To chase the glowing hours with flying feet,"

For by day and night from the opening of the season to its close are heard the sounds of music and the dance, and thousands come and go, as many as a thousand persons having been on some occasions represented in the hall, the assemblage consisting of hotel guests from Put-in-Bay, island dwellers and parties from Sandusky and other points who arrive on moonlight excursions. On such occasions the hall is a blaze of light, the orchestra plays, the whistle of busy ferry boats is heard - the Ina, a well known and favored little steamer and other boats being represented - and red and green lights twinkle across the channel waters.

At a late hour when the entertainment is over, and the steamers with their crowds move away, the band strikes up a lively selection, a cannon mouths forth a parting salute and shouts and cheers resound.

Wehrle's hall occupies the upper portion of an extensive building fronting the steamboat wharves, and is reached from the outside by flights of stairs. A wide balcony projects over the entire front and across the end overlooking the residence and private grounds of the late Andrew Wehrle. The hall is wainscotted with light oak or maple. At one end is the music platform, at the other end billiard and other tables. From a side counter customers order refreshments of all sorts, which may be had, from a dish of ice cream to wines of every brand, and the tempting goblet with its color and sparkle and seductive sweets goes round.

Under the hall are the vaults of the Wehrle Wine company, which contains, it is said, some of the largest casks in the world.  

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Revised: 21 Jul 2008 07:49:56.

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