The History of Big Alum Lake

Chapter 5


Ruth began coming to Big Alum with her parents at age 15.

1935: They pitched a tent on a relatively flat spot down by the water, a tent large enough for 3 cots. When it rained Mother and I would sit on the cots listening to the water beat on the canvas and gurgle under the tent on its race to the lake.

1936: The second year, we raised a larger unbrella tent on a wooden platform in a different location.
About once a week the lack of groceries would become critical (my father had the car for work). I would row our large, heavy wooden rowboat the length of the lake (usually against the wind) to the Italian Club, walking from there to the grocery store. Carrying groceries, we would walk back to the lake to row all the way to the north end, usually again against the wind.

At this time, many cottages were already on the lake, especially on the North and East sides. The South end was dotted with rental fishing shacks. The West side began with Happy Hemlocks and proceded intermittently up the lake.

1937 - 1938:  My best friend, Phyllis Whiteoak's family bought a small place in the cove by the island. After that, summers consisted of swimming back and forth, or canoeing back and forth to the Rice property to play tennis with Charlie.
1937: After a few seasons of tenting, a small one room cottage was built. A porch followed soon after. When my first baby was on her way (1946) my husband and Dad added two bedrooms. A few years later they added a third bedroom.

All of this, remember, was done entirely by hand since electricity had not yet been brought in to Big Alum. We used kerosene lamps and stove. I remember heating baby bottles in the middle of the night on a kerosene stove. Even after we had electricity, the power went out with every storm. We still have the old kerosene lamps on the wall.

Introduction, Chapters:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17