The History of Big Alum Lake

Chapter 7

Fearing Cottage

Lorraine Bernheim Fearing tells the story of how her parents built this cottage (now 32 Mt. Dan Rd.) when she was nine years old. The family lived in Southbridge where her father had a small optical business. They would come by trolley at the beginning of the summer hauling all of their possessions...including her canary in its cage... and then continue on by horse and wagon to settle in for the season. Her father had a horse which he kept tied up behind the cottage and rode each morning to Fiskdale to take the trolley to work. They also kept chickens in a coop in the yard so that they could gather eggs and have some roast chicken dinners.

There was a farm on Brookfield Rd. where they would walk to buy their milk. For drinking water they used a spring behind Ken Gajewski's present home. The meals were prepared in a large cast iron wood range in the kitchen of the cottage. In a corner of the kitchen was a built-in ice box. There were several places on the lake where people would cut ice in the winter and preserve it in ice houses for the summer, thus providing the "cottagers" with refrigeration.


In this group photo, Grandma Fearing (Lorraine Bernheim Fearing) is sitting on the left in front.  Her father is seated above her on the left.  Her mother is third from left and her brother, Daniel Purcel Bernheim, is next.  The others are relatives... one gentleman has only one leg, having lost the other in the Civil War.  Note the canary's cage hanging from the porch rafter!

The Cottages