LWC Annual Tour of Cottages
The Lakeside Women’s Club (LWC) Annual Tour of Cottages will resume this summer following a two-year postponement due to COVID, making it the 64th Annual Tour of Cottages. This year’s event will take place on Thursday, July 28 from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and feature six cottages within the Lakeside Chautauqua gates.
Tickets for the tour are $12 and available for purchase at the LWC Green Gables, located at 161 Walnut Ave. On the day of the event, a special Tour of Cottages Pass to enter the Lakeside gates is available to purchase at the Fifth Street or South Gate entrances for an additional $12 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. if a Daily, Weekly or Season Chautauqua has not already been purchased. Parking is included with this special pass; however, it does not include admission to the Hoover Auditorium show that evening or the Grindley Aquatic & Wellness Campus Pool. Please note that parking inside Lakeside is limited.
Once inside the gates of Lakeside, a tour ticket can be purchased at the Lakeside Women’s Club Green Gables or at one of the two tables located at the Fifth Street Gate or South Gate entrance the day of the tour. A map of the cottages and shuttle service by LWC volunteers will be provided. Click here to view cottages.
2022 Featured Cottages
Cottage # 1, Lemmon Aid
303 Lynn Ave.
Patty & John Wiechel
Patty and John Wiechel are the owners of this yellow cottage on the corner of Lynn Avenue and Third Street, full of rich heritage, history, family warmth and energy. Lemmon Aid was built in 1908 by Theresa Rachel Tibbs Lemmon of Toledo, Ohio. The name spelling and color of the cottage are tributes to the family.
“Auntie Lemmon” built this cottage as a summer retreat where she could socialize with her friends and play shuffleboard (the family still uses her shuffleboard cue occasionally). In all, there have been seven generations of her family who have used and lived in Lemmon Aid. Interestingly, there have been only four owners of the cottage, with the longest ownership being 76 years by Robert Wiechel, Theresa’s great, great nephew. Theresa’s great niece was Margaret Cummer Wiechel, who was married to George Wiechel in the living room of this cottage in 1922. One might say Lemmon Aid is a family tradition.
As with any cottage surviving 112 years, there have been renovations, additions and changes. As the family grew, the second bedroom was split in half to make a three-bedroom cottage. Two sleeping porches were added in the late 1930s early 1940s. George added a foundation in the 1960s. Robert made extensive renovations in the 1980s, including updating plumbing, wiring, the kitchen, bathroom, and fireplace and removing four layers of asphalt and one layer of cedar shingles. The most recent renovation involved replacing original windows, reroofing, making a children’s bunk room, painting and removing the oil stove. (Insurance underwriters deemed a 55-gallon drum strapped to the side of the house and filled with heating oil is a hazard. Go figure!)
Many of the original pieces of furniture remain. Theresa’s high headboard bed is still in use along with the matching marble topped dressers. Liz Riedmaier’s (George’s mother) dining hutch graces the dining room. Margaret’s childhood rocker awaits any child to try it out in the living room. Other vintage dressers, tables, chairs and a Standard pedal sewing machine are in use or awaiting restoration.
Cottage #2, Blue Skies
449 Sycamore Ave.
Christine & Allen Houk
The summer of 1997 brought the Houks to Lakeside as a last-minute vacation, and the whole family fell in love with the community. During the Tour of Cottages on July 23, 2015, this cottage held an open house, and it captured all the “wishes” they had for a cottage.
Originally, this cottage was transferred from the Lakeside Company to the Lakeside Camp Meeting Association in 1903. From 1916-1963, the home was in the Phillabaum family. For five years, it was owned by Jack Walton Hedges until it was transferred to the Rev. Harley J. Martin in 1968. The Martin family sold the property to Brian and Christine Brucken in 2006, who completed the renovation work, which was recognized in 2015 with an award from Lakeside’s Historic Preservation & Design Review Board.
The Houks have collected photos of the “before and after” of various renovation projects. The most striking photos are of the creation of the staircase, their favorite feature of the house, which replaced a wrought iron spiral staircase. The first-floor master suite, the mudroom at the rear of the house, and stamped concrete porch floor are design highlights. The interior furniture and textiles of the Bruckens remain as they complement lake life of sailing and fishing.
The landscape is low maintenance using vibrant perennials and colorful container annuals to set the summer scene. The neighbors to the south and previous owners put in the shared bed and row of arborvitae, which provide a beautiful screen to the backyard.
The Houks operate a CPA firm in Grove City, Ohio. Their adult children still move mountains to come to Lakeside at least once a year. One trip they were brainstorming names for the cottage when their future daughter-in-law asked what made Lakeside so special. The reply was that it called to mind Louis Armstrong’s song What a Wonderful World. Blue Skies was the name even before the cottage was purchased. Blue Skies has many special meanings tied to their family, music, optimism and choosing to see the good in the world, and now Blue Skies is their Lakeside home.
520 Jasmine Ave.
Amy & Tim Maxey
How does a family of six live in just a little over 600 square feet? By being very organized and having every square foot planned with a purpose, plus it’s easy to clean and maintain.
The history of this cottage began in the early 1970s. The Rev. Paul Milheim, a Lutheran pastor, built this A-frame cottage himself. The Rev. Milheim’s father was also a Lutheran pastor, and their extended family came for ALC Lutheran Chautauqua weeks. So, when he wanted to build a place for the family to gather, 520 Jasmine Ave. was it.
The main part of the cottage was completed by 1972 or 1973. The kitchen area and decks were added later in the 1970s or early 1980s. Property was inexpensive in those days. Additionally, the Rev. Milheim had a member of his congregation who owned a lumber company and helped provide him with lumber and equipment. Rev. Milheim managed to get the arches up by himself even though he had never done any construction before.
At that time, he was pastor of Good Hope Lutheran in Bucyrus, Ohio, so it was easy for him to go back and forth on his days off. Being a pastor, he moved from time to time, but the family always had the Lakeside cottage to call “home” because that never changed. Rev. Milheim was partial to A-frames and cabins in the woods. The original structure had the main room, the current bedroom was the kitchen, and the loft for sleeping. The Rev. Milheim’s son still has the blueprints. It was a difficult decision for Paul’s adult children to sell the cottage.
In 2018 or 2019, Milheims sold it to Kristen Blackwood and Sean Sudduth. Kristen and Sean had remodeled two other cottages inside Lakeside and had a vision for the unique cottage and totally remodeled it. They gutted it and installed a solid foundation, new walls, windows, doors and floors. The kitchen is very functional and includes a small washer and dryer. To this day the footprint of the cottage has never changed.
The current owners, Amy and Tim Maxey first came to Lakeside in 2010 as a couple for a visit and stayed in the Fountain Inn. After that, the family came and stayed in the Hotel Lakeside, the Campground or in rentals. Ironically, Amy and Tim pondered purchasing this cottage before it was remodeled. They decided against the purchase as the cottage needed too much work, but they did like the A-frame design. Later, when they saw it for sale, they liked the tongue and groove ceiling and the loft for its possible use as sleeping quarters for their children. Now they are the fourth owners of this tiny gem.
Their children enjoy fishing, paddleboarding, pickleball and sand volleyball, as well as Middle Grade Madness, meeting new friends and ice cream. Tim and Amy like the relaxing atmosphere of Lakeside and the programs at Hoover Auditorium.
Cottage #4, The Turtle
330 Jasmine Ave.
Anita & Joe Gerstle
The Lakeside Company built this cottage in 1890. It has retained the original horsehair plaster ceilings and walls, two-over-two windows, 5 1/2“ floorboards and original woodwork in the oldest parts of the house. The first owner was schoolteacher Mary Cooper, and according to Ottawa County Tax Records, the value of the property was $140 when she bought it. Later, Frank and Agnes Krynock lived in the house for 31 years, raising their family while Frank worked in Lakeside. They added the indoor bathroom in the 1940s and the garage in the 1950s.
The current owners, Joe and Anita Gerstle, purchased the house in 1979. For a turtle to get ahead in life, it has to stick its neck out. The Gerstles felt like they were really sticking their necks out, thus The Turtle was named. Over the years, they have stripped wallpaper and seven layers of paint off the original woodwork to lovingly restore it to its natural wood appearance.
The family’s first contact with Lakeside was possibly Joe’s mother when she came as a teenager with a girlfriend in the 1930s. In the 1940s, Anita’s dad came to Conference, and in the 1950s, Joe’s family came for long weekends and Anita’s brother attended church camp. By the 1970s, the Gerstles came for week-long vacations with both sides of the family.
A major remodeling was done in 2004 to eliminate the “chopped-up/added on” look. All additions were done to maintain the appearance of the original 1890 Victorian house. The cottage is filled with treasures – family furnishings, paintings created by family, grandmother’s bedroom furniture and childhood furniture. The kitchen overhead shelf is full of memorabilia from all four sets of the couple’s grandparents. The quilt in the green bedroom was started in the 1940s and all five generations of Lakesiders have done some stitching on it during its 70-year construction. At least one week a year the Gerstles gather to hold a family celebration. It is just part of the Lakeside experiences the Gerstles have come to enjoy here.
302 E. Second St.
Georg-Anne & Marshall Cunningham
This cottage is a Craftsman style house and has been in the Heckenhauer family since 1941. Various family members have owned it and Georg-Anne and Marshall bought it in 2009 to continue the Lakeside tradition for generations four and five.
Many friends and family have visited and stayed at this cottage. Perhaps the most interesting guests were German prisoners of war from Camp Perry. Vera Heckenhauer (Georg-Anne’s grandmother) and Lillian (Georg-Anne’s great aunt) hosted them for dinner a few times and Lillian spoke, read and wrote fluent German.
Marshalls’ great grandfather, Levi Deardorff, made many pieces of furniture in the cottage. The furniture was built between 1860-1880. Notable pieces are the bed in the green room and the clock in the dining room. Georg-Anne’s father, William Heckenbhauer, refinished the icebox, which was in the cottage when purchased. There is a secret passage connecting the living room with the kitchen. Four generations of children have enjoyed discovering this feature. There is also a small collection of Isaly Dairy items in the kitchen.
Georg-Anne came to Lakeside as a baby as did her cousins, sisters, children and grandchildren. Marshall was introduced to Lakeside when he was dating Georg-Anne. Many family members make the journey to the community at least once a year, which was the reason for purchasing this cottage. The couple has owned this home for 11 years. Four generations of the Heckenhauer family have worked at Lakeside. Hopefully, there will be a member of generation five doing so this summer.
Cottage #6, The Enchanted Cottage
224 E. Second St.
Although this cottage was on tour in 2007, the interior is totally different now that this has become a forever home for Lynne Woods. This cottage was built in 1910. Woods purchased the cottage in 2002 from Bob and Margene Reese. In 2019, Woods decided to winterize the cottage and move there permanently. It sounds simple, but little did she know the many challenges ahead.
Feick Design Group in Sandusky was hired with two requests from Woods: 1) do not change the outside at all and 2) design an interior for a little old lady. After several months, the project was started. What was supposed to be a remodel turned into a reconstruction. The entire back half of the cottage was not on a foundation and was slowly sinking. The remaining part of the cottage had to be stripped down to the studs. Then COVID happened!
After many hurdles and delays and another 10 months of waiting, Woods was able to move in August 2020. The floorplan was redesigned for single floor living. The second floor became “the Loft” and is a favorite spot for family and other visitors. Most of the furnishing and decor came from her “favorite things” list. All fixtures, lighting, flooring, cabinets etc. were purchased online as the pandemic forced Woods to shop from home. She kept the name The Enchanted Cottage. This comes from a 1940s movie starring Robert Young and Dorothy McGuire and is a favorite movie of Woods.