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Lakewood Lodge History Parallels Development of Coboconk

August 11, 2023

Lakewood Lodge, Coboconk, circa 1950

By Jenni Moffett

Originally Published in the Summer Times, July 15, 1986

Now the Saucy Willow

Where Albert Street bends into Water Street, just across from the Coboconk Cemetery, the Lakewood Lodge elegantly sits as one of Coboconk’s oldest structures. Built before Cedar Villa, the lodge has over the years been the home to many tourists and families during the summer. Today, the huge brick red and cream yellow mansion is painstakingly being restored and decorated to match the refined era of its heyday.

The Lakewood Lodge was constructed in three stages to its present size and shape. Originally, the lodge was a farmhouse, believed to be built in 1878 by Mr. Adam Henry Carl. The land on which the farmhouse sat was registered in 1872 and included all the land down to the end of Albert Street (that entire point) as well as the newest part of the present cemetery.

This property at the time, was one large hayfield, owned by the Carls. A barn out behind the farmhouse was used to keep stock in. The creek running behind the cemetery was known as “Carl’s Creek” as it ran adjacent to the Carl’s farm and property. The farm was operated by Adam Henry Carl up until about 1919.

Around 1919, a group of Americans from Lakewood, Ohio, purchased the farmhouse and used it as a summer residence until about 1927. In 1927, Mrs. Bertha Caton bought the house and property and began turning it into a summer lodge for visiting tourists.

The name “Lakewood Lodge,” which the Americans had nicknamed the summer home, was kept by Mrs. Caton and has named the building ever since. Mrs. Caton owned the lodge for some 40 years, and during that time, she sold off the lots of land making up the hayfield. Finally, when Mrs. Caton decided to give up the lodge, she sold it to Mr. Wally West. Mr. West kept the lodge from 1967 to 1983, then sold it to the present owners, the Goards.

At the side of the lodge is the main entrance onto the property. The entrance is marked by two large stone pillars. The pillars used to be larger with a stone wall about seven feet in length attached onto one side of each pillar. These gates of limestone were constructed by the Valentines, who were stone masons.

In the 1930s, electricity was added to the lodge. Because the building is so large and is able to keep so many people, a transformer is required for the lodge alone. When repairing the walls of the bedrooms it was found that the electrical wiring had been set up close to the surface of the walls instead of right inside the walls as it is today.

Mrs. Bertha Caton, who ran the lodge for about forty years, is still remembered by many as running an efficient and well-kept lodge. She was the first to run the lodge as a business, allowing summer tourists to live there for the summer. During the winter months she lived at the lodge by herself. When she purchased the lodge from the Americans, she paid as much as the Americans had bought it for. At this time, Lakewood Lodge was still a farmhouse with not enough room guests to room in, so she had the additions put on. Mrs. Caton also had twelve small cottages built around the main house for guests to room in. One of these cottages has since been moved across the river and became the home of Mrs. Lillian Tufts.

Although men often had to travel back and forth to their cities to go to work during the summer, the women and children usually stayed in Coboconk for the whole summer.

One of the greatest memories of the lodge was its food. Everything was homemade for the guests by Mrs. Caton and Mildred Faulkner, who used to help do the cooking. Every day there were fresh pies and muffins for the guests at the lodge. Milk was also brought to the lodge fresh each morning.

Mrs. Caton, in the early morning, would take the walk across the bridge at Carl’s Creek to pasture on the other side (presently the land owned by Mr. Arnold Richardson down to Mrs. Jean Shields’ property) where a single dairy cow roamed. She milked the cow and brought the milk back to the lodge. Chickens were also raised in a chicken coop by the house. Later the chicken coop was turned into a cabin and named the ‘Chicken Palace.’ Fresh vegetables were taken from a large garden, located next to where the present cemetery is, and apples were picked from a small orchard behind the house as well.

Mr. Ross Faulkner recalls the time when he and Rod Phillips used to dig up potatoes for Mrs. Caton. Their payment was “as many potatoes as you can each carry in a bag.” The two boys also wheeled manure down into the basement for Mrs. Caton so she could grow mushrooms. A good meal was also often made of fish.

When a sunny day came around, the guests were sometimes taken out into Balsam Lake by the guides, Everett and Bill Sheldon and George Burrage, and shown the best fishing spots. They spent the whole day there and upon catching some fish, a fish fry was held on one of the islands. Sometimes the ‘fishermen’ chose to take their catches back to the lodge for Mrs. Caton to cook up or the fish were packed in ice for the visitors to take back home with them.

Just in case there was no luck fishing during the day, Mrs. Caton packed a plentiful supply of sandwiches, fruits and sweets. Because there were no refrigerators back then, ice was very important in the storage of food. Large chunks cut from the river in the winter were stored in the ice house, adjacent to the main house and kept for summer use.

When indoor plumbing came into use, the cottages and main house had simple water systems installed. A series of underground pipes still runs all through the property surrounding the lodge. Water pipes also ran from Mrs. Caton’s house into the cemetery to a sprinkling system in order to keep the flowerbeds watered. As well as the cemetery, water pipes ran from the Lakewood Lodge down to a few houses near to the lodge. These water lines to the cemetery and other houses were made possible at Mrs. Caton’s own expense.

Upon turning the Carl’s farmhouse into a summer lodge open to the tourists of Coboconk, Mrs. Caton helped Lakewood Lodge to become a fine and well-known place of summer residence.

Today, the Lakewood Lodge, capable of seating 70 people for a meal, is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Goard. The lodge sits in the middle of its 1.98 acre lot, which includes a 1981 foot waterfront. It is no longer a lodge for tourists, but a family home for the Goard family.

The twelve cottages which used to occupy the lot were torn down and in 1960, four more modern cottages were built in front of the lodge and are presently being used as such. The Lakewood Lodge, with part of its structure being over 100 years old is unique and well worth the effort of being restored to commemorate its lively past.

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