Lakeside, Lighthouse heritage on display around Peninsula

Oct 18, 2023 | Featured, Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

Apple pies baked in the Keeper’s House fireplace in Dutch ovens during the Marblehead Lighthouse Festival kept Becky Shemanski of Oak Harbor peeling apples, and Suzy Wittenmyer of Catawba Island creating the delicious pies for visitors. (Photo by D’Arcy Egan)


Retired Ottawa County Judge Paul Moon settled in front of the fireplace of the warm and cozy Keeper’s House on the Marblehead Peninsula on Saturday during the 27th annual Lakeside-Marblehead Lighthouse Festival.

Moon can spin spell-binding tales about the history of Ottawa County and, more poignantly, the history of the Marblehead Peninsula.

Children’s Arts & Crafts classes were a big hit at Lakeside’s Hoover Auditorium. Sophia, 6, and Violet, 8, were visiting from North Ridgeville and were busy creating colorful bracelets. (Photos by D’Arcy Egan) (Photo by D’Arcy Egan)

Over hot coals in the Keeper’s House fireplace, Ron Hart of Marblehead was tending a pair of Dutch ovens, baking delicious apple pies created moments before by Becky Shemenski of Oak Harbor and Suzy Wittenmyer of Catawba Island.

The scent of the pies was delightful, a treat for visitors at the keepers House. The stories that are part and parcel of Moon’s family history were insightful, and entertaining.

A damp and chilly October Saturday at the Lakeside-Marblehead Lighthouse Festival didn’t deter the Sowers Family from Delaware, Ohio, from enjoying the sights and sounds of downtown Lakeside. Grace and Caleb Sowers had their hands full with Sully, 5, Alice, 2, and Oliver, 7 months. (Photos by D’Arcy Egan) (Photo by D’Arcy Egan)

Moon is a descendant of Benajah Wolcott, the first keeper of the Marblehead Light, as well as William Kelly, who built both the light and the Keeper’s House. Benajah Wolcott was Moon’s fourth great-grandfather. William Kelly, the man who built the lighthouse and built the Keeper’s House, is his third great-grandfather, Moon said.

“The lighthouse keeper’s daughter married the lighthouse builder’s son, and that’s my dad’s family,” said Moon, long a keeper of his family’s place in history. Moon was also long-time President of the Ottawa County Historical Society.

The Apple Dumplings are an annual delight at the Lakeside United Methodist Church. Pam Holzaepfel of Lakeside said church members sold more than 2,350 apple dumplings, often with an ice cream topping. (Photo by D’Arcy Egan)

Gale force winds and turbulent waves kept the crowds at the festival from climbing the iconic lighthouse steps on Saturday, just a couple of miles away from the Keeper’s House. A rowdy Lake Erie joined the lighthouse as a favorite tourism photo opportunity rated tops in the Buckeye State. There was still a lot to see and do on Saturday, however, especially at nearby Lakeside Chautauqua, a resort community that shares the special festival.

Lakeside was open for business, its shops were busy and restaurants were welcome comfort stations on the windy day. Youngsters could be found creating bracelets and Jam Dancing at the Hoover Auditorium, with families listening to the music of Lance Horwwedel and enjoying the RW Magic Show.

Ron Hart kept the fireplace coals stoked at the Keeper’s House on the Marblehead Peninsula in order to bake apple pies in a pair of Dutch ovens, a taste treat for visitors getting a taste of local history. (Photo by D’Arcy Egan)

The legendary apple dumplings were again offered at the Lakeside United Methodist Church, as well as a welcome bowl of hot soup. Pam Holzaepfel kept the dumplings coming all morning, many served with a dollop of ice cream. She reported that this year’s dumpling demand reached 2,350 of the tasty confectionary, the same as usual.

Arts & Crafts vendors filled most every available indoor space, with a stream of visitors browsing the Wesley Lodge, South Auditorium and Wo-Ho-Mis Lodge.

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