Starting in 1914


The following was sent in and written by: Carol Kinney, and her daughter 
Kelly Carpenter: 

   Hi, thanks for opening a web site to gather stories of early Big Star Lake History.  Our family was one 
of the earliest to settle, enjoy and treasure this "little slice of heaven."  Six generations of this family have 
continuously occupied the property. Early photos documenting various activities are attached.  

   My great-grandfather, Herman Wahl, of Chicago, Illinois purchased a special parcel of land, SIGHT 
UNSEEN, through the Chicago Tribune newspaper in 1914.  This included lakefront property as well 
as a beautiful marsh and forest land.  Thereafter, he traveled to Big Star Lake each summer with his wife, 
Bertha, and their four children - Henry, Emma, Ella and Herman.  In the beginning, they took a train from 
Chicago to Baldwin, then hired a team of horses and a wagon from Elmer Smith of the Star Lake Hotel 
to deliver them and their supplies to the lake property. By 1917, they traveled by car on very rough dirt 
and gravel roads to their cottage, called Oak Rest.  They had continuous company from an extended 
family each summer and enjoyed swimming, boating, fishing, and berry-picking. 

   The property was sold to Emma's husband, William Heideman, in 1922.  They and their 
three children, Adeline, William and Pearl continued to spend summers there and eventually brought their 
families.  During the 1930's, William built the Field's Club on part of the property.  It was a lodge that 
served as a "gentlemen's fishing and hunting club" for businessmen and doctors from Akron, Ohio, where 
he and Emma operated a restaurant and night club.  In addition to providing a summer haven for their nine 
grandchildren, they gave free weekly vacations to deserving newsboys from the Akron Beacon Journal 
newspaper.  William taught each child in his care to swim, catch bait, clean fish and cut wood.  He enjoyed 
the lake so much he retired there in the late 1940's, and built a permanent home.  He was well-known 
throughout Lake County as Santa Claus.  Both of his daughters, Adeline Rynn-Utter and Peal Bromley-
Slater also made permanent homes at the lake. 

    William also owned a business on the corner of 76th street and M-37, known as "Star Sales House".  
His daughter Adeline then took over and ran it for many years with her husband Lake County Clerk Taft 
Utter.  Kelly Carpenter also adds: After my Grandma died we had to sell the place.  The people who 
bought it tore the old building down, which was a load of history and stories as well.  The original owners 
of that were in the old Vaudeville acts and had an upper balcony made inside to put on performances, it 
was quite a neat old log building. 

                                    Pictures by Henry Wahl 


Wahl Cottage, "Oak Rest" 1917
 (Note high water level)


Beach Fashions from Marshall Field's 1917


Team and wagon used for deliveries  1919


Open range for local cattle on beach 1919


Herman and Bertha Wahl and family 1926


 Heideman grandkids in beach attire at Big Star Lake 1945


Carol Rynn on Big Star Lake shore with their cottage on the ridge 1945


William Heideman with grand children and friends on their homemade diving platform late 1940's


                        William Heideman with the Akron Beacon Journal Newsboys Big Star Lake late 1940's

Field's Club late 1940's


Oak Rest remodeled into Heideman's cottage  late 1940's

Rest reled into Hn's cottage  lae 1940's

Heideman's cottage 1960


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