Monday, August 23, 2010

1930s Film of Life at College Camp - Lake Geneva, WI

I grew up in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin in the 50s and early 60s and although I have always had special memories of this wonderful place, recent research for a novel I am writing has deepened my love for the area.

But this site isn't just about me and my memories. It is my hope that others who grew up there, either for a few years or even still live there, will contribute their stories and memories of life back in the day.

I just came across old movies on You Tube taken in the 1930s by someone who attended George Williams College Camp in Williams Bay, a small village on the north shore of the lake. It comes complete with his narrative. College camp was owned for years by the YMCA and it now is owned by Aurora University.

Here's the video.

Since my novel is set in 1933, I am particularly interested in this video and have sat here transfixed. You will notice the excursion steam-operated boats going past. Many of the original boats that were privately owned at one time have been refitted with gasoline engines and still ply the shores, taking tourists around the lake.

The Wrigleys referred to in the audio is the Wrigley family of Wrigley Chewing Gum. They lived in Chicago, but built a large mansion on the lake to escape to during the hot summers in the city. Many Chicago millionaires did the same and found themselves living there longer than anticipated after the famous Chicago fire. Their home, called Green Gables, was torn down in the sixties because of its age. They replaced it with a new home, equally as elegant. That home has since been sold, but it is still there.

If you have memories of Lake Geneva, please send me a note via this blog and I'll be in touch. Also any old pictures of the area at that time would be fun to post. You will be able to write up your memory and I'll post it here!

I'll be posting more pictures of mine and memories.


  1. Looks good, Pam! Makes me wish I was from there. :)

  2. Pam,

    What fun! Great idea for a blog :-)


  3. This is wonderful. You really captured the time period with this. Feelings of cowboy boots, cap guns, and red wagons. Woohoo!

  4. Nice blog, Pam. I love Lake Geneva and have many fond memories of trips there with my family. I even honeymooned there!