Beaches and Erosion

A grandmother and grandchild explore the power of Lake Erie on a summer day at Geneva State Park's beach. The lake's waves, during times of high lake levels, under cut the bluffs along the shoreline and eventually claim the land.

A grandmother and grandchild explore the power of Lake Erie on a summer day at Geneva State Park’s beach. The lake’s waves, during times of high lake levels, under cut the bluffs along the shoreline and eventually claim the land.

 

This sign is located at N41 51.711 and W90 56.394

Shifting sands:

Pier peach

Geneva-on-the-Lake’s fame as a resort town was built partially on its beaches, which stretched from end to end of the resort. Virtually every business or cottage owner on the lakefront had a beach that offered both swimming and cool breezes for the guests.

mapleton

The beaches began to shrink in the 1960s, and they have never come back. Some blame the high lake levels that are set, in part, by the Army Corps of Engineers to satisfy the needs of the commercial freighter traffic on the lake. Others say construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway in the 1950s is to blame. And others feel there is a correlation between the loss of sand and State Park construction, which created a man-made marina and harbor, to the west.

An aerial view of the lakeshore prior to construction of the Geneva State Park and Marina shows the width of the beaches, circa 1960s. Photo from the Ashtabula Star Beacon files.

An aerial view of the lakeshore prior to construction of the Geneva State Park and Marina shows the width of the beaches, circa 1960s. Photo from the Ashtabula Star Beacon files.

=Newspaper clippings from the early 1960s tell stories of severe beach erosion at properties along The Strip following major storms. The beaches never returned, although several property owners took heroic steps to protect what remained of their beaches.

Uncle toms

Public access to beaches at GOTL is very limited due to private ownership of north-side properties along The Strip. The best place to experience Lake Erie is at the State Park. Follow signs off Route 534 to reach the beach, on the west side of the park.

Nearby public beaches include Walnut Beach in Ashtabula, Lake Shore Park in Ashtabula Township and Conneaut Township Park in Conneaut. All three of these beaches provide public access and amenities such as restrooms and concessions.

Beach at Conneaut Township Park, Route 531, approximately 35 minutes east of GOTL.

Beach at Conneaut Township Park, Route 531, approximately 35 minutes east of GOTL.

 


Our guests remember:

Pirl Beach

I spent the summer of 1942 in Pirl Beach (at age 16) and worked part time for the manager pulling weeds and such. Also swam every day. My Pittsburgh relatives had reserved a cottage there for many years. My aunt and cousins stayed. My uncle commuted weekly in his Buick. The Pirl Beach manager used a Model T Ford truck for his chores.

Ken Ford

Chestnut Grove

My extended family and I vacationed at Chestnut Grove from 1948-1964. Being from McKeesport, it was a dream come true to go there every summer. I currently live in Michigan but go back occasionally. Not too long ago, I found a post card of some of the cottages where the swings and horseshoe pit were and a local artist is making me a 24×36 painting of it. I can't wait to see it! So many wonderful memories and so few things left as reminders. It is nice to know that others still remember and care.

Michelle Turner ( a Chestnut Grove Kid)

Idle-A-While

We vacationed every summer at Idle-A-While in the late '50s and early '60s, partially because my aunt was the receptionist there. I often got to ring the bell summoning guests to breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dining room, which was staffed by co-eds from various universities. Evenings were spent playing bingo, fascination and other games on the strip or bridge and poker back at Idle-A-While. Great memories.
John Bloom

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