Cowles Creek

Cowles Creek picnic point



 A postcard depicts a much larger Cowles Creek than exists today.

A postcard depicts a much larger Cowles Creek than exists today.

An island once stood in Cowles Creek.

An island once stood in Cowles Creek.

Cowles Creek rises in Austinburg Township and receives the waters of Muddy Brook and Marsh Creek before ending its journey at Lake Erie, west of The Lodge.

Noah Cowles is the stream’s namesake. He was the first white man to settle near the stream, in Austinburg Township. Cowles went deeply in debt on
a gristmill project in Mechanicsville and a vain attempt to save the life of his sickly wife.

A narrow and shallow waterway today, in Cowles’ era this creek was the site of a dock that received shipments of limestone from Kelly‘s Island; the stone was reduced to lime in a kiln on Cowles Creek. A lumber industry also developed in this area due to the stands of high quality whitewood, used for building, and white oak, which was milled into barrel staves that were shipped to Europe.

In the early 20th century, this area was eyed for a steel mill project. Land was acquired by the steel company Jones & Laughlin.



There also were discussions about building a lake port at the mouth of Wheeler, Cowles or Indian creeks as the northern terminus of a proposed canal linking the lake to the Ohio River.

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

Memories of Ford's

Most of my summer childhood memories are at Ford’s! My parents met there right at the picnic table. We vacationed there every summer along with my grandparents and great aunt and uncle until they passed away. We made amazing friends there that we still vacation with on Putnam Drive!! I could never thank the Payne’s enough for my childhood memories. Playing Indians in the huge back yard, solving make-believe mysteries, playing release and listening to everyone playing penny poker when my sister and I should have been sleeping. I now bring my son to Geneva every summer. He is the 5th generation at Geneva!

Sara Turner Campos

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)


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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