Charles M. Warner, 1874-1939, was an influential businessman, farmer and GOTL land developer.
His parents, Nelson and Laura Warner, conducted the first boarding house at the resort, Orchard House.
Charles married Myrtle Butler of North Geneva, May 22, 1902. The first five years of their marriage, Mr. Warner owned and operated the Springbrook Ice Co., which cut, stored and retailed natural ice. It was later operated by Geneva Ice Company.
A carpenter, Charles Warner built, in 1911, the house and surrounding buildings that became known as the Colonial Hotel. It was built from lumber harvested in Geneva Township. Charles had beautiful flower gardens around the property and was proud of his fine, private apple orchard.
He aided in the town’s incorporation in 1927 and was a member of village council. He started the first electric power company at the resort and was president and manager of the Lake Shore Light and Power Company. He also was president of the Geneva on the Lake Land Company and aided in the creation of the municipal-owned course.
He also served on the Township Park Board and the Geneva Township school board. He was director of Lake Shore Water Co. and member of the Cemetery Board. He was one of the oldest members of the I.O.O.F. at Geneva, and a member of the township’s Republican Committee.
Charles and Myrtle had three children: Mrs. Jennie M. Keyes of GOTL, Ruby T. Mason, Geneva; and Howard T. Warner, a Geneva attorney.
Mr. Warner maintained a sugar bush and was tapping trees when he suffered a heart attack. He was able to return to the house but died later in the day.