Baldwin Spencer Cottages (Lavender’s)


The Baldwin-Spencer Cottages, previously the Baldwin Cottages and Spencer Cottages, were located west of the Rowdon Cottages.

The three cottages  owned by James Lavender, were built circa 1938 behind the house that fronts The Strip. They are the Cape Cod, Blue Moon and Beach View, although the signs have been removed. These cottages were owned by Heber Spencer.

Heber and Clara Bennett Spencer owned the Youngstown Manor cottages on the south side of Lake Road, across from Heber’s lakefront property. Heber and Clara divorced in 1939; Clara received Youngstown Manor and Heber retained the lakefront property on which he built the cottages.

A February 1929 survey map shows that the three lots had 49 feet of frontage each and extended from the street to the beach. The lot west of Rowdon was owned by Ella Spencer and Marguerite Ormsby (later Baldwin). The next lot was owned by Heber C. Spencer and Bert Taylor.

Spencer and Baldwin married after Heber’s divorce from Clara in 1939. Thus the three Baldwin cottages and three Spencer cottages were combined into a six-cottage operation.

The operation was owned by school-teacher partners, then broken up when the row of eastern-most cottages was sold to James Lavender and the former Baldwin Cottages sold to Bill Porter.

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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