Geneva-on-the-Lake’s Fascination parlor is one of roughly a dozen left in the world.

This popular game, loosely based on tick-tack-toe and bingo, dates back to the 1930s. It relies upon a complex system of playing stations that are connected to a master router. Relays that were once used in analog telephone switching equipment and hand-wired circuits are part of this maze of electronics that require frequent repair.

As a result, some of the tables in the GOTL parlor are not in play; they either have broken glass or have been cannibalized for parts to repair other machines.

There were at least two parlors at the resort. The Pera family operated a “budget” version of the game in their arcade, which burned in 1979. The extant parlor was installed in the 1940s by Herb Thomas and uses a more advanced version of the game equipment.

Fascination requires at least one operator, who has collects the players’ money, starts the game and usually barks at the players from a public address system. When times are slow, he may stand in the parlor doorway and bark at passersby.

A coupon system is used. Winners accumulate the coupons to cash them in for prizes, usually at the end of the season. But some players have been known to save their coupons over multiple seasons in hopes of cashing them in for a cruise or big-screen television.


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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