Sturgeon Point

Mapleton Beach

This sign is located at N41 41.642 W80 57.001.

Birthplace of a resort:

On July 4, 1869, Cullen Spencer, son of a Geneva Township settler, and Cullen’s friend, Edwin Pratt, opened a lakefront, public picnic ground in the area of what is now Mapleton Beach. Cool breezes, sandy beaches and huge trees made this area an ideal summer resort for affluent Cleveland families. Boarding houses, inns and cottages were constructed to cater to the guests’ needs.

Known as Mapleton Beach today, Sturgeon Point still “sticks out” into Lake Erie as it did in 1869, but the original picnic grounds have long succumbed to erosion.

Lake Erie fish

This point got its name from the schools of lake sturgeon that swam on the waters near the point. Harvey Spencer, an early settler, used his flat-bottomed boat to fish for lake sturgeon, a prehistoric-looking creature that could weigh up to 200 pounds. Most commercial fishermen despised sturgeon and routinely discarded them until the public developed a voracious appetite for the fish in the late 19th century. In one year alone, more than 5 million pounds of sturgeon were harvested from Lake Erie. Sturgeon were overfished and the fishery was decimated by 1906.

A cottage at Mapleton Beach, where Geneva-on-the-Lake got its start as a resort town in 1869.

A cottage at Mapleton Beach, where Geneva-on-the-Lake got its start as a resort town in 1869.

Sturgeon Point ought not be confused with the condo development of the same name to the west. The original Sturgeon Point remains the home of many cottages. The private drives in this section of The Strip end at the overlook that juts out into the lake.


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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