THE BYSTANDER'S NOTES
Charles S. Rogers & L.K. Rogers, Publishers
Mount Pleasant News; Mount Pleasant, Henry Co, IA; Jan 10, 1947
It was with deep regret that our community read of the
protest of Mrs. Olive Cole Smith against more flagrant new despoiling of that
beloved private outdoor recreation center, known as Cedar Croft with its trees,
shrubbery, lake and memories. How young people, young women as well as young
men, could be so forgetful of property rights or so irresponsible in personal
conduct is hard to understand.
Cedar Croft, while being personal property, was and is
dedicated to the youth of this community. For nearly seventy years it has been a
possession of the Cole family, and during these years it has been developed and
maintained with the one object of being a spot where the youth of the community
could enjoy the premises to the full.
No “Keep Off” signs were ever posted at the entrances
of the premises. No forbidding barricades have ever closed the paths to the
rolling lawn or the waters of the lake. No one knows the money that has been
spent upon the place, that the youth of the community might enjoy it. And they
have enjoyed it, thousands and thousands of boys and girls, now grown, remember
Coles Pond and its encircling groves as among the happiest hours of their lives.
But every now and then the place has been despoiled by the
thoughtless or the willful. How any one could start a bonfire at the base of a
noble elm tree, growing on private property and dedicated to the pleasure of the
youth of the town, or break off branches of the beautiful weeping willows to
feed the bonfire is hard to explain. The people of
In going through a mass of local historical matter we
happened upon the manuscript of Olive Cole Smith’s story of
The “Boulder Lake Club” was organized in 1881. The boys
who joined the club took a pledge to refrain from the use of alcoholic beverages
and tobacco. So many children wanted to join the club, it was soon evident that
the pond must be enlarged to its present size. At the south end it was ten feet
deep with a diving board for the older boys. The runway to the barn was planted
with water lilies, which the boys soon pulled up, not caring for the beauty,
preferring it as a place to wade and play in the mud.
Three hundred boys and more than one hundred girls joined
the club. A man was hired to be on guard during the hours when the children were
supposed to be there. The children were a nuisance and the whole thing was an
expense, but neither trouble nor expense was then considered too great, if the
saloons could be kept out of
W.R. Cole remembering his own delight in the Indiana Sugar
Camp, bought ten acres north of the pond, planted a hundred or more sugar trees,
and was having dug out a shallow pond, north of the road for the little
children. He was often heard to remark, what fun the next generation of children
will have making maple sugar and playing in the shallow pond.
His joy in both projects came to a sad end in the death of
Charley Schreiner, who was drowned in the deep south end of the lake where small
boys were not allowed to go. Three small boys, Charley among them, could not
wait until one o’clock when the man would be on guard. They came sometime
after twelve. When two of them got dressed, so as to be safely away before the
man came, they found Charley’s clothes, but couldn’t find him, frightened
they ran to the house. , the alarm was sent out. Charley’s body was found in
the diving hole. W.R. Cole looked years older when he returned from delivering
the little body to his home and one time parishioners.
The joy in the Boulder Lake Club came to an end, and the
pond became what it was hen you Mr. Bystander first knew a place where children
came to play. The deep hole had been filled so any ordinary child could walk
safely all over the pond.
If the present experiment is a success, if
And what about the “sweet romance” you wrote about? In
the so called gay nineties romance was incidental to the run we had, tramping
all over Center township, seeking the shy wild flowers for our herbariums.
Romance probably went with us, on those long skating trips from
The college had picnics, the fraternities had picnics, the
sororities had picnics, we had bob sled rides with oyster suppers at the end,
anything and everything was made an excuse to get the crowd together. Petting
parties and blanket parties of twos were not even dreamed of in the gay
nineties. They seem a cheap imitation of “sweet romance” that made school
days so happy.
Real romance at
An old barn, and old house, and old eyes look back over the
pasture, and pond with reverence and respect for the old standards, when the
girls were so sure of their equality, they took it as a matter of course as did
The children are welcome, the students are welcome to share
our joy in Cedar Croft we ask only that they do to others property what they
wish others to do to theirs, and to set a high standard of the value of college
life especially in character building and behavior.
Olive Cole Smith
History Index *** Henry County Home
Copyright IAGenWeb, the submitters & IAGenWeb
Please read the IAGenWeb Terms, Conditions & Disclaimers
~all of which applies to the Henry county website.~