Crowds gather at Diehl Lake to mark 100 years
The all-day event attracted current and past Diehl Lake homeowners.
By JOSH ECHT
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
ELLSWORTH -- Diehl Lake has not changed much in nearly 60 years, but resident Bruce Thompson, 67, likes it the way it is.
Thompson, an eight-year resident, first experienced the lake in 1946, when he was 8 years old. His father bought a cottage on Diehl Lake in Ellsworth Township after World War II. Since then, the cottage has been passed down through the Thompson family. Thompson has lived in it since 1997.
Thompson, along with past and current Diehl Lake residents' families, celebrated the lake's 100th anniversary Saturday with a flag raising, a trap shoot, a hot air balloon, fireworks at dusk and an evening dance on the tennis courts.
Saturday's festivities attracted current and former residents from Arkansas to Avon Lake, Ohio.
"We estimated at least 500 people showed up," said Diehl Lake President Carol Franket. Franket moved to Diehl Lake from California in 1974 and said she has enjoyed it since.
Five-year resident Rick Durkin, Diehl Lake social chairman, said this year's crowd was the biggest ever, even topping the 75th anniversary festivities in 1980. Durkin lived in Youngstown before moving to Diehl Lake.
"We do July 4 festivities every year, but this year's celebration is the biggest," Durkin said. "You have four or five generations of families present today."
The Thompson family is an example of the Diehl Lake tradition.
Thompson said his family's cabin, which originally had no electricity, was a place to get away from the city. His father, an Alliance doctor, brought his family there on the weekends.
He said he met his wife, Gerry, in 1961 at Diehl Lake.
"Gerry's parents had a cottage here," Thompson said. The two married in 1963 and had the reception at Diehl Lake's clubhouse, he said.
Other Diehl Lake residents agree that the community hasn't changed much since they moved there -- and that that's a good thing.
"You see more vehicles, golf carts and such," said Keith Marsteller, a 25-year resident. "But the people are still friendly."
He said that, in addition to the people, he loves the community's water sports.
"I love the waterfalls, the lake and canoeing," Marsteller said, as he jumped off a diving board into the lake.
Months of planning
Phil May, Diehl Lake vice president and a resident since 1990, said a 10-person committee set up Saturday's event, which included a community dinner, with six months of hard work.
May said the committee mailed letters to more than 100 homes in the community and contacted former residents and invited them to the event.
Mark Porter, of Hammondville, Ohio, lived at Diehl Lake from 1960 to 1970. He said he met a lot of people he knew 35 years ago.
"A lot of people and their children moved back," he said. "The houses used to be just cottages, summer homes."
Nonresidents visiting for the day said they also enjoyed the tranquil atmosphere of the 242-acre community.
"It's a nice, back-to-nature community," said Lakewood, Ohio, resident Shannon Moriarty. Moriarty's boyfriend, Dan Knapp, is a Diehl Lake resident.
Resident Nancy Hospodar, a 5 1/2- year resident, said she likes how Diehl Lake's location is near cities but maintains its rural atmosphere.
"We're out in the country, but we're not far away," Hospodar said.