Mar 24 2008

Camp Lady of the Lake – Erie Township

Published by at 11:09 am under Hiking: Monroe


Monroe County’s Lake Erie shoreline is dotted by places with questionable public access.  Perhaps the most mysterious of these is the “Lady of the Lake” property at the eastern terminus of Erie Road in Erie Township.

Access to the property can be gained by taking the Erie Road exit from I-75 and traveling east.  Once past the access roads to the Consumers Energy Whiting Power Plant, a visitor should park at a small lot at the Erie Road dead end.

From this point, a walker will see a gate with a gap wide enough for pedestrians.  A short walk east brings the visitor to the Lake Erie shoreline and some pretty nice views of Turtle Island, several lighthouses and the Woodtick Peninsula.

Once at the shore, it is possible to walk south along the peninsula for three or four miles, depending on how adventurous a hiker is.  The peninsula breaks into a series of islands along the way, but underwater sand bars make pedestrian access possible during good conditions.  Here’s a link to a previous blog post about this walk:

Conversely, a walk north along the beach brings the visitor to the old Lady of the Lake camp.  Entry to the property passes by an old and mysterious arching gate that reads “Lady of the Lake.”

Several old cement posts with “LL” remain standing at the property entrance.

It is difficult not to wonder about the history of this location.  I have not come across any good histories of the camp, but it was apparently a church-run camp for kids that closed because of flood damage at some point several decades in the past.

The absence of a widely-distributed true history of the land has caused many imaginative minds to fill in the blanks with a variety of supernatural conjectures.  Some have theorized that the spirit of an old lady haunts the old camp.  Others theorized that children were once murdered there.  I do not believe any of these stories to be true, but they sure add some mystery to an otherwise mundane piece of property.  Here are some links to those stories:

Whatever the history, the location is now in need of some care and attention.  During a walk along the shore of the camp, I came across several large pieces of debris that had either washed-up on the shore or were dumped by thoughtless individuals.

The property has a zebra-mussel-shell-filled beach with several old foundation stones that peek up out of the water.  Erosion seems to have taken a toll here and the beachline seems greatly reduced from past years.

Just inland of the beach, a strip of woods shades an old access road/path in a north-south fashion for the length of the property. 

It is possible to reach Luna Pier’s public outlet to Lake Erie by walking north along the beach or along the inland path.

At this outlet, a short walk west brings a walker pretty much face to face with the Luna Pier city boat launch.  The old interurban railway bridge crosses at this point, so it is physically possible to cross into the City of Luna Pier at this point.

Interior portions of the property protect what is probably the most important features from an environmental perspective.  Watery marsh provides a home for muskrats, birds and other marsh-dwellers.  This property is a part of a large complex of marshes that extends southward into the Erie State Game Area, the Nature Conservancy’s Erie Marsh Preserve and several small pieces of public land attributed to other public agencies.

Before I go any further, I need to address the question of public access to the property.  Michigan law provides that beach access up to the ordinary high water mark is permissible, given that a beach walker has a legal entry via land to the beach.  Consumers Energy has long allowed access to the beach at this location via the parking lot mentioned earlier.

Consumers has also long allowed a hiker to walk the beach south to the Woodtick Peninsula.  It is the only land access into most of the Erie State Game Area.  On several occasions, I have approached the plant security personnel at the plant gate and asked about the situation.  The answer has always been that it is okay as long as I stay along the shore.  The interior dikes off the beach to the south are now clearly marked with “No Trespassing” signs.  But the beach is still clearly open to the public.  And I have occasionally seen DNR officers here to check fishing licenses.

The Lady of the Lake property is more complicated.  I believe that the actual beach is public, but I have questions about the interior portions.  The interior beach ridge is not marked with “No Trespassing” signs and it is possible to hike to Luna Pier’s launch outlet without encountering such signs.  And it is clear that many, many people do walk there.  But this might just be benign neglect on the part of Consumers Energy.

I am very sure that the marsh areas inland are not publicly accessible.  There are several signs indicating as much on the initial parking lot-to-beach access.

To, me this location is one of the most important areas in regards to public access on Monroe County’s Lake Erie shore.  There are many miles of hiking paths on the Woodtick and in the Erie Marsh.  To the north, Luna Pier is one of the most pedestrian-friendly communities in all of Monroe County.  This property connects these two locations.  It *could* become the core building block for an eventual Lake Erie trail along Monroe’s shoreline.

Consumer’s Energy has scheduled a press conference for this Tuesday afternoon to address the future of the Lady of the Lake property.  I am curious about these plans and will provide links and updates as they become available.

Here is a view of the property from Microsoft Virtual Earth with my walk route:

56 responses so far

56 Responses to “Camp Lady of the Lake – Erie Township”

  1. Ann Ravenstineon 16 Aug 2008 at 8:06 pm

    Thanks for this — I grew up in Sandusky, Ohio and went to Camp Lady of the Lake one summer. It was a Catholic camp, run by nuns who also ran an orphanage. Some of the children at the camp were orphans being cared for by the nuns. (At least this is what I remembered — I am 60 years old, and I was 8 when I attended the camp). Don’t know if this is the same one, but my guess is that it is. Some of the pictures seems vaguely familiar, but of course the camp is apparently gone, and this was 52 years ago.

  2. […] […]

  3. Sharon Lynnon 21 Sep 2008 at 4:19 pm

    I attended Camp Lady of the Lake when I was about 9 years old (1964-65).
    At that time Saint Anthony’s Villa, an orphange, was operating there, don’t know if they owned it.

    It was the one of the last years the Villa utilized the lake, because that fall, they moved into the the building located on Central Ave in Toledo, between Upton and Douglas. This was a well rounded facility, with a built in pool, and alot of property, to keep all the activies in one location year round.

    I have fond memories of that camp. Prior to that, my mother had passed away and my dad had to place us with St Anthony’s Villa. They helped him care for us so he could work. We had fun, there were alot of activities, even though it was as very sad time in my life.

    I remember taking walks and crossing over the railway bridge pictured above. The beach at the camp is where I learned to swim.

  4. Jim Leeon 19 Feb 2009 at 1:32 pm

    I was one of the male camp counselors in the late 1960s. Most of us were seminarians from St. Meinrad College. Charlie Needham, a seminarian from Toledo, was the ringleader.

    I have a lot of memories from this period of time, most of them good. But few photos.

  5. David Schomburgon 05 Apr 2009 at 12:39 am

    My brothers and I were at St Anthony’s Villa in the late 60’s. We spent 3 summers at Camp lady of the Lake. Brings back a lot of fond memories. Would be great to hear from anyone that was there when we were. Can reach me at If you go there after dark, beware of “SEAWEED MARY”.

  6. Vicky Mooreon 14 May 2009 at 2:55 pm

    I attended the camp twice in my youth and the second time I attended there was some pretty strange things going on. One night while the girls camped on the beach the men and boys from there side of the beach came over in boats and raided our camp site and dragged a lot of the girls into the woods and some of them were raped. I was lucky because I was a very fast runner and was able to get away. The next day I was ordered to go on a hayride that I did not want to go on and I was pushed off of the ride by one of the orphanage’s boys and ended up with a severe concussion and almost died.

  7. Vallieron 31 May 2009 at 8:04 pm

    I was one of the orphans from St Anthony’s orphanage from 1944 until 1954 and spent many summers at the Our Lady of the Lake camp and we really liked being there. The concrete large blocks along side of the gate is where we used to hang out when we wanted to get away from the counselors. The LL on the concrete slabs stands of Lady of the Lake.

  8. Larryon 09 Jul 2009 at 9:19 pm

    My two brothers and myself we at St. Anthony’s Orphanage from

    1940-1944. We were from Bascom Ohio,, our mother died and we were sent to the orphanage. We spent four summers at Camp Lady of the lake. All good remberences. It was run by the Grey Nun’s of Montreal at this time. I was just looking for some pictures of the orphanage before it was torn down.

  9. Debbieon 15 Oct 2009 at 11:00 pm

    I attended Camp Lady of the Lake for several summers in the mid to late 60’s. I have nothing but fond memories of the camp. I used to stay for two to three weeks at a time, I loved meeting all the new girls each year and all of the activities. It was a summer place for the orphans from St. Anthony’s Villa in Toledo.

    The campers would stay in bunkhouses with around 6 to 8 girls or boys to a house. One of the nuns would have a cabin to herself and she would watch out for a certain number of girls or boys. In the center of the camp was the mess hall, there was a camp store where campers could buy candy and mail letters back home.

    I do have a few pictures from my summers there but would need to look for them.
    I do remember that bridge from the pictures and how I hated to have to walk over that.

    I never heard anything bad regarding the camp and hope that those things really didn’t happen there.

  10. Chris Hippon 27 Oct 2009 at 4:19 pm

    I also went to Camp Lady of the Lake. I live in Norwalk, OH and spent a week there in the summers of 1963 and 64. Was really homesick most of the first year but Sister Beatrice took me under her wing. I remember mailing a postcard home begging my parents to come and get me, and giving it to her to mail. She never did but gave it to my parents when they picked me up at the end of the week. Was devastated to see what the lake did to the camp in the early 70’s. I stopped by in 1977 and all I could see was the grotto, the remnants of what appeared to be a cabin, the boys’ shower/restroom, and the flagpole. Everything else on the boys’ side was pretty much gone. Just happened to be passing by this past weekend and the property is fenced off. All I could see from the road was the concrete post at the entrance with “LL” on it. Would love to walk inside and see what’s there. I too remember having to walk over the bridge girders and was afraid I was going to fall in the water, but one of the counselors ragged on me so much I crossed it. We were allowed to go to the Snack Shack after lunch and dinner to spend our money, and the boys’ cabins were all named after saints. Great memories. I wish I had pictures of the camp. Would also like to see someone write a history of the camp, but I don’t know who would have records or pictures.

  11. Ray Zielinskion 27 Dec 2009 at 10:46 am

    My three sisters and my brother where placed in St. Anthony’s Villa in the early 60’s after our mothers sudden death. We resided there for about 6 yrs. until our father could care for us. We were all there but separated, of course by age group and gender. I too have many memories of both CampLof the Lake and St. Anthony’s. The”skinny bridge” that we had to cross over to go on hikes. The Snack Shack and the Mess Hall. Marching down to raise the flag every morning before breakfast at camp. My siblings and I lived at both the Old Villa which was located on Cherry Street (which is now St. Vincent’s Mercy Hospital parking garage property) and the new Villa on Central Ave.

    Sad times for us as a family but, I have good memories of the camp and the Villa. I do remember “Seaweed Mary and Seaweed Ellen (the lake sisters). The couselers would sneak into our cabins at night and would cover our bunkbeds with seaweed from the lake while we were asleep to let us know that the “lake sisters” had come out of the lake and wondered the camp property. If I’m not mistaken there was also the “Monster from the Black Lagoon” they would create from time to time to try and scare all of us.

    My brother Frank told me about this site this past Christmas. The memories came flooding back. I just laugh to myself because if you weren’t there you can’t comprehend how many kids where there as full-time residents and what the nuns had to deal with. They did the best they could do with what they had.

    I had experineces and memories that not many kids have and I am greatful for that. I am going to go and hike the old camp to see what is left there

  12. Elsa Lamelason 20 Feb 2010 at 3:55 pm

    My sister and I arrived in the United States from Cuba in June, 1961 through Operation Pedro Pan. This was an endeavor between the Catholic Church and the United States government to get children out of Cuba.
    In mid-June, 1961, my sister and I were sent to Camp Lady of the Lake. We were put on a red-eye out of Miami, with notes attached to us indicating our destination. I remember we had to change airplanes in Detroit, where we connected to Toledo, Ohio. Of course, we spoke no English and had no idea of where we were. I was ten, my sister six.
    In Toledo, we were picked up by people from St. Anthony’s Orphanage and taken directly to Camp Lady of the Lake.
    I remember driving into the place, which struck me as very unusual. It was decorated with bright-colored balls on concrete footings, a form of lawn decoration I had never seen in Havana. To me, they looked like immense Christmas tree ornaments. Another aspect of the camp that caught my attention were the willows, trees with which I was unfamiliar.
    We were taken to a large dormitory, which is where the younger girls slept. Because my younger sister and I clung to each other, the nuns soon placed me with the older girls, called “seniors” in a cabin. After that, I could only glimpse my sister.
    Coming from Havana, we were accustomed to bathing in the warm water of the Caribbean. We had a terrible time adjusting to the weather. I begged repeatedly for a sweater, and the nuns would say no, because it was summer. I remember seeing my sister from a distance, a little towhead, standing knee deep in the lake, crying and shaking from the cold. She was on another side of the beach, with the younger girls, while stayed on my end, with the older girls.
    We did learn to speak English that way. However, being separated from each other, together with losing our parents and everything and everyone we knew, made this a very tough summer.
    My mother left Cuba later that summer. She came north with my baby brother on a Greyhound bus to get us out.
    Many years later, when I was in law school at the University of Michigan, I realized that the camp could not be far from Ann Arbor. I drove down to find it, and discovered that it had closed, and most buildings had been downed by flood.
    All I could think of was my Spanish-speaking, impoverished mother reaching Erie to retrieve us.
    It is interesting to read about the many, happier memories that others had at the camp during the same time.

  13. mary alice silva (T0RRESon 16 Apr 2010 at 11:30 am

    my name is mary SILVA torres i was at camp lady of the lake with my sisters margret and annita and my brothers mauricio steven and eddie. this was in the 1960, i have wonderful memories at camp lady of the lake

  14. Tod Mazzoccoon 21 May 2010 at 3:28 pm

    I remember Camp Lady of the Lake very well. I was there with my brother and two sisters from 1962 – 1964. Yes it was the summer camp for St Anthony’s Villa in Toledo Ohio. We are still in touch with one of the Nuns who was there with the Senoirs Boys, her name is Sister “B” Beatrice. I also remember a lot of the kids who came from Cuba at that time. The picture of the old railway brigde we called the skinny bridge and hike over it many times. When I look back on it, those years were some of the fondest memories of my childhood. I went back many years ago to see the place closed and run down. We still have a postcard from there with the main entrance on it. I am now 55 years old and living in Orlando Florida, but I still make time to stop and see Sister Beatrice in Tiffin Ohio everytime I get back home for a visit. For me it will always remain a special place and a special time in my life.

  15. Thomas G Knighton 22 May 2010 at 9:32 pm

    I was @ Camp Lady of the Lake 1954-1960. Please only persons who were there in that time frame or have direct knowledge, I would like to hear from them There also was a horse @ the camp ,everyone called it “Tony the Pony”. I have pictures . Please only serious persons ,I would like to here from.

  16. Sister Beatrice Hermanon 31 May 2010 at 3:47 pm

    What a delightful time I had hearing about Camp Lady of the Lake! I remember many of the persons who sent e-mails, and thank God for every boy and girl who ever went to that camp. One of my “Villa Sons”, as I refer to the boys whom I cared for, is Mike Kane and he took me to see the remnants of the Camp two years ago. It was so sad to see how erosion has deteriorated what was a lovely camp-site. We did travel inland as far as possible but the marsh was quite wet. We spent hours talking about our memories of Camp. I was there when the Cuban refugees came and cared for over 25 boys. Yes, it was painful for those children who were sent to the States to leave their parents and their beautiful country, but it was for their safety. I still keep in touch with some of the Cuban families, and have gone to Miami to visit them, too. I want to thank the Erie Hiker for his pictures and yes, we Sisters of St. Francis of Tiffin, Ohio managed th Camp from l951 to l969 when it was closed. That was a sad time but the flooding was already taking place. Every person who has talked to me about Camp Lady of the Lake always refers to their time at Camp. I am 86 years old now, but still have great memories and love to contact children who had gone there. I remember Chris Hipp from Norwalk who was so homesick. Yes, I experienced many children who would go through homesickness as often it was their first time away from their family. The Catholic Chronicle, the Diocesan Newspaper, had a big article in the May 23 issue about Camp Lady of the Lake. Mike Kane called the Chronicle and they are planning to have an interview with him and me about the Camp. I could say so much more. God Bless All.

  17. david wieseon 04 Jun 2010 at 1:53 pm

    i was at camp lady of the lake 1964 65 i remember going to a medhen ? game in maumee with the nuns at that time the seats were wood and i was a active young one who ended up with slivers of wood everywhere on my legs and bottom thanks for the nuns who helped me remove them i have fond memories of this place and would love to see any pictures

  18. david wieseon 04 Jun 2010 at 1:54 pm

    what was the monsigniors name

  19. Bob Gearson 09 Jun 2010 at 9:28 am

    This was a painful time in my life as my family went through much turmoil.

    Monseniore Kelly use to let us walk with him in the mornings and the sisters always tried to make the camp experience enjoyable.

    I am now a minister of some 30 years. Perhaps the camp had a part in my spiritual formation.

    God bless,

    Bob Gears – 1964-67 ?

  20. Gary McMahonon 23 Jun 2010 at 12:13 pm

    My sister and I spent time at St Anthon’s Villa and Camp Lady of the Lake in the Late 1950’s after our mother had a bad bout of ‘Post Partem” depression and could not take care of us. I remember that any toys that we had became community property and were kept in a big barrel in the center of the room for all to enjoy… I remember the nuns giving us baths every Saturday night in a big metal tub on a table. I remember eating so much chicken for lunch and evening meals that summer that I avoided it for years to come. I remember marching to the Grotto in the evening to sing Ava Maria. I rerember the millions of May flies by the lake…

  21. Laurie Bertkeon 28 Jun 2010 at 9:18 am

    The Catholic Chronicle of the Diocese of Toledo recently published two articles relating to the history of Camp Lady of the Lake, which was sponsored by Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Toledo. Here is a link to the latest one, which has the link to the original story about the history that we published in our print edition.

    Very interesting to see the photos of the “camp” as it looks now!

  22. […] […]

  23. mary alice silva (T0RRESon 07 Jul 2010 at 4:26 pm

    enjoyed reading about all the ones that wrote in, and talked about all the good memories at camp lady of the lake. if any one remembers me or my brotherts and sister. i would love to hear from you.

  24. Terry Porteron 14 Jul 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Well where do I start?, we called the bridge connecting luna pier “skinny bridge”, the snack shack was there for snacks usually before a movie in the mess hall which doubled as a church infirmary and eventually we slept there when winter came and we had to wait for the new villa to finish being built.
    The large stones in the water we called the dike were great for diving off of and you had to cross the lagoon bridge to get to the beach.
    There was a yellow tractor with a wagon for the kids or whatever that was still in the kids dorm when my brother and I and Marty and Steve Soto met there by happinstance around 1995 or so. We found the dinner bell buried on the beach and the swing rings were still visible. I ran my dog there till 2001 and watched it all disappear.

    My folks had too many kids and too many troubles so we got farmed out in 1962.
    Sister Bea is a friend still.
    I remember the cuban Kids, praying in the grotto, father doyles cabin, the nuns beach, tony the pony,
    bb gun wars, archery, old roman the caretaker, carefully manicured trees and lawns, sulphur water , sulphur taste in the air from the power plant, a tornado framed by the three stacks of the plant.
    occasional hikes, riding a bus daily to st. theresa school in toledo all the way from camp the last year the camp was open.
    Tomato field behind the cabins, Crazy kid named Bob Majors hiding naked behind grotto statue during services.
    Counselors varied wildly but never encountered any molestation myself or anyone I knew.

    I nearly died from lake erie water Im guessing, the fever was so intense that I passed through the eye of a needle to come back to life. All this in a bed in the mess hall.

  25. Carol McMahon-Williamsonon 04 Aug 2010 at 11:46 pm

    I also remember spending a short time at St. Anthonys Villa with my older brother and sister, but mine were not such good memories. I was separated from my family while our mother was ill and in the hospital. I come from a large, loving, Irish family, but there were just not enough family members to take all of us kids into their home while our mother was gone, and our father out of work. Every time I smell vegetable soup, it reminds me of how I sat in the lunch hall alone for hours as I refused to eat the soup. I still hate vegetable soup, but am thankful I had somewhere to stay with my brother and sister till I could return home to my family. Hate the soup. Love my family. Thanks for the memories.

  26. Dawn (Cottle) Lattaon 28 Aug 2010 at 11:42 am

    I went to camp Lady of The Lake the summer I turned 7 (and St. Anthony’s Villa from 1963-66) after my parents divorce. My mother was working on getting back on her feet financially & raising 4 kids.

    When I first went to the camp, I was so homesick. I remember taking walks with Father Doyle & other kids in those early days. He was so kind. I have lots of wonderful memories of my time there…having a swimming buddy, doing crafts, taking hikes & walking over that little bridge (in the photos). Mass at the Grotto on Sunday nights & my favorite time was weekend visits with my family & going to the snack shack. I also recall that they played Beatles music, probably from the young camp counselors.

    Sister Mary Coletta took care of us Jr. Girls & she was the perfect nun for me to have…as a sensitive & scared child. She was so nuturing & gave me structure & having chores to do. I would see & visit her as an adult & she & her (real) sister, Sr. Mary Jude who cared for my brother & the Jr. boys. They both volunteered at the hospital where I work. Sr. Mary Coletta died a few years ago & I lost touch with Sr. Mary Jude. Sr. Mary Jude was perfect for ornery little boys. My little sister, was in the Baby girls & I remember that all of the nuns adored her with her cute pixie red hair.

    I went to high school with one of my friends from St. Anthony’s Villa, but always wondered about 2 other friends who I tried to look up on facebook, Sandy Milaulski (sp?), & Tina Brocius (sp?). They would be in there mid 50’s now. I would love to locate them.

  27. margaret silvaon 11 Sep 2010 at 9:24 pm

    i remember camp lady of the lake. I was an orphan at St Anthony villa in the old and new villa. My time there had a lot of good memories and some bad. I learned alot from the sisters there. I enjoed all the holiday pageants we use to have at christmas time. When summer came around, we look forward to CAMP LADY OF THE LAKE. I learned to dance, do crafts, fish, swim,canoe,hiking. I guess that is why I enjoy camping and fishing to this day. I have taught my grandchildren some of our old camp songs like the cannible king, campfire song. I thank the Lord everyday that my brothers & sister were sent to this home cause it kept us all together till we could go home as afamily again. I to rememberTONY THE PONY.

  28. random visitoron 20 Sep 2010 at 8:10 pm

    ive never been to this camp but from reading all of the comments it seems like an awesome place.

    i live in temperance, and people visit there all of the time because it is supposedly haunted. rumors include… an orphanage being burnt down and dead children roam the area… a man in black stands by the entrance to shoo off intruders… drowned children.. etc.

    glad to know it was actually a very nice place

  29. Helen Mackon 03 Nov 2010 at 6:59 pm

    I was there with my two younger sisters and younger brother from 1956-1959 at St. Anthony’s Villa. While the separation because of gender and age was painful and the loss of our toys to a community pile the summers we spent at the camp created many good memories in my life. My parents had divorced and neither could financially afford to care for us. They would visit on alternating weekends until mother remarried and took us home the fall of 1959. If there is anyone from that time frame who remembers Sister Mary Colletta and knows how I can get in touch with her (if she is still alive) I really want to hear from you. As my surrogate mother I became very attached. I remember one particular summer when there was this special meeting to discuss reassigning the nuns to either different locations or just to supervise different groups of children. I hung around outside that cabin praying that I would not lose her and God heard my prayer.

    To see what has happened to the camp is heart breaking. I wish I could win the lottery and return it to its former glory.

  30. Helen Mackon 03 Nov 2010 at 7:03 pm

    P.S. My email address is

  31. Le Roy Sharpon 03 Dec 2010 at 10:40 pm

    My brother (Gene, my sisters Janice, Carla, Karen and Denise) and I wound up at SAINT ANTHONY’S ORPHANAGE March 1945 as a result of a law that comes into effect whena Luteran marries a Catholic. In the event of devorce the children must be raised Catholic. I Know this about Camp Lady of the Lake but both the Camp and the ORPHANAGE werethe Ministries of The Toledo Catholic Charities under the Diocese of Toledo, Ohio. Bishop Alter appointed Monsigior Doyle with Father Smitgh (sp), as his Asst. to oversee both the Camp and the ORPHANAGE. I am 72 and can still remember uprightness of both these men, ditto for the Grey Nuns that were the direct overseers of the children, (baby, junior, senior devisions of both boys and girls). I was at the ORPHANAGE for 3 yrs. Therefore I attended Camp 3 times. We indeed intered the Camp at the highway and then walked about 100 yards with a field on each side. We passed under the

  32. Le Roy Sharpon 04 Dec 2010 at 11:52 am

    On the far side of the field on the left was a huge drainage ditch which I would estimate to be about 25 feet deep with steep sides. It had what might be a pump station at the far end of the camp, Where I remember the counsoulers would take us
    Junior boys fishing about once a summer. They would take a skillet, build a little fire and we would fry the fish we caught and snack on them. I would not have known but the counselers said the fish where catfish and sunfish. Any how the ditch. The nuns did not have to tell twice to stay away from it as the sides were steep and gravel, I was afraid that if I fell in I would never be found I would die in that ditch. Back when I was in the ORPHANAGE there was no power plant that I could see at the Camp area and the whole area looked to be swamp except futher inland there were farmers fields.


  33. Mary Kay Sullivanon 07 May 2011 at 4:11 pm

    I have many fond memories of “Camp Lady of the Lake”. I was there with my sisters for several years 1951-56. The camp was devided into baby, junior and senior girls and boys both seperated from each other. I have wonderful memories from going to the camp. Father Doyle and Sister Mary Coletta who took care of the Junior girls, Sister Mary Ugenia who took care of you when you were sick , Sister Mary Pascal who taught 1st and 2nd grade at Saint Anthony’s Orphanage. Gentle kind women. I remember the skinney bridge between Luna Pier and Lady of the Lady of the Lake camp, how scarey it was to cross and how I felt I was going to fall through the bridge. At the far end of the camp near the canal where the cabins for the senior girls were, behind the cabins the canal where the camp boat was docked. Heading towards lake Erie, past the lagoon, up the hill then down and out towards the several dikes that jutted out into the water. Jumping across each dike in the lake, and feeling so afraid that you would slip on the dikes or fall into the water and hurt yourself on the dikes. Or having some fool airplane you into the lake thus frightening you for the rest of your life of deep water. I remember putting bread dough on the end of sticks, letting it cook over a fire and then putting jelly into the cavity where the stick had been. I remember May flies all over the camp, and everwhere you stepped, crunch, crunch crunch. Then later catapillers crawling all over everything. I remember as a junior girl, living in the big barn located right before the senior girl cabins. I remember baseball games. The long road going into the camp lined with trees and toward the second half of the camp the road lined with beautiful weeping willows trees. On any given day, gracefully swaying in the breeze and near these trees outdoor furniture of round tan pine, swings and benches and picnic tables all along the road in the camp. I remember a pavilion where picnics were held outside near the lagoon across from the dining Hall. I remember Francis the talking Mule movies and of course “Tony the Pony.” Thank you everyone for your postings.

  34. Garretton 16 May 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Hi, my grandma was not an orphan their but she used to go play with alot of them their when she was young. Her name is Shirley Carmichael and I’m guessing she went there inthe 1930s or 40s that I’m not sure of. But if anyone knew her please contact me.

  35. adelineon 25 Jul 2011 at 11:59 am


  36. Carol McMahon-Williamsonon 27 Aug 2012 at 10:46 am

    Gary McMahon, who is my brother, stayed at the camp with his 2 sisters, not just one. Maureen McMahon-Stiles, and Carol McMahon-Williamson. Remember, Gary? How could we ever forget.

  37. Carol McMahon-Williamsonon 27 Aug 2012 at 10:47 am

    Gary McMahon stayed at the camp with 2 of his sisters, not just one. Remember, Gary?

  38. KArin KOLESARon 06 Oct 2012 at 1:20 am

    I was at St ANTHONY’S on CHerry St next to ST VINCENT’S from 1949 to 1954.
    I REMEMBER GOING to camp lady of the lake every summer in a big red truck. That wS the highlight of the year. We had so much fun swimming and games. I remember breaking my arm after winning a game and running for the prize of candy. I was tAken back to st Vincent’s hospital for medical attention . They took really good care. I remember they had kangaroo court too.I really remember in June they had all these June bugs all over the wAlls . I remember swimming and diving over huge waves. In 1957 my sister +I walked there . My dad bet US we could not do it. I think it took about 4 hrs to walk. I was there when the geysers nuns were changed to the Franciscans. That was sad for me. Father Doyle and FAther Ernst were there then. I remember the tunnel we walked thru. I remember a man named Henry who would come stand by the fence and play the accordion.
    Overall it was not a bad experience. May God bless those nuns that did that .wow

    Karin [ Koontz) KOles are

  39. Helen Magers-Woodon 21 Oct 2012 at 5:13 pm

    I, too, have fond memories of Camp Lady of the Lake and Sister Beatrice and all the other nuns who took care of us. I can’t remember all their names, but I remember Sister Collette. My brother Jimmy and I used to do some fishing in the “forbidden” canal. We caught mostly carp. We never ate them, though. We were also at St. Anthony’s – the new and the old.

  40. Maggie Magers-Diemeron 25 Oct 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Kangaroo court, movies in the mess hall, praying in the grotto, swimming in the lake, all those activities helped take away some of the pain of being separated from family……..but fear and overwhelming sadness is what I remember most……many blessings to all us survivors!!!

  41. Jim Magerson 28 Oct 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Several of my brothers and sisters went to the Villa on Cherry St in 1962 or so. Very sad time for us with some being adopted and the separation and all. I remember many good things also, Sister Beatrice, meeting new friends, walking the tunnel to the gym and pretending to be the Beatles with some friends. I spent three summers at Camp Lady of the Lake. I remember some very good times there. Hiking a few miles to the woods to camp overnight. The raft out on the lake. Fishing. BB guns. (Yes we did shoot them at each other. I hit my brother Bobby in the ear) Going to Luna Pier to a carnival or something.It was a place to help us forget for awhile.Wish I could’ve seen Dave Rohrbach again. I remember how sad I was that he was leaving but glad that he was going home. There’s so much more to say…

  42. Leeon 05 Nov 2012 at 12:37 am

    I have come across 2 comments above of possible sexual abuse at the camp.
    Can anyone give any further insight into this subject?
    The time in question is about the mid. 1960s


  43. Carlon 04 Apr 2013 at 1:37 am

    Hello,, I love this page. I have been traveling to the Lady of the Lake site for years. Just to walk around and explore,, never new the stories or that is was a camp open with such a history… I’m drawn to it at times. I would fish with my Dad when young,, poked dead fish with sticks and collected zebra mussels… I have taken my kids there now.. For walks, exploring the shore line…. On our last visit out with my girl friend, I told of the ghost story…Blah blah,, kids died blah.. I knew the Camp sign was taken down years ago,, but when the saw the concrete double L’s,,,,, their eyes bugged out… I finally told them I was joking,,,,, .. Kinda , I still didn’t know the whole story.. I found some neat things that day…. One I an sure most will know of… It was an old roller skate, with metal wheels, found,, in the stones and water…. I took pictures of it and some bricks we found… Also,, would love to see any pictures anyone has to share… P.S. years ago When my Father passed away,, I made a special trip out there and cut a branch off a large willow tree to make a walking stick for my sons… We often sat under it when fishing…

    DSCF3101 – Copy

  44. Judyon 23 Aug 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Lee, My late husband was at this camp in the 60’s. He told me that he was molested by a Priest. Some of the Nuns were not nice to him. He was there with his siblings, I believe all 14 of them. This Priest would take him by the hand and lead him down some stairs. It was private there. It’s very sad that children are used in this manor by Priests.

  45. Judyon 23 Aug 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Jim Magers, Dave was my late husband. We should communicate with each other.

  46. Art Pietscheron 25 Aug 2013 at 12:28 pm

    I’ve hiked this area from time to time the last 25-30 years and observed the changes along the lake shore. Here are some links to some aerial photos of the area from 1949, 1956, 1961 and then 1981. You can see how the area became overgrown and how the beach deteriorated in that last 20 years. Back in the 90s I was on the fire department for the township just north of Luna Pier and we got dispatched to a wildfire on the property. We did find some of the pieces of the floors of the cottages that were burning but other than the gate and the fence pillars and a few slabs of concrete there wasn’t much left that was really identifiable.

    These are large .pdf (about 15 mb each) files and they’ll take a long time to download even on a fast connection. If you’re not familiar with .pdf files a navigation bar will appear if you hover your cursor near the center bottom of your monitor. You do have to ‘zoom in’ a long way to make any sense out of the photos but you can zoom so far the image just pixilates too.

    Lady of the Lake area in





    Here’s also a link to more recent aerial view:
    A is where you have to park, B,C,D, & E are the corners of the site and F is the old “skinny” or abandoned interurban bridge that is mentioned so many times in these comments.

    Hopefully I’ll run into a few of you out there hiking one of these days!

  47. Leeon 12 Sep 2013 at 7:54 pm

    Thanks Judy,

  48. Judyon 13 Sep 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Lee, that’s an invalid e-mail. Did you type it wrong?

  49. Leeon 21 Sep 2013 at 2:30 pm

  50. Jim Leeon 17 Dec 2013 at 4:56 pm

    As I mentioned earlier in a comment, I was a camp counselor at the lake in the late 1960s— maybe 1968-1969?

    I really don’t remember. I do remember that some of the other male counselors were African American and they came from Toledo. The other counselors were seminarians from St. Meinrad College Seminary.

    I remember Father Doyle vaguely and the nuns, but none of them by name. I do remember one Monsignor who was supposedly of the Fisher Body family.

    There was an Old Mack winch truck used to set stones in the lake. One some some former campers came out and broke the booms trying to lift some of the giant blocks.

    A guy I remember who used to be a camper and did a lot of volunteer work out there was a red head– I think his name was “Pete”…. he may have worked for the probation office.

    This was all so long ago. I remember a walk bridge from the cabin area over a ditch to the beach. Us counselors would go over there on weekends and drink beer.At that time 18 was the legal drinking age in Ohio.

    The nuns had an old Chevrolet Station Wagon we would use to go into Toledo.

    I remember the yellow tractor and wagon and an old Chevrolet truck with a stake bed and steps going up to the back of it.

    Roman the custodian had a red Jeep.

  51. Jim Leeon 17 Dec 2013 at 4:59 pm

    The counselors lived in a separate cabin that was close to the wash room.

    I can sort of picture the lay out in my mind. I remember the nuns would set out treats for the counselors in the mess hall after the campers went to bed.

  52. Joe Barocsi Sparkson 07 Apr 2014 at 4:01 pm

    We were the Barocsi’s. Billie, Julie, Barb and Rosemary the youngest. Myself and my brother and three sisters lived at St. Anothy Villa from 1966-1973. I was 10 years old in 1966, left in 1969, adopted into a family. I remember every summer going to Camp Lady of the Lake and to school at St.Teresa’s on Dorr st. in Toledo. I remember water Skiing, and all the dead fish floating in the water and washing up on the shore. Sister Jude passing out Polo shirts each Sunday morning when the new campers would arrive and we would look our best. Saying the Rosary at the Grotto on Sunday.
    Today, the place is a mess. It is hardly recognizable.

  53. Carl Baumgardneron 05 Jun 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Hey Vicky, you have a wonderful imagination. Dragged into the woods and raped! First of all, there were no woods at the camp. A few big trees near the mess hall and scattered here and there near the dining areas, and that as it. The oldest boys there, except possibly Leroy Poulsen (a kindly gentle boy), were thirteen and they would not know anything about sex. The most incredible thing about St. Anthony’s and Camp Lady of the Lake is the degree of innocence of the kids. People today could not possible understand that. The boys, including me, had no idea of what to do with girls, except scare them. I was one of the smart ones, and knowing that men and women had kids after they were married, and not having an inkling of how that could happen, I figured out that the priest gave them something that would allow them to have kids after they were married. I did not figure sex out until I was 27, and probably still have not figured it out.

    I remember Jim Lee and the Valliers, Karin, Carol, and Sr. Herman, and would love to here from more of you, especially Junior Valllier, Marvin Kozerowski, Billy Vallier, Billy Bly, Anthony Thomas, Pat and Mike Brogan, Jimmy and Billy Moore to name a few. I have a great picture with all of you in it.

  54. Tom Williamson 12 Aug 2014 at 11:07 am

    I was at St. Anthony’s, Orphanage then Villa. Sister Ann (Franciscan) was charged with the Senior boys. I had been there most of the 50’s and went to L of L every summer. I was there when the Grey nuns were there as well as when the Franciscans came in. One memory is of a counselor Jim Gaffney, great guy. Father J. Michael Doyle had a cabin next to the mess hall. His door was always open and sometimes the boys raided his cigs, then we we would all go to the “drenchut” to smoke (mostly choking, make believe smoking). My sisters, Carol and Marlene Williams and my brother Clarence (Bob) Williams were there. I remember Dave Vallier, Angelo DeLuca, Theodore Rising, George Fritsch, Chuck Sampson, Tony Thomas (mentioned above). Too, Mary Grace Koontz who I fell in love with, I think! Trips across the old trestle bridge to Luna Pier, the Snack Shack, the Mess hall with the Church behind a huge screen, which was raised on Sundays. There was the “grotto”, swimming in the lake, and riotous games of pom-pom-pullaway. I saw Emil Roman’s name mentioned above. He was a war refugee and took care of all maintenance. He showed us how to make the jeep run when we did not have keys. He was extremely important to me – he was a saint and is surely in heaven. I remember when “they” put up the power plant just slightly down the road. If ANY of you have pics, I would love to get them at Remember Central High, and often hot cocao with bread and butter which was dipped into the cocoa for the best treat every. I remember the nuns singing at holidays in church and the tremendous “show” put on at holy days. I’ 72 now, but till have all my marbles and if you have memories of St. Anthony’s or L of L, please share them with me. Too if you know of any other attendees, please tell them of me. Too, if anyone has pics they can share please use .jpg and send to my email

  55. Janeon 15 Aug 2014 at 10:22 pm

    My mother attended CL of L from 1939 to 1945. Her name was then Bernadine Cousino. My sister and I have recently visited the site and just need to know who has that big Camp Lady of the Lake sign? What happened to it? We saw the LL on the cement bricks and part of the gait left. We plan to take mom there so she can expand on the history of this place. She loved Sr Collarette and wondered what happened to her as well. Great stories from all !!

  56. Barbara Neely (Gross)on 28 Sep 2014 at 4:05 pm

    This is in regards to a message left by Joe Barosci Sparks….My name is Barbara Neely but back when I was at St Anthony’s it was Barbara Gross. Your sister Julie was one on my best friends there…as was Billie I remember he enjoyed playing the drums. Julie and I could sure stir up trouble. We had some great times there and some troubled times as well our “house nun” was Sister Cecilia and she had a little Pomeranian dog I believe. I have tried in the past to locate Julia and Billie to see how life has gone for them and maybe catch up. I no longer live in Toledo now living in Idaho. If by chance you read this I hope you can forward this on to them. I am on Facebook.
    Camp Lady of the Lake held some fond memories…the camp counselors for the most part were so nice. Having money for the snack shack was always a treat. As soon as school ended at St Teresa’s we would pack up at St Anthony’s villa and load up on the bus for camp.

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply