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"Nature is seen here in her wildest dress, the imagination is left without control. Everything is on a scale of magnificence. Sublimity reigns in all her glories." - Rev. William Smart 1816


Over 100 years ago, the first cottage was built and by 1889 there were only 15 summer homes built.


William H. Haigh had the idea in 1877. There was a cluster of rocks sitting by a shoal that Haigh thought needed a purpose. He enlisted the help of his friends and built a monument 14 feet wide and 6 feet high. He nailed his hat on a pole that he had mounted in the rocks. This pole and hat was replaced in 1921 when the monument was restored. It was marked by a wooden fish in place of the hat of William Haigh. The beautiful monument still stands to this day.


Charleston lake guides, also known as "oarsmen", were men who knew the lake like the back of their hand. These men were normally paid 3-5 dollars a day. Oarsmen would show customers around the lake as well as taking them fishing. They would also cook dinner, make coffee, and tell stories before rowing them back to the hotel. 

One guide told the story of a time when a man caught an eel. His wife jumped out of the boat to avoid the eel and refused to get back in until the eel was back in the lake.


The hotel was on the main shore that opened in 1889. It was owned by Adam Armstrong and described as having large and airy rooms, beautiful views, and a great host. There was also a hotel named Harbour View Inn. The Harbour View Inn was owned by a man named Robert Foster and he later purchased Cedar Park Inn around 1921. Plenty of owner of the Cedar Park Inn came before Robert Foster and followed him. On May 22, 1942, Cedar Park Inn burned down. All three stories were burned down before anyone saw the flames.


Charleston Lake can be remembered for its good fishing, especially bass and salmon a long time ago. On July 31, 1888, there is note of 14 salmon being caught in one hour and twenty minutes. Americans would come up to go fishing. Many were rewarded with large fish for dinner. The guides would cook what they caught as part of dinner. There are many stories of huge fish being caught all over the lake.


In the mid 1920's, an American named W. J. Hazel purchase Green Island in Webster's Bay. He opened a boys' camp. The boys were seen all over the lake and village. They were coached swimming, canoeing, sailing, boxing, tennis, basketball, riding, art and drama. Many folks enjoyed having these teens around due to their politeness and benefit to the businesses. It was later sold and turned into a camp for girls. The girls were much more kept to the island.


The post office was built in 1870 by a man named Peter Green. When he passed away in 1901, his daughter took over the business. However, it was later sold to Thomas Spence in 1907. The post office burned down in 1956. During its time, it provided great services for the people of Charleston Lake. Letters no longer need to be transported from Farmersville (Athens) to Charleston Lake and the general store also had great convenience.

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