Commodore Steve Harris – April, 2019
Well, not anymore. Few members have been around long enough to remember that BLYC hasn’t always owned our parking lot. In fact, for much of the Club’s history, members had to pay to park when coming to the Club. However, thirty years ago, in 1989, that all changed.
In the early years of Buckeye Lake, the property along North Bank, along with Watkins and the other islands, were owned by and leased from the state. Much of the other property in the area was owned by and leased from a few families. People would lease lots to build cottages for their Buckeye Lake get-aways. Still today, we refer to many of the neighborhoods that now comprise the Village of Buckeye Lake by the names of those early owners — Bounds, Myer, Neel, Carlin, and Rosebraugh. The North Shore launch area of the State Park, Crane Lake, North Shore Landing, and BLYC’s Eastport property were all part of the old Buckeye Lake Amusement Park. What is now the BLYC parking lot was owned by the Rosebraugh family — one of the earliest pioneer families to settle this area.
The Rosebraughs were a part of BLYC since the early days. William “Bill” Rosebraugh grew up here and as a young boy played on the island when it was little more than a sandbar with a few lonely willow trees on it. As an adult, he and his family lived in the two-story house (now owned by the Club) at the entrance to our parking lot. Like many of our neighbors, he was frequently called upon for supplies, maintenance work, and other necessary tasks around the Club as most of our members were residents of the larger cities of central Ohio and only “visitors” to the lake. He was an honorary member of the Club and active up until his death in 1965.
Sometimes referred to as the “Granpa of BLYC,” Bill enjoyed the life at the Club and was a fixture at Club events. In particular, he liked to watch the sailboat races and enjoyed watching his grandson, David Boling, participate and improve in the weekly races. Following his death, David donated a trophy to the Club in his honor. The Board decided that it should be awarded annually to the “Most Improved Sailor” in the BLYC fleet. Although for a number of years it has gone unawarded, it will be awarded again as we resume regular sailing this season.
Bill Rosebraugh’s daughter Alice also grew up at the lake and around BLYC and its members. She spent most of her life as a care giver for her family and also lived in the two-story house. She managed the Rosebraugh addition and owned and operated the BLYC parking lot. The entrance to the parking lot then was what is now the driveway to the two-story house. Across the driveway from the home was a small garage. I recall that structure, facing the drive, having a split door and presume that early on it was used as something of a “toll booth” at the entrance to the parking lot. I know from members who were around in the 1980’s that in later years there was a can, hanging on a nail, into which you were expected to deposit 50¢ upon your entrance to the lot. Old December issues of the Log frequently reported that parking would be free on New Year’s Eve — Ms. Rosebraugh’s Holiday gift to the members of BLYC.
Commodore Foster wrote in 2006…
If you didn’t pay, perhaps because you didn’t have the change, many times Alice would come walking out of her house into the lot to tell you that you were supposed to pay. She would also complain to the governors about those who didn’t pay. And it often happened that, after you put your quarter in the can, if you looked in the rear view mirror as you proceeded into the parking lot, you would see Alice walking out to get the money.
As the years went by, there was little question that she would sell the parking lot to the Club. Commodore Foster spent quite a bit of time with Ms. Rosebraugh in her later years both learning about the history of the Club and the lake and also negotiating the sale of the property to BLYC…
I was the principal negotiator with her and remember sitting several times talking to her in her kitchen and then periodically reporting back to the Board on the state of the negotiations. It took months. We also asked a few other long time members who knew and were on good terms with her to talk to her from time to time because negotiations went slowly and we didn’t want to anger Alice Rosebraugh.
She was a very nice older lady. She intended that because of its location and the long historical relationship with BLYC. The only question was the price, fair to her heirs and fair to BLYC. When we closed the purchase, with great legal assistance from Commodore George Fisher, the can immediately came down and disappeared into history.
That was thirty years ago. Alice Rosebraugh was 80 years old. She later moved to a retirement village in Newark and passed in 2006 at the age of 97.
Many improvements to the parking lot would follow. In the early 1990s, the Club constructed the “new” entrance as we know it today. Having long been a gravel lot, it was finally paved in 1999. The club, having purchased most of the old Rosebraugh property behind the Club, purchased the final parcel — the westernmost part of the “overflow” lot — in 2000.
What ever became of Alice’s can hanging on a nail? That would be a unique and interesting piece of Club history to display. It is forever lost, but as our lake community continues to change, its memory is a reminder of a different, maybe simpler, time at Buckeye Lake.
Following the publication of this article, I shared it with Dave Bolger, Alice Rosebraugh’s nephew. He believes that he may still have the last “can hanging on a nail” used by Ms. Rosebraugh when she last lived in the house. He is considering donating it to our history archives.
Commodore Steve Schilling rescued the sign that hung over the can. It is currently on display in the Library.
– SGH 3/2021