The Middle Bass Club Chapel Story is based upon recollections from Club member Maggie Kinsey Wood, the Middle Bass Chapel Association Records Book (1881-1910), the Middle Bass Club House Guest Register books (1899 – 1904 and 1908 - 1912) and my research which benefited greatly from analysis and documents gathered by Judith Flickenger Bahney, Gene Morton, Dr. Martin Taliak and Lisa Fine.
I am fortunate to have met one living person, Maggie Kinsey Wood, who remembers being inside the Middle Bass Club Chapel. Maggie Kinsey Wood’s parents, Isaac Kinsey Jr. and Phyllis Bigelow Kinsey, owned a cottage in the Middle Bass Club. Phyllis Bigelow Kinsey purchased the cottage from Herman D. Rehberg in December 1926 (Ottawa County Recorder’s Office: Volume 93 , Page 306). This cottage exists today on Grape Avenue in William Rehberg’s 2nd Addition: lot 40 and is owned by the Demer family. When Maggie Kinsey Woods was a young girl in the early-1930s, the Chapel and a few Middle Bass Club cottages were “abandoned” which made great fun for the children to go on “adventures” where they could explore and play inside the buildings. Maggie Kinsey Wood remembers that the Chapel looked like the picture above; it had a front porch and at least one stained glass window. She said that it still felt like a church inside: there were rows of pews and an open Bible sitting on the lectern. Maggie Kinsey Wood assured me that the children were respectful while playing inside the Chapel because they knew better than to “mess up a church.”
Judie Flickenger’s family preserved the Middle Bass Chapel Association Records Book for many years and then offered it to her childhood friend from the Middle Bass Club, Dr. Martin Taliak who graciously shared it with me. The Records Book contains handwritten meeting minutes of the Middle Bass Chapel Association (which formed in 1881) and the Constitution and By-Laws that governed the organization. I have transcribed the Records Book and there is a link below to read it in its entirety. Because the Records Book was handwritten, some names and verbiage are italicized to indicate that portion of the transcription is “estimated.” A reference of the original Records Book’s page number is listed for each section. The Records Book ends in 1910 with the latter years having little documentation about the Association, focusing solely on the ministers who came to preach at the Chapel or the list of Trustees. In the near future, the Records Book will be housed at the Canaday Library at the University of Toledo which is associated with the Toledo’s Attic website.
Microfilm copies of the Middle Bass Club House Guest Register books (1899 – 1904 and 1908 - 1912) reside at the Jerome Library at Bowling Green State University. Eugene Morton donated copies of the James Clark family’s scrapbooks and Middle Bass Club documents. The Morton family bought their cottage from descendants of James Clark who was a founding member of the Middle Bass Club from Louisville, Kentucky. James Clark built his cottage in 1876 and it stands today on Grape Avenue, Rehberg’s Original Subdivision lot 6, and is owned by the Gill family. It’s amazing that the cottage has only been owned by two Middle Bass Club families: James Clark and his descendants and Eugene Morton and his descendants. Please note that the Other Archives sections of this website contains many documents and pictures from the James Clark family. The Guest Register books on microfilm document Middle Bass Club members and their guests who visited the private Middle Bass Club property during summers. All members and guests were required to sign the Guest Register book, even if the members stayed in their own cottages. At that time, everyone dined at the Middle Bass Club House as member cottages did not have kitchens. Most likely, the strict rule of signing the Guest Register book was to ensure proper record keeping so that the Club House could appropriately charge the members for their lodging and meals.