In this introduction, Rev. Ball writes about his deep concern for the longevity of the results of three decades of missionary work by the Baptists "in this little portion of the Lord's vineyard," and he asks: "Will it live?" He continued: "The State of Indiana has as yet (1880) no enviable reputation religiously among her sisters, and the County of Lake has not yet been noted for large benefactions or extensive revivals." (His books can be viewed at the Lowell Public Library.)
Along with his ongoing concern for the religious life of the area, history of the churches and Sunday Schools that he and other Baptist ministers were involved in, he also found time and space to write about the wonders of his favorite lake:
"Westward and southward as far as from the lake shores the eye can see, extends a stretch of level and then rolling land known as Lake Prairie. The little lake from which the prairie gets its name, as viewed on a summer day, from some prairie height with the blue sky above, is beautiful beyond the art of painters to represent, because nature in sunny loveliness reflects light from the crystal water, and varying hues from trees that skirt the bank and from the green herbage, and from the sunlight sky. The glory of such a scene, the blue dome up above, the sparkling cooling water, the green-robed oaks and the flowering meads, and above all the sunshine, painters may in colors bright and in fair outline represent, but cannot equal." (Rev. Ball wrote long sentences like those of St. Paul.)
The busy circuit preacher also bemoaned the fact that a new railroad being built was spoiling the original beauty, and he may have wondered when an answer would be given to his question "Will it Live?"
Over a century later (in 1987) his answer appeared in a book written and published by Cedar Lake Town Historian Beatrice Horner (died Dec. 21, 1998, age 88) with the title: Cedar Lake, Indiana: Once Again it Will Live. "Bea," fondly remembered by so many for her work in preserving the traditions and the history of her beloved Cedar Lake, wrote the belated answer to Rev. Ball's question, and told about how the area has carried on the founding principles of the pioneer. Her book is a wealth of information about the many early communities that are now a part of Cedar Lake, and includes decades of newspaper stories she authored.
Bea included the following story in her book, printed here as a memorial to her:
Our Cedar Lake history is unique inasmuch as it was originally not man's idea. It began as an 805 acre body of water, the result of a melting glacier that left a clay-lined depression with depths of 6-19 feet. A Government land survey named it Clear Lake. Its native inhabitants were the Potawatomi Indians.
It's only natural that in 1834 earliest pioneers chose the shore of Cedar Lake and Fancher Lake. Named now for its red cedar trees, it was appreciated as a place to live and thrive, on protective forests, water, wild game, and fish.
In time, pioneer families platted small towns -- by 1840 West Point, 1854 Fairport and by 1870 a Handle factory seed, the Village of Armour Town.
Schools were seriously dealt with. We can claim Lake County's first public school -- the Ball School in 1838; then followed the Red Cedar School and many others. Also, a post office in 1870 was named, "The Cedar Lake Post Office."
As early as 1858, boat builders were here. City folks, vacationing here were living in tents under trees or along the lake shores. We were being discovered by the lovers of the great outdoors.
Another era had set in by 1882, when the Monon Railroad was laid along Cedar lake's western shores. Swiftly we became an industrial region as trains, by the carload, hauled both people and most of life's necessities. Along came hotels, taverns, general and grocery stores, ice farming and more boat building, churches and parks.
This all led to the next era in approximately 1914. Now came the subdividers. We acquired cottages by the hundreds, excursion trains and boats, lake piers, water toboggans and chicken dinner signs, as people packed our hotels and swarmed over our parks. In the course of time we record over 50 hotels and inns, ranging from 25 rooms to over 100 rooms in size. The old style saloon was usually located within the larger hotels.
Local citizens voiced a need for control and tried in 1914, 1933 and 1950 to incorporate. After much vehement opposition, court hassles and expense, loyal citizens made it happen in 1967. Cedar Lake became a Town. Our population in 1984 numbers 8900. For our long 150 years of Cedar Lake history, our water sources have been natural springs and private wells. Because nature still governs our town with a powerful lake, inlets, outlets, swamps and ditches, we always will be unique and singular in our needs.
Because of Cedar Lake's natural beauty, it behooves us to keep it looking like a treasured park worthy of everyone's pride and attention."
Beatrice Horner Castrogiovanni added this poem:
Thank you Bea, for all those great memories.
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