Seclusion, Good Luck, and Joel Baggs Inn cottages
A HISTORY of CAMPBELL'S BEACH
Thomas W. Campbell was an entrepreneur who had his hand in many enterprises. In the late 1800's and early 1900's, his main business was as a "gentleman farmer", owning several farms north of the tiny settlement of Italy Hill, Jerusalem Township, Yates County. Most of these farms were on the west side of a road which is now a private road known as the "Tom Campbell Road". His farms were worked by tenant farmers under his direction, and produced "fuel" for that period's main mode of transportation - hay for horses.
In 1911, Tom Campbell purchased a home for his family near Branchport. His new property was located on the shore of Keuka Lake, and featured a house and barn and a 10 acre tillable field. (very small compared to his other holdings) On the Eastern side of the property was an 800 foot strip of wooded lake shore, which was pretty much worthless, as it could not be farmed.
Tom had long admired an unusual feature of the property, the "sandbar". It was a long, narrow strip of land which, in the spring, was covered by water. But as the lake level lowered in the summer, the sandbar would emerge. It would grow in length, extending the shoreline up to 380 feet to the North. This sandbar sheltered a bay at the north end of the property, called "The Basin" because of it's depth. On the west shore of the sandbar, two steps out would put you over your head! The Basin opened into the larger "Bar bay".
(Since 1968, time and nature have changed the sandbar greatly.)
Soon, Tom decided that it would be nice for the family to have a cottage. He had one built down by the lake near the base of the sandbar. At that time, very few cottages graced the presently crowded and valuable Keuka shores. But, times - they were a-changing!
Ever the entrepreneur, Tom wondered if someone might wish to rent the cottage for a week or two. He put an ad in a Rochester paper, and soon had an answer from a school teacher, Nellie Sadler. She brought a couple of teachers with her, and they were enchanted. After additional interest was shown, three more cottages were built in the spring of 1914. The resort "Campbell's Beach" was up and running!
In the following years new cottages were built. But then in April of 1924 the newspapers carried the news of the death of Thomas W. Campbell, aged 67. By then, there were 16 cottages, all renting for around $20 a week, which included a rowboat.
Campbell's Beach carried on, being run by Tom's widow, Carrie. Eventually, she married George W. Hall who joined her in the operation of the resort. Another cottage was added, a made over garage. This became "Halls", which served as the owner's cottage and office for the rest of the Campbell's Beach era. In his "spare time" George Hall built over 40 rowboats in a shop attached to the barn. Campbell's beach did a brisk business of renting out fishing boats!
After George Hall's death in 1939, Carrie Campbell Hall operated the beach singlehandedly for over 20 years. During this period, most of the cottages were rented on a yearly basis, most renters returning for several years. This created a "family" atmosphere at the beach. The nightly fishing boat rentals continued.
After Carrie Campbell Hall's death in 1963 at the age of 85, the beach property passed on to Tom and Carrie's daughter, Grace Campbell Johnson. Previous to that, Grace and her husband F. Roger Johnson had operated the resort for a few years due to Carrie's failing health. Grace ran the business end, and Roger did the physical upkeep.
In 1968, after a 56 year run, the Campbell's Beach era came to an end. In Oct. 1968 the property was sold to Ed and Alice Skalny and re-named "Pebble Beach". The modernization of the cottages was started by Skalny. Due to Ed Skalny's untimely death, the Skalny ownership was brief. By 1972, Leo Patterson had purchased the property from the Skalny estate. The property soon was to be broken up.
Within four years, Leo Patterson subdivided the southern 10 cottages to private ownership. He retained the remainder of the property which he continued to rent out. In 1976, this portion was sold to George Hamilton who continued the cottage rental business for ten years. In 1986, this section of the former Campbell's Beach resort, consisting of the house, barn, field and the 10 north end cottages, was sold to the present owner, "Camp Good Days and Special Times". It is now a widely known summer camp for children with cancer.
See also this site, an article by George Hall's Great Grandson, Ted Hall. It shows a boat made by George W. Hall and a painting by George's son, Ralph T. Hall, an accomplished artist.
1920's & 30's
Kum On Go In
Dew Drop Inn
Joel Baggs Inn