Monday, July 15, 2013

The Green Lake Conference Center

About a month ago my sister came for a visit.  One day we took a ride to show her the area.  We drove into the Green Lake Conference Center off of Hwy 23.  It used to be owned by the Baptist Assembly and wasn't open to the public.  Now it is.  A lot of people are familiar with the conference center because it has hosted many events throughout the years.  My husband went to a conference when he was in high school and also went there to a math conference when he was a teacher.  We didn't know our way around so we just explored the various roads.  We saw how big this complex is and noticed that there was a lot of history in this area, but didn't know the depth of it until today. 

Apparently,  in 1880, a couple named Victor Lawson and Jessie Strong Bradley were married.  They were from Chicago and came to Green Lake for their honeymoon.  He was the founder of the Associated Press and later became the publisher of the Chicago Daily News.  By the time he was 38 years old he was the owner of the newspaper.  In order to escape city life in Chicago, they purchased their first parcel of land in 1888,   Eventually they owned the 1100 acre farm they called Lone Tree Farm.  Jessie was a go getter woman, and she designed and developed roads, stone walls, bridges and many buildings.

Mike searching for the cache.

Today we went back.  There are several geocaches placed in the conference center, and we decided to see if we could find a few.  Geocaching As One of Our Hobbies  It was pretty quiet without many people around so we were able to find some.  Then as we got deeper into the center, we discovered a lot of people doing all kinds of things.  Some were swimming, some were kayaking and boating, some were biking and some were just exploring the place like we were.  While looking for one geocache we came upon an old log cabin.  I got out to take some photos and a lady invited us over.  She showed us around the cabin and gave us a little history lesson.  The cabin was built in 1847.  It was the only building on the grounds that was there when the Lawson's bought the land.

This small one room cabin was the home to seven people.

Backside of the cabin

She showed us inside.  This small little cabin was the home to a couple and their five children. 

The only heat source, but they were living in just one room.

Writing desk in the front room

 The cabin was eventually sold and the new owner put on an addition with the original cabin as the parlor and sleeping rooms, a kitchen and dining area, and a wood shed.

This quilt is set up and everyone who visits is asked to quilt a few stitches.

The lady we spoke with was a volunteer and knew a lot about the area.  She told us how Mrs. Lawson had roads built throughout and had workers build walls along the edge from stones they found on the property.  Soon farmers from the area would pile rocks along the perimeter of the property and Mr. Lawson would buy them.

Roads are lined with rock walls.

They even built a suspension bridge that is solid and standing to this day.  I don't know how it is supported because it spans quite a distance.

The stone suspension bridge.

The photos above are taken from under the bridge.  Here is the road that goes over the top.

Road over the suspension bridge.

There are tons of things I learned today.  The conference center has a big golf course called Lawsonia which many people are familiar with.  It has hotels, cabins to stay in, campsites, boat rentals and access to beautiful Green Lake.  It also has secluded areas as well with lots of woods and prairies.

The prairie was blooming today.

If anyone wants to take an interesting trip, I would recommend the Green Lake Conference Center.  I went to the gift shop and bought a book of the history of the whole area.  Some day I may tell about other things I learned from the volunteer and this book.

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