Wish You Were Here, at Cedar Lake
A postcard is never received with anything but excitement. It’s impossible.
There’s nothing more elating than checking the mail and finding a scenic picture with a brief hand-scrawled message on the back. ‘Having the most wonderful time!’ it might say, or ‘I’ll be back in a few days, see you soon!’ Even more expected, is the cliche sentiment ‘Wish you were here!’
But the fact is, we aren’t there – and can’t be. It’s the entire reason for sending the postcard. That’s as close as we can get to sharing the memories: by mailing a visual snapshot of our adventures.
This situation holds true for the receivers of the postcards featured below. Like them, we can not enjoy that same moment of sailing on Cedar Lake under a blue sky and light breeze. We will never know the same trees they row past or the depth of the water they swim in.
In Washington County, Cedar Lake is one of the most cherished places. In autumn, the leaves turn brilliant colors, and many hikers traverse through the woods. Come winter the lake is engulfed by ice fishermen. Come spring, a few brave kayakers will explore the shoreline. It is well known that in the peak of Summer, one can watch the parade of pontoons, fishing boats, kayaks, and runabouts. Families, friends, and neighbors alike have enjoyed the natural beauty of Cedar Lake for decades. From idyllic scenery, popular resorts, and leisurely activities, Cedar Lake is a charming natural feature of Washington County.
It’s no wonder that postcards were created and shared to capture Cedar Lake. What must it have been like, a century ago, to enjoy some of those same pleasures? Through a collection of postcards from the early 1900s, vicariously enjoy a summer’s afternoon at Cedar Lake.
Each of these postcards was created to share the treasured memories of summers spent at Cedar Lake. Today, we continue to enjoy Cedar Lake’s natural scenery and patronize its local restaurants and resorts. Many take part in activities like sailing, swimming, and fishing. Truly, Cedar Lake has been, and continues to be, a cherished place in Washington County.
Cedar Lake, Washington Co. Wisconsin, Looking East. Photograph. Wisconsin Historical Society. 1911.
Gonring’s Resort. Photograph. Wisconsin Historical Society.
Oak Lodge in Cedar Lake. Photograph. Wisconsin Historical Society. 1906.
Part of the Western Shore of Cedar Lake. Photograph. Wisconsin Historical Society.
Thoma’s Bathing Beach, Little Cedar Lake. Photograph. Wisconsin Historical Society.
Yachting, Cedar Lake, Near West Bend. Photograph. Wisconsin Historical Society. 1909.
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