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Lakeside Heritage Trail
31. South Gate and Pillars
South Gate circa 1930
South Gate 2006
The early years of Lakeside saw nearly all visitors coming by steamship and entering through the gate on the dock. In the late 1880s, visitors also started to arrive on the newly constructed railways provided by the Lakeside & Marblehead Railroad or the Toledo, Port Clinton and Lakeside Electric Interurban Railway. Early wagon and carriage visitors could enter through a south gate located at Maple and Seventh streets.
After 1900, auto travel became more common. A new, more permanent gate for autos was opened at the Maple and 7th location in 1920 to handle the increasing traffic. The vehicles soon began causing congestion and safety concerns on Lakeside’s narrow roads. Six years later, General Manager A.L. Hoover had a parking lot created west of the South Gate, with an entry marked by four stone pillars. The plan was to have all cars park there so the town could return to its former pedestrian ways. However, the parking plan was voluntary and the lot found few takers. In a few years, the lot disappeared except for the stone pillars that remain at Sycamore and 7th.
In 1930, Lakeside’s south fence was moved about 1,000 feet to the south. A new gatehouse was built and stone columns with an arch marked the new entrance at Port Clinton Highway (Route 163). By the mid-1930s, passenger travel by steamboat and railway had ended, and roadways became the only way guests could enter Lakeside.
In 1961, a new Main Gate with four lanes was constructed at 5th St. The old south “main” gate and entry were closed. However, in the decades that followed and visitor traffic continued to grow, so did traffic headaches. At peak times, there was a long line of cars that stretched out onto Route 163. In 2005 Lakeside’s Board of Directors decided to reestablish a South Gate. On June 23, 2006 a new gate house, visitor center and parking lot greeted arriving guests.
Guests who make on-line reservations or have will-call tickets can pick them up at the Visitor’s Center. Guests who purchase tickets upon arrival obtain them either at the Visitor’s Center or the 5th St. Gate. Guests who have tickets can enter at any gate, including ones at the east and west ends of 2nd St. The 5th St. Gate remains the only entrance open twenty-four hours a day.
Things change and others remain the same. The parking issues that faced Mr. Hoover 100 years ago still perplex Lakeside today. Car travel continues to grow, as does the popularity of SUVs, large trucks and golf carts. Lakeside’s Board of Directors continue to pursue solutions that accommodate parking and the safety of all.