Summer City, a.k.a. Dumars Farm, began in the early 1900's. There are many anecdotal stories of those early years, but the most common thread goes like this.
Early on, Bob Dumars would allow friends and family to camp on his property along the Lake Erie shoreline. The campers would return year after year as they grew to love the beauty, nature and restfulness of waves lapping the shore. The regulars began building little storage sheds, rustic shelters, and eventually, more permanent cabins and cottages.
In the absence of zoning, or any other government regulation for that matter, Bob was free to do as he chose with his property. He had a big bulldozer and would use it to level an area for construction of a new cottage. At some point he began to lease the lots on an annual basis, the amount of the lease was merely a token of the value of the space. The name "Summer City" entered common usage at that time and many of the old leases included it in the lot description.
The original access was the drive at Ellis road beside the Dumars homestead. The oldest cottages are located west of the creek. When cottage #9 was the Evans-Thompson cottage a few recall parking on the west side of the creek and walking the rest of the way as more often than not, the bridge was washed out. At the time there was no drive from Eagley Road and only 3 or 4 cottages on the east side of the creek.
Time marched on and bob cleared more lots and people built cottages. Bob dug wells and ran water lines, and eventually most of the outhouses disappeared. During this time new roads were built as spring meant spreading gravel, turning on the water, patching leaks, filling potholes, etc..
The residents of Summer City began to organize picnics and activities for their community and the loose organization became the Summer City Association. When Bob Dumars was no longer able to take care of the day to day of Summer City his step-daughter and her husband, Shirley and Andy Pochatko, assumed that responsibility. Summer City Association and Shirley & Andy reached an agreement whereby the Association would lease the wells and storage tanks and maintain the water system.
For many years everyone worked together for Summer City, and life was good. Sometimes the roads weren't too great and water lines were still on top of the ground, but that was part of the adventure. That all changed in early 1986.
Shirley informed us that her step-brothers wanted their inheritance and that they were putting the property up for sale. Worst case scenario would be that an outside entity would purchase the property and void the leases. A few residents; John Andrzejczak, Bill Divens, Zip Panko, Dave Rexford, Bob Smith, and Mike Vadzemnieks; decided that they should try to buy the property. Mike Vadzemnieks, being the current president of the association began the process and communicated with the lease holders. They engaged attorney Joe Messina and immediately optioned the property to buy some time to "get our ducks in a row". The asking price was $255,000.00, a huge sum back in 1986. They discussed the options, the value of the property, and how to best proceed.
The first meeting of the Summer City Lease Holders Organization was held on April 26, 1986 at the Springfield Fire Hall. There were 38 lease holders present. The purpose of the meeting was to; A) inform all lease holders of the developments since the property was placed on the market, B) establish a committee to negotiate with the property owners in the best interest of the Summer City Lease Holders, and C) to empower the committee, once established, to act on behalf of the lease holders.
The ADHOC committee of John, Bill, Zip, Dave, Bob, and Mike became the established committee by motion and vote was empowered to act on behalf on the Summer City Lease Holders. After the initial meeting a realtor was hired, withdrew the option and presented a counter offer. Eventually, a purchase price of $155,000.00 was reached.
Another meeting was held with the summer city lease holders - whom were now reffering to as the Summer City Land Owners Association - on August 16, 1986 and presented the negotiated price, answered questions and secured commitments. The individual cost per lease holder was set at $3,200.00.
The rest, as they say, is history. A business trust was established to purchase the property because a Condominium Association was not an option as some cottages still had outhouses. Joe Messina named us Old Lake Road Summer City Trust and the name has stuck. The sale was closed on September 18, 1986, with 55 of 62 lease holders participating in the purchase. It was also decided at this time that lease holders who weren't comfortable with the purchase could continue to lease their lots from the Trust.
As the years went by the remaining lease holders purchased the certificates for their lots or sold their cottages. New owners were required to purchase certificates fro their lots now, all residents of Summer City are certificate holders.
There have been uncountable changes and improvements since the property was secured. What could have been a bad thing for residents of Summer City turned out the be a good thing well worth the effort.
Enjoy your Summer in the City