Idyllic Geneva Lake footage from the 1930s shared online via YouTube
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A young John Meyer ties up a boat near Gordy’s lakefront pier on Geneva Lake about 1960. Meyer still owns the boat, a 17-foot Thompson runabout, with what he said was the first inboard/outboard motor ever seen in the Midwest.
WILLIAMS BAY — Thanks to a California man who’s sharing his family history on YouTube, it’s possible to get a nostalgic peek at life at a Lake Geneva-area summer camp during the 1930s.
John Meyer, a Chicago native, spent summers as a child in the 1950s and ’60s at the George Williams College summer camp in Williams Bay. His father and grandfather both were trustees of the private liberal arts college. Meyer Lodge on campus bears the family name.
“College camp was a major part of our family,” Meyer said in a phone interview from his home in Carmel, Calif. “Trustee meetings in the summer were always at the college camp, so the family would spend two weeks there every summer.”
The tradition was passed down by Meyer’s father, whose own idyllic summers sailing and swimming at the camp in the 1930s were recorded by Meyer’s grandmother. A budding photographer, she took plenty of black and white photos, but also film footage, using an early 16-mm movie camera, purchased in 1929 by her husband.
Growing up, Meyer remembered seeing the films only once, when his dad bought a projector. But in the mid-1990s, when he was involved in video conferencing for his business, he realized the potential of the footage. He transferred the silent film to video, and asked his dad to watch those old home movies once again.
“Dad was 75 at the time,” Meyer remembered. “Mom was there, too. I hooked up a microphone to add audio to the tape. I told him, ‘Tell me what you see.’”
Watch the videos the full story in the e-edition of Walworth County Sunday, HERE.
Read the full story in the e-edition of Walworth County Sunday, HERE.