Pleasant Lake Town History
Submitted By: Keith Wagner
Before the land where the town of Pleasant Lake now stands, the
Pottawattomie Indians roamed the hills and forests, hunting wild game,
fishing in the streams and lakes. Their trails became the roads of the
early settlers. The Indian name for Pleasant Lake was "Nipcondish".
The first log house was built by Seth W. Murray in 1835, the first frame
dwelling was built by Abner Winsor in 1836. These 2 men planted orchards
in 1836. The first post office in Pleasant Lake was opened on June 2,
1851 with Simeon Aldrich as postmaster. By the end of the century, mail
was reaching the own by train, bus and auto truck.
The town of Pleasant Lake was platted November 1, 1870 by William
Thompson and Sheldon Ball. However, homes, stores and schools ha already
been built near the east end of the lake. With the coming of the New
York Central Railroad which passed near the west end of the lake, the
business section gradually changed.
The town continued to grow, and by the time they celebrated their
centennial in 1935, there were 2 grocery stores, 2 barber shops, 2
retaurants, 2 pool rooms, 6 auto service stations, hardware, drug store,
produce station, blacksmith shop, lumber yard, burial vault company,
hotel and tourist camp. A bank had been established in 1914.
In 1875, an Agricultural Society was formed and in September of that
year, a fair was held on the park grounds. The fairs were held annually
until 1879 when they were discontinued.
Over the years, Pleasant Lake had many events which drew crowds to the
small town. They had a band which gave concerts, an "Elite Quartet"
which sang at various events such as churches, lodges, weddings,
funerals, parties, Old Settler meetings and for school activities.
They had a baseball team which played teams from towns 40 or 50 miles
Around 1870, Pleasant Lake had the only Lake Resort in the area except
Rome City. Some of the major attractions of the day were the Baseball
Club, Dance Hall and Boating. People would come on excursions from Ft.
Wayne, Jackson, Michigan and other cities on the rail road to spend the
day. Both Ft. Wayne and Jackson, Michigan were on the New York Central
Railroad at that time which ran through Pleasant Lake. Railroads were
running 4 passenger trains each way each day.
There was an ice industry at Pleasant Lake. The Ransburg Brothers built
an Ice House on the east End of Long Lake which is about a mile from
Pleasant Lake and furnished ice to Pleasant Lake and to Ft. Wayne.
Eugene Aldrich also had a smaller Ice House on the Southwest corner of
Pleasant Lake and furnished ice to residents of Pleasant Lake. A company
from Ft. Wayne came to Pleasant Lake and built several large ice houses
and for many years, they shipped ice to Ft. Wayne. With the start of
artificial ice houses and later electric refrigerators, the ice house
There was a sawmill in the area which did an extensive business. A
large gravel industry was operated by the NYC railroad for a number of
Two prominent citizens of Pleasant Lake were also members in Chautauqua
for a number of years, working as entertainers and instructors. Pleasant
Lake put on Chautauquas for several years for free, and massive crowds
came to enjoy the entertainment.
As with so many other small towns, over the years with the invention of
the automobile, people started doing their shopping and business in the
larger towns, and the small towns begun to decline. Presently in
Pleasant Lake, there is a post office which still has 2 rural routes, 3
churches (a United Methodist, Baptist and Mennonite), a restaurant, 1
gas station/convenience store and some other small one-owner businesses.
the lake remains a favorite fishing place for a lot of people, and is an
enjoyable and quiet place to live.