THEN AND NOW
Back in 1920, a physician named Dr. Ralph Somers moved to the Brookville, Ohio area. In 1921, he purchased a summer home on Wolf Creek Pike where he opened a park and swimming pool. He sent an invitation to the public to participate in the fun there. The park, Elm Lake, was described as a "picturesque site for the tired and weary". He also opened the "Log Cabin Inn" there. By 1971, the park had fallen into disrepair.
Dr. Thomas Oswald and his daughter Christine drove to the location around 1971 when his father, Anton Oswald (who swam at Elm Lake in his youth), called him and informed him the park was for sale. Christine recalls "The property was a disaster, with the cabins and houses in desperate need of repair. But we fell in love with Elm Lake, and decided to move the whole family to this new location. Thus began a decades long project to restore the property to it's prior glory."
The Wolf Creek Retreat has an atmosphere of a magical fairyland.....it is nestled away and appears like Brigadoon once you cross the bridge to the Lakeside venue, or once you walk down the lane at the Creekside venue and begin to hear the rush of Wolf Creek along the property.
Elm Lake was called Honeymoon Harbor in the 1930's boasting get-away cabins and was a regional swimming destination frequented by thousands of people on summer weekends. At one time it was also a YMCA camp for swimming and overnight camping. The Log Cabin Inn served chicken dinners for decades to folks dining outside under colored lanterns strung across the yard, and boasted a large walk in beer cooler at the entrance. The double garage was the place for weekly poker games, boasting a peanut shell strewn floor.
Folks came from all around the area to pay 15 cents at the entrance, get their identification number which would be pinned to their swimming trunks, and stow their clothes in the lockers inside the enormous bathhouse overlooking the lake. The concession stand manager would have her son count the cars parked alongside Wolf Creek Pike so she would know how many hamburgers to defrost...