1871-1880 Saratoga of the West


Clear Lake, in Cerro Gordo County, is the new popular watering place for the state. They have built over one hundred houses there within the last four months, have graded streets, put down board sidewalks, etc. It really has the appearance of a city in its infancy. Townsman, J. M. Emerson, is entitled to the credit of future prosperity. At the cost of over $20, 000 he built a fine, large hotel, Island House, on the beautiful Island in the lake, with fishing and bathing conveniences, etc.


A new steamer, the Island Queen, built entirely of iron, except the seats, arrived by train from Dubuque. On her first day she made seven trips to the Island during the afternoon and evening. The boat is 47 feet long, 9 feet wide and 5 feet deep. With the Phillips House and the addition of the Lake House, and with the large number of new and beautiful steam, sail and row boats to be put upon the lake, varied and first class accommodations could be had.


Fanned by a strong wind on Nov. 23, 1875, a chimney fire burned the Island House to the ground. A two story wooden structure, it measured 40×80 feet with 24×30 wings on the east and west sides.


Resident George Frost traveled to the New York City Exposition to display six feet of the rich, black local soil to promote the growth of north Iowa.

Methodist Campgrounds Meeting Assoc. was established to hold religious meetings each summer. This was also a part of the Chautauqua speaker circuit.  Entertainers and lecturers traveled by railroad from one town to another all over America to townspeople hungry for their fare

July 12 – The boat race which was organized last Saturday between Mr. Phillips and Mr. Lon Green was “pretty evenly matched”. The purse went to winner of the best two in three, resulting in one apiece so far. The afternoon contest decided the winner overall.


First bandstand constructed in the center of City Park


First telephone use in Clear Lake

Opening of Lake View Park on the south bank of the lake, something over two miles from town. Situated on a high bank with a fine view of the lake, was newly cleared land for the public’s enjoyment of a croquet court, a restaurant there had warm meals served to those wishing them and also ice cream, lemonade and baked goods. Green Bros. placed their steamer Lady Franklin, together with their fleet of sail boats The boats went to and fro, carrying to or bringing happy throngs of people between the town and park, at no charge. The cornet band lent their aid to make the day more interesting. On the scene of action young and old were enjoying themselves