Wischmeyer wine casks become cozy cottages

Casks from the former Wischmeyer winery were turned into cottages in Vermilion in the 1930s. Photo courtesy Sandusky Library

On the north side of Lake Road at the end of Glen Park Road sat the Wischmeyer Hotel on lands extending west to Dover Center Road, and just south of where Wolf Road is today. The Wischmeyer family planted a grape vineyard, and built a wine cellar for their home-brewed wines, a 40-bed hotel, a pavilion for cards and games, and a boat house to accommodate businessmen and families for a summer at the beach. This was a successful business started in 1872.

In 1926, the Bay Village mayor and council passed an ordinance that stated there could no longer be businesses located on Lake Road. They did this because Rocky River had just built a strip shopping center on Lake Road at Kensington and widened Lake Road to four lanes. Bay Village was afraid this idea would advance into Bay and shops would start sprouting up along our Lake Road. But, sad to say, this ordinance put the Wischmeyer Hotel out of business.

Near the end of the hotel era, the family sold its western lands along Dover Center Road and much of the equipment used in their wine business. The unused wine casks – or barrels, which measured nine feet in length and 12 feet in diameter – were put up for sale. In the 1930s, the casks were purchased by entrepreneurs from Vermilion, Ohio, with the idea of transforming them into individual motel rooms. They hauled them to the west side of Vermilion, and converted them into small cottages for travelers to rent. They sat in a row along a path to the beach. Renters had the lake with beach access to swim and fish. It was named Cask Villa.

I remember this vividly. Driving home from Sandusky after a day at Cedar Point or the islands, looking to my left and seeing the cottages with a light on shining through the window in the back of the barrel always made me smile. I told my folks I wanted to spend the night there. Inside, there were two beds built into the walls with a table and lamp between them. Everything else was outside.

Later on, the owners saw the real need for a bigger building and a room was constructed onto the front of the cask. It was remodeled more than once. A blog written by the Sandusky Library states that the cask cottages were in use until the 1960s. Today the property is a condominium complex called Cask Villa.

Do you remember this?

kay laughlin

I am the Historian for the Bay Village Historical Society. Member and Past President of the society. Lived in the village since 1936.

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Volume 8, Issue 16, Posted 9:45 AM, 08.16.2016