Memories of Little Sebago Lake, c1950s

Last Labor Day weekend, I wrote a nostalgia post about many summers spent on Little Sebago Lake in Maine. Later, I had a message from a person who invited me to the Facebook page for Little Sebago and I was thrilled to make contact with the family who has owned my grandparents’ cottage since Grandmother sold it to them in the spring of 1969 after Grandfather had passed away the preceding December.

Since my parents always visited my grandparents at the cottage at the end of July and beginning of August (we stayed 2-3 weeks), and it is now July 27th, I decided to share a few more of those wonderful lake memories.


Aunt Carole

This is the only good photo I think I have of the guest cabin that Grandfather converted. Aunt Carole is taking a picture of someone or something and I suspect that my Aunt Barbara is the one photographing her.

However, notice the open wooden door on the cabin in the background. The window on the left is actually the front of what at that time was a one bedroom cabin. That door was the entrance to the wood shed. The bedroom entrance can’t be seen in this photo. I think I was probably 7 or 8 when Grandfather converted the back section into a very nice second bedroom. My baby brother and I shared the “old” original bedroom and my parents slept in the “new” bedroom.


Aunt Barbara, King and Grandmother

Given the style of the photo and the exposed side, this picture was probably taken on the same roll of film as the photo above. The woods were great fun to explore, but, at night, when the wind was blowing, I thought it was a bit spooky. I also hoped that I wouldn’t have to get up to go outside and across the way to the outdoor bathroom at night!


Mom, swimming

It’s hard to tell exactly where this was taken, but I think it was at the beach where we used to go. The”beach” on my grandparents’ property was very narrow, just wide enough for the rowboat to be pulled up. Given the motor boat in this picture, I think this was a beach visit, which was a 15 or 20 minute boat ride from the cottage. I also think this was before I was born, so probably late 1940s or early 1950s.

Here is a much better view of the beach, with King and Mickey:

I wonder if they were busy watching family members swimming. They are both certainly attentive to something in the water.


Little Sebago, late 1950s

This is a view of the lake looking to the right off the dock.


Little Sebago with pink flowers in bloom, c1950s


One more spring view with the cottage and flowering tree

Here is one more view of the lake from the same time period. I suspect that this was taken in spring when my grandparents and aunt made the drive from Massachusetts to Maine to open the cottage for the summer season.


Cottage, photographed from the boat, c1950s

The summers at Little Sebago were quite magical for children. Kids today would probably be horrified at being forced to vacation in a cottage with no hot water, no potable water, an outdoor shed toilet and the lake being the bath tub. There was no television reception, no telephone and no electronic games to play. We did have a radio, which was turned on in the morning for news or when the weather made outside fun not so fun.

On the other hand, there were woods to hike and explore, other children to play with, blueberries to pick, beach visits, motor boat rides with adults and rowboats for kids and lots of swimming. There was also the excitement of driving to Gray or, the big town, North Windham, to pick up the mail, which was delivered to Rural Free Delivery and “Will Call.” North Windham even had a drive in movie theater and a ranch just outside of town where we would go horseback riding once each summer. Produce was bought at the family farm stands along the road and multi-gallon containers were filled at fresh water spouts. A really special treat was a homemade chocolate donut appearing at the breakfast table, bought, again, from a family business. When I got a little bigger, I was even allowed to help add wood to the fireplace and stoke the fire.

When the weather was bad – I remember not only wind and rain, but also a few hailstorms – paint by number pictures appeared along with those coloring books that had pages that turned colors when wet paint brushes were used. Grandmother taught me how to knit when I was 8 or 9 years old. She was an excellent knitter (and musician and artist – talents which definitely were not passed on to me) and I wish I had kept up with it. Knit and purl stitches have been long forgotten.

I consider myself to have been a very lucky little girl to vacation on Little Sebago Lake.

6 thoughts on “Memories of Little Sebago Lake, c1950s”

  1. Thank you for sharing, have such wonderful summer memorys at my grandparents camp on this lake. 🙂

  2. I really enjoyed reading the happy memories you shared of your many fun family vacations on Little Sebago Lake. For some reason your name sounds very familiar and can’t remember why it might be so familiar. My family, Jack and Edna Davis, and us five Davis kids had a summer home on Little Sebago during the 50’s and 60’s. Our cottage was directly opposite the long sandbar in the middle lake. We had many great friends on the lake that us five kids enjoyed every moment we had growing up there summers.
    Dottie Davis Murphy

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