Mid-Summer Memories of Little Sebago Lake, 1950s-1960s

Every summer, I think back fondly of summer vacations spent on Little Sebago Lake in Maine. I also often share a post or two each summer with vintage photos from my years of vacations spent in Maine with my extended family.

However, I realized that last summer, busy with several genealogy projects, I neglected to write about those years.

To remedy that situation, today’s post is all about those wonderful years on Little Sebago Lake.

My grandparents, born and bred in Maine, returned there every summer to spend vacation time with family and friends. Grandfather worked for Western Union and often got transferred up and down the East Coast.

About 1947, the final move came when he was transferred from New Jersey to Boston. Now living in Massachusetts, Grandfather and Grandmother found vacationing in Maine a much more accessible experience and began renting a cottage on Little Sebago Lake. This was before my time, but thanks to Aunt Barbara, who was an avid photographer, there are photos documenting our family life from then through the 1960s.

Little Sebago Lake was a much different place back then compared to today. Camps were rustic – very rustic – as there was no potable water, no telephones, firewood was the heat source and the bathroom was an outhouse in the woods. Our camp did have electricity, but my grandparents saw no need for a television.

Although boating was a popular past time, you were much more likely to see sailboats than waterskiers. Jet skis hadn’t even been invented. Vacations were all about family experiences – swimming, sunbathing on a small beach or your own dock, grilling food, enjoying lake views on land or in rowboats.

In bad weather – and it could be quite cold and wintery in July – we stayed inside and read books or magazines, did puzzles and I remember finishing up quite a few paint-by-number kits.

Little Sebago was – and is – beautiful. Now, step back in time and enjoy the lake!

We’re There!!!

This was the first view of the lake peeking through the trees along today’s Cambell Shore Road. By 1981, when Dave and I visited Maine and drove down to the cottage, the foliage had grown so much that the lake was no longer visible at this point.

Almost to Camp!

Camp was the very last cottage along this dirt road, which I remember having some VERY bumpy spots due to Maine winters.

Approximate Camp Location (red), Beach Location (purple)

Cousin Charles with Carole, Barbara and Doris

Aunt Carole and Grandfather
on the beach across the lake

Mom, Dad, Grandmother & Grandfather

Aunt Carole & Grandfather boating at the beach

Mom at the beach

The land behind those bushes was all marshy. Today, those bushes have all grown high and there are cottages encroaching on it.

Grandfather built this deck by hand and each fall, it came out of the water and was stored in the boathouse below the cottage.

My grandparents loved the lake and I think what drew them to this particular cottage was the lake views:

Cottage Porch View


The camp lot was quite large – I’d say well over an acre – with lots of space from the neighbors on each side. The cottage also sat up on high ground.

Spring time view of camp from the water

Uphill from the lake, boathouse door open

Almost like glass

Lake view through the trees

Family Fun

Grandmother & Me

This was my first summer at Little Sebago Lake – I was three years old and my earliest memories are all about Grandmother making me feel comfortable in the water – walking, playing with her in an inner tube and, eventually, swimming.

The summers I spent on Little Sebago Lake are filled with nothing but warm memories.

In late August, there were some last looks around the lake:

All good things come to an end, though, and, as Labor Day approached, the camp shut down for the winter and we headed back to the real world.

Fall is coming!

Those were definitely the good old days! I never realized how lucky I was as a kid, but I appreciate every moment spent on the lake now.

5 thoughts on “Mid-Summer Memories of Little Sebago Lake, 1950s-1960s”

  1. You’re so lucky to have such wonderful vacations at a lake. And to have all those photos, too! My husband and I are visiting Maine in October!

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