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History of Johnson's Island

A Brief History of Johnson's Island

Johnson's Island has a long and illustrious history. It is believed that the original settlers of the Island were Indians. The original name was Bull Island until Samuel Johnson purchased it in the 1800's.

Mr. Johnson leased his island to the United States Government during the Civil War. It is said that during this "War Between the States", as many as 12,000 Confederates passed through the prison compound (almost like a holiday weekend here in the summer!). Post-war, the Island was farmed. In the 1890's, construction of the Johnson's Island Pleasure Resort began. Visitors traveled by ferry from Sandusky to visit the dance hall and bathhouses. Before the resort was completed a mysterious fire destroyed it. Shortly thereafter, the building of Cedar Point was underway across the Bay.

Johnson's Island Cemetery Memorial Service

The early 1900's brought the advent of quarrying. Workers and their families arrived from Sicily and formed a small town on the Island. Legend has it that some of these workers heard the sounds of a bugle one evening. Investigating the source, they saw ghosts of Confederate soldiers marching toward them. The workers gathered up their families and left the Island in great haste. Locals have spoken of visiting the abandoned worker's homes shortly after their departure and finding plates of food still left on kitchen tables.

Limited farming continued after the quarry operation was abandoned. Then in the 1950's, Bay Haven Estates was created and lots were parceled off to interested buyers for less than $500. There was even a "buy one - get-one free" deal! If you bought a waterfront lot, an inside lot was included in the price. Of course, the only way to get building materials, furniture and yourself to the Island was by barge or private boat until 1972 when the causeway was completed.

Today, Bay Haven Estates has over 200 families. Our newest neighbors in the Baycliffs Subdivision have added many more residents to our Island.

All four seasons offer their own special signature. From warm summer days to the first frost... the annual Halloween Hayride to an ice-encased Bay... and finally, the sound of Spring Peepers and the first sign of wild onions sprouting... Johnson's Island is a wonderful place to visit and live!


May 14, 2003, 09:23


Last Updated: Nov 29th, 2009 - 11:44:30 

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