Belvidere Park Association
Many who have passed by the big, long, old building at 2385 South Shore Drive have questioned – “what is it?” It has been called a summer camp, an old folks home, and a resort to name just a few. In many ways it is all three. In 1897, a group of individuals from Belvidere, Illinois, purchased a tract of land on the South Shore of Lake Delavan. This tract was originally known as Harrington Grove and at the time of purchase was Clark’s Grove. W. H. Cornell of Belvidere was contracted to construct a building consisting of twelve units to be occupied during the summer and with a unit in the middle to be used as a caretaker’s year round residence. Each unit consisted of a first level and on the second level were the sleeping rooms. A common front porch and back porch extended the length of the building. Each unit was entitled to the porch space immediately in front of their unit. Today several of the present owners are descendants of the early owners. In 1917 Frank T. Moran purchased a unit and his great grandson, Fred W. Shappert, is presently a shareholder. Present owners John K. and Jack Funderburg’s ancestry can be traced back to 1926 when their grandmother, Alice Funderburg, became a shareholder.
Many of the present owners have memories of waiting on the pier for the Mail Boat, which began its service in 1907. The summer residents of the lake could choose whether to have their mail delivered by boat or roadside delivery. The caretaker frequently scolded the youngsters as they raced down the pier to get the mail. It was his responsibility to receive the mail and he intended to fulfill his duties. This lakeside mail delivery service was discontinued in 1958. In 1926 a tract of land became available on the opposite side of the road and the shareholders voted to purchase the land. Garages were constructed on this tract of land. The building has gone through many “facelifts” and has continued to be a landmark on the lake and a major source of enjoyment for many generations.
Contributed by Audrey Emanuel
President, Belvidere Park Association