SACKETS HARBOR — Now in his 80s, Paul E. Jones remembered the only time his parents let him drink soda is when the family spent a week’s vacation at Campbell’s Point every summer.
His great-grandfather Joe Hull was one of the original board members of the Campbell’s Point cottage association when it was formed 100 years ago this summer.
And now generations of cottage owners and residents of the quaint beach houses came together this weekend to celebrate the cottage community’s centennial with an old-fashioned pig roast.
Paul Jones and his brother Gary has spent every summer since the 1940s at the cottage community of 49 beach houses, just a short distance from the entrance to Westcott Beach State Park.
“It’s quiet and peaceful and everyone is family,” Paul Jones said July 27.
When the two brothers started coming, their mother Helen, a retired Watertown school teacher, rented a cottage for the family for a week.
Their mother’s brothers — farmers who lived in the Adams area — joined the Jones family for the week of hot dogs, hamburgers and soda, Gary Jones remembered.
“I forgot about that,” Paul Jones said before recalling some other memories of those days.
In those days, movers and shakers, bank presidents, local leaders of industry and attorneys owned their own cottages, while some of the homes were rented out.
The two brothers now co-own the four-bedroom cottage that usually has a sandy beach leading into Lake Ontario. The lake’s high waters are hiding that beach this summer, but the brothers are still enjoying their vacation as much as in past years, they said.
Six generations of the Jones family have spent some of their summers at Campbell’s Point, consisting of rows of cottages with well-manicured lawns and access to jet skis and boats to the blue lake.
In front of their cottage, a ping-pong table was set up, ready for competitive games between family members. Nearby, some bocce balls, a golf bag and a paddle board sit in the yard.
The cottages are open six months a year. The nonprofit association, similar to a homeowners’ association, has annual fees and a caretaker, who maintains the property. Paul Jones, who’ll be 83 on Monday, has a home in Adams and spends winters in Venice, Fla.
To get ready for the big weekend, brick pavers, inscribed with memories of loved ones, were sold to help raise money for the weekend events.
On July 27, a few cottagers were getting their photos taken in a photo booth in The Chatterbox, a community center that hosts all kinds of activities and events during the summer.
Sitting on lawn chairs after a day of swimming, families were gathered on lakeside yards before heading over for the dinner and music by a bagpiper.
Paul Adams, retired athletic director for the Watertown City School District, said his family rented a cottage from the two brothers’ grandmother before his father bought another one in 1960 when he was just 6 years old.
He can’t imagine spending summer anywhere else.
It’s was a safe place for his children and now for his grandchildren, he said.
“What’s not to love about this place? It’s heaven,” his wife Anne said.
Local historian J. Clancy Hopkins Jr. wrote a book about the place where he summered all of his life, Mr. Jones recalled.
The cottage community got its name from Archibald Campbell, the man who purchased the area from the town of Hounsfield for $575 in 1853.
Before it was privately owned, it was a summer resort, known as “The Coney Island of the North.” Almost 5,000 people would visit on weekends.
“It had a water slide,” he said.
In 1919, Campbell’s Point was sold to Mr. J. Bernard Boland of North Adams, Mass. Cottage owners, who until this point owned their cottages but leased the land they were on, were told their leases would not be renewed.
In response, the cottage owners collected $16,000 and purchased all of Campbell’s Point from Mr. Boland. The New Campbell’s Point Association was formed and the cottage owners each paid $325 to obtain title of their lots.
The centennial weekend will end July 28 with an annual softball game against nearby Knobby Knoll.
But unfortunately the Knobby Knoll has won the past four games, Paul Jones said.
“They’re teens, I guess, are more active,” he explained.