STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE
Owned & operated since 1990 by Jerry, LuAnn & Lyndsey Busch (Lyndsey -Married Tom Currence 2010). Tom and Lyndsey have 3 children, Marcus, Makaila and Lincoln. The Eagle Cliff Hotel (renamed Eagle Cliff Inn aka The Beach Club in 1995), was nominated to the National Registry of Historic Places under Criterion A as a significant resource reflecting the recreation history that is the dominant theme in the history of Geneva-On-The-Lake. The hotel was approved for, and placed on the National Registry on September 20, 1995. Geneva-On-The-Lake’s history as Ohio’s oldest resort can be dated back to 1869, with the opening of a public picnic ground and the subsequent construction of a dance hall.
People began coming to the new resort and camping in tents, which led to the building of cabins. In 1869, there were only five houses near the 1-1/2 mile span of public grounds, but by 1905, there were 53 cottages engaged in the summer boarder business. From the early 1900s to 1940s, the heyday of Geneva-On-The-Lake as a resort, these cottages and larger boarding houses located along Lake Road flourished, including the Eagle Cliff Hotel built by Bert Warner.
As the popularity of Geneva-On-The-Lake increased, a new casino dance hall was built in 1916, and in 1920 ‘The Breakers’ (renamed the Pier Ballroom in 1929) opened. Geneva-On-The-Lake incorporated in 1927 with Charles Warner as the first mayor. Lake Road, the village’s Main Street, was known as ‘The Strip’, and drew vacationers primarily from the nearby steel mills of Youngstown and Pittsburgh.
However, post-war improvements in highways, the development of large theme parks, changing patterns of family recreation, and the loss of beaches to erosion, all led to a decline in the small resorts that once dotted the Lake Erie shoreline, and Geneva-On-The-Lake is today the only such resort left in Ohio.
The Casino burned in 1975 and the Pier Ballroom was demolished in the 1990s. Eagle Cliff Hotel is today one of the two most intact and significant remaining hotels in Geneva-On-The-Lake, with its Hotel and associated Cottages reflecting the full span of the village’s continuing history as the sole survivor of the once-numerous small town resorts that were formerly found all along Ohio’s Lake Erie shoreline. These buildings, the Hotel and Cottages, all simply designed, newly renovated by Jerry Busch in 2006 and still serving their original purpose, reflect an era and pattern of family recreation that is now almost entirely lost.