Cobbett’s Pond and Searles Castle
This old view shows Cobbett’s Pond with Searles Castle in the background. Dunkin Beach does not yet exist, where Castleton is today and “Granite Hill” is an open pasture.
Its hard to believe that it has been forty years since we opened the real estate brokerage business in Windham. Our small office was located next to the Pelham Bank and Trust on Route 111. I know what your thinking, yes that crappy “Pinto” Mustang was mine… but I loved that car because it saved me from near certain death in West Virginia.
Many of the laborers and masons who worked in the construction of Searles Castle, in Windham, were immigrants from Italy. A few years back, I had a gentleman drop by my office who provided me a photograph of his grandfather, Jacob Pitchochelli with his family. The gentleman shown in the photograph above driving the oxen is also Jacob Pitchochelli. Wouldn’t Mr. Searles and all of the people who labored to build the walls of Searles Castle, and who must have taken such pride in their work, be disappointed that so much of it has been destroyed or is falling to the ground today. The beautiful gate being constructed in the photograph above, became a safety hazard and was torn down.
According to “Rural Oasis” “Camp Colt on Cobbett’s Pond was run by Mr. and Mrs. Alan Delaney. It opened in 1947 and functioned successfully for twenty-three years until it finally closed in 1970.”
Loraine Delaney writes in a note that, “As I told you these are the only pictures that I could find, Denise said she had some but doesn’t know where they are stashed.”
“We started Camp Colt June 1948 and it ran 24 years. Alan received his degree in Physical Education from the University of Miami. Before that he had been a Head-liner football star player from Lynn English High School in Lynn Massachusetts. His nickname was Alan-A-Dale.”
“The camp ran for 10 weeks each summer and the cost was $7.50 a week. This included transportation to and from the children’s residence plus a carton of Milk and a lot of forgotten lunches.”
“Swimming in Cobbett’s Pond was the main spark at the camp. Alan believed that every child should learn to swim.” ( I remember learning to float on my back there.)
“We also featured other sport including water skiing in later years —” (And I remember during my time there, that on rainy days, the boxing gloves came out and everybody had a turn at a round with another boy at camp.)
“Ceramics was the favorite craft in the Arts and Crafts program.”
“With the closing of the camp Alan worked as a Miami Stage Employee and became Jackie Gleason’s main Spot-Light operator. “
Alan and Lorraine’s son still owns the waterfront property that was once the location of part of Camp Colt. Of course, Denise Delaney is my sister-in-law, married to my brother Gardner.
The beautiful photograph was among some family items I came across recently. Unfortunately, I don’t really know who these people are. I am thinking they are Butler or Johnson family members. Maybe my Johnson “cousins: can help me out. The caption reads: “To Al” Sept. 18, 1910. The Clam Bake at Cobbetts. Jade___of l__e
Long before Windham Country Club was ever conceived, there was a golf course in Windham that offered views of Cobbett’s Pond. Rural Oasis states that, “Several years before the construction of Route I-93 and the influx of new residents, Windham’s people could hike, swim, skate, ice fish and toboggan in town (Or ride a dirt bike on miles and miles of old wood roads, like I did on my beloved Honda 70.) In fact there was even a golf course and summer playhouse, both located on Range Road. Ed Walkey from Cliftondale, Massachusetts , owned the former Lakeview Boarding House. During this period he started Lakeview Golf Course, the nine-hole course especially popular with summer visitors. The pro shop was located under the barn. The number one green was on the other side of Armstrong Road. When the southbound lane of I-93 was constructed the green was abolished for the new entrance of Armstrong Road. The golf course was a family business where Thyra, Ann, and their brother Allen worked with their parents taking care of the greens and the shop.”