Have you ever wondered about our beautiful lakes history? We would love to receive any articles, historical documentation, leads, or pictures you have available to share. Please email any leads or information to us at PJCLakes@gmail.com. We will update this page as we find out more and will continue our search.
Have you ever wondered how each lake got their name?
(thanks to the research and sharing from Rick Riddle, we have some leads to share)
According to "History of Cass County, Michigan" published in 1882:
- Christiana (page 11) - Both Christiana Creek and Lake was so named by Rev. Isaac McCoy, founder of Carey Mission, in honor of his wife. Isaac McCoy (June 13, 1784 – June 21, 1846) was a Baptist missionary among the Native Americans in present-day Indiana, Michigan and Missouri. In 1804 at the age of 20, Isaac McCoy married Christiana Polke (1778–1851), age 16, in Kentucky; she was a cousin of the future President James K. Polk. Christiana's family had been at Kincheloe's Station, Nelson County, Kentucky, when it was attacked. Her mother and four siblings were carried into captivity by the Shawnee and Christiana was born after that time. They were taken to Michigan, where they lived with the Indians for 13 months. They were eventually "bought" or ransomed by the British, who sent them south to return to their people in Kentucky. The McCoys had 14 children; only four survived to adulthood. John Calvin McCoy assisted his father and became prominent in his own right in the early history of the Kansas and Missouri frontiers. McCoy's wife, Christiana, died in Kansas City in 1851. A stream in Elkhart County, Indiana and a lake in Cass County, Michigan are named for her.
- Juno - When the first settlers came to the lakes. One asked an Indiana brave where he lived he said "Juno the lake between Painter and Christian." Just Kidding! The origin of the naming of Juno Lake is somewhat of a mystery but likely named after Juno Amelia Adams. There is no mention of the lake in the history book. From the listing of Christiana's acreage, it appears that in the early years Christiana and Juno were lumped together as one lake. According to Ancestry.com, Juno Amelia Adams (b. Dec 1820, Vermont - d. 28 Apr 1857, Adamsville, MI) who owned 40 acres in Section 11 of Ontwa Twp. was the daughter of Sterling Adams (1778-1846). Sterling platted the town of Adamsport on the east bank of Christiann Creek in 1833. Moses Sage platted the village of Christiana on the west bank of Christiann Creek and established a grist mill there. Moses' son, Norman Sage, married Juno Amelia Adams on 27 Jan 1842 in Ontwa Twp. in her father Sterling's home. Since both Sterling and Juno Amelia Adams owned considerable land in this area its assumed that Juno Lake was indeed named for her.
- Painter (page 366)- Painter was so named in honor of Joseph Painter, one of the pioneers who figured quite prominently in the affairs of the township (Jefferson) in the days long since gone by, as well as being an important factor in its agricultural and manufacturing enterprises.
- Of Course this is always subject to some discussion. Here is a fun campfire story of the names courtesy of Wayne Falda!
Once upon a time there were three explorers - Mr. Painter, Mr. Juno and Mr. Christiana. A long time ago, they bushwacked their way into this area. They came upon the shores of a large lake and decided to build a raft to cross it. They built a wonderful raft. Sturdy and strong. And so they proceeded to cross the lake. But they made such a racket that they awoke a great winged beast resting in the the nearby marsh. The bird - an eagle of gigantic proportions - was angry over being disturbed. With its giant wings flapping, it rose from the marsh and into the sky. It's body was so immense that it blocked out the sun. The three pioneers looked up into the darkened sky in amazement. Their awe turned to horror as the beast dove towards them. The three men grasped each other in fright. Their eyes were filled with terror as the thunder bird grabbed their raft with its deadly talons and lifted it and the men high, high, high into the sky. Then the eagle gave the raft a mighty shake and out flew Mr. Painter, Mr. Juno and Mr. Christiana. They plummeted to earth and one-by-one they landed with the tremendous force of 3 semi-small asteroids - Splat, Splat, Splat. They each dug awesome holes that quickly filled with water. And so it was. The legend endured and eventually the four lakes were named: Eagle, Painter, Juno and Christiana. As for the eagle it was never seen again. Two centuries later, a junior exec from the Ford Motor Co. heard about the legend of the gargantuan bird. And now you know the rest of the story.
We found a great article on Lake Christiana and have added highlights below from that reading and a link to the actual article.
In the 1920’s, a local archaeologist named George R. Fox found evidence of over a dozen Indian mounds scattered around Christiana Lake and creek. However, by the 1930’s only six mounds were still visible. It was during this period that these remaining mounds were completely uncovered in a series of excavations conducted by both the Cass County Historical Society and Michigan Archaeological Department and CASS COUNTY MI Early picture of ancient Indian mounds found in Southwestern Michigan. their contents of bones, pieces of pottery, tools, and weapons were removed. The “Christiana Mounds” made somewhat of a splash in the archeological circles of their day, but are now all but forgotten.
Have you ever wondered what those pillars are on the Creek as you Kayak South off Christiana toward US12? Well here is a photo with a description that might help answer that question.
Christiana Lake Eastern Shore
The above photos and information was retrieved from this interesting article that includes a wonderful glimpse of lake history. It shares historical insights from the original Native Americans who settled here to the first homes built on the lake. The article continues through to current day photos and events on our lake. It also has some great information on zebra mussels and hybrid milfoil.
Click here for the full article written in Winter 2015. Thanks Jeff Wilson for sharing your research and article and Martha M. Pickrell for the research work conducted.
1914 Picture of "The Oaks"
Christina Lodge 1930s-1940s
Terrace Lanes Bowling Alley Interior - well visited in the 1970s.