Put-in-Bay 49th Founders Day Celebration Coming Up

Put-in-Bay and neighboring islands celebrate the 49th Founders Day event honoring Joseph de Rivera on Saturday, 10 June 2023.  Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial will display historic weapons, including black powder muskets, rifles, and.a short, smoothbore cast-iron cannon called carronade.  Demonstrations take place at 11am, noon, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, and 5pm.

Between 1820 and 1830, South Bass Island was under the jurisdiction of Huron County, Ohio; it was later joined to Ottawa County, Ohio.  In 1854, sugar and wine merchant Joseph de Rivera moved his family, three daughters and three sons (Josephine, Belle, Annie, Henry, Thomas, John) to Ohio.

Put in Bay map
1863 Ottawa County map courtesy old-maps.com
Joseph de Rivera
Image by Bridgeport, CT, History Center

According historical accounts published by the Historical Marker Database, de Rivera bought South Bass, Middle Bass, Sugar, Gibraltar, Ballast and Starve Islands. He hired a county engineer to survey the area in 10-acre lots and encouraged settlement by helping German immigrants purchase land to plant vineyards.  There was no actual village prior to the creation of the township in 1861.  The portion of South Bass Island known as Village of Put-in-Bay incorporated in 1877.

For additional historical information visit Put-in-Bay History Lives on the Internet Archive and Rare Otto Herbster Put-in-Bay Panoramic Photos Uncovered.

Off-Island Public Transportation Available via OCTA

Quality, accessible, cost effective, and safe public transportation for Ottawa County and neighboring counties is made available by the Ottawa County Transportation Agency, Oak Harbor, Ohio.

OCTA is the perfect resource for island seasonal employees and for those with limited vehicle access.  Reservationists will do everything  possible to schedule trips that work for you and for other OCTA riders and will always attempt to match your trip with similar existing trips.  Trip requests are accepted at the OCTA office — 419-898-7433.

It is suggested a minimum of 24 hours notice for in-county service and at least one (1) week for out-of-county service. We will attempt same-day trip requests, but availability is limited and not guaranteed. Trip requests can be made up to three (3) weeks in advance.

When making a reservation, please be prepared to furnish the rider’s name, date of birth, the address and phone numbers of both the pick up point and destination, the need for a personal care attendant (PCA), a telephone number at which you can be reached, and if any special accommodations are needed.

Hours & Reservations

Hours of Operation:  
Monday-Saturday 5:00am – 9:00pm
Sunday 7:00am – 6:00pm

Reservation Line:   419-898-7433
Monday-Friday 7:00am – 5:30pm


Within Ottawa County: $4.00

Erie County: $6.00

Huron County: $12.00

Lucas County: $12.00

Sandusky County: $6.00

Wood County: $6.00

Half fares available for anyone over 60 years of age and/or anyone with a disability. Application forms at our office or by calling 419-898-7433.

Island Survey Results Presented at PiB Property Owners Association Meeting

PiB Property AssociationOfficial results of the Put-in-Bay Property Association survey, conducted during April and May 2023, were made public at a packed-house meeting on Saturday afternoon in the Put-in-Bay Senior Center.

Put in Bay Property AssociationThe complete set of survey results with all the comments will be available on the Put-in-Bay Property Association Web page next week, as well as in a forthcoming issue of the Put-in-Bay Gazette.  A paper copy will reside in the Put-in-Bay Library.

Peter Huston, from the Great Lakes Alliance, shared the origins of the survey and gave thanks to the Property Owners Association, the Put-in-Bay Chamber of Commerce, and the Put-in-Bay Gazette for making the process possible.

Betsy McCann, a marketing research professional and resident of South Bass Island, conducted the hour-long presentation.  In her opening remarks, Ms. McCann stated, “This is a general survey, not very deep.  The idea is to go broad during first contact to cast a wide net.”  The number of respondents was 224 out of 356 contacts–a 63% result.

Acquiring information from people who live on the Bass Islands was the first priority; however, others were invited to contact the Property Association if they wished to participate.  217 came from South Bass Island, six from Middle Bass Island, and one from North Bass.  While some data is broken down by location and permanent/seasonal resident, Peter Huston stated, “Focus was on the Township to generate an inclusive spirit of community.”

“How satisfied are you with island life?”

54 respondents live in the Village of Put-in-Bay, 170 in the Township.  103 are permanent residents, 121 are seasonal; 14 of the latter are considering become full-time residents.

Island Survey
“What do we need more of?”

158 respondents own property, 15 rent.  114 are registered to vote on the islands, 103 vote at other locations.  37 respondents are in the 31-29 age range; 32 are in the 50-59 group; 74 are in the 60-69 range; 67 are in the 70+ category.

Put in Bay survey
“What do we need less of?

Comments generated by the survey vary in length, according to Ms. McCann.  “Limited economic development, too many golf carts, lack of medical care, and business owners pushing the party atmosphere too far” are a few of the prominent remarks in the survey results.  Mr. Huston suggested, “In order to have a sustainable community we need to encourage growth of the 31-50 age group.”

Processing the comments for informative conclusions required coding responses to identify priorities.

Island survey
“What are the top five priorities?”
Put in Bay Survey
“How would you rank the top five priorities?”
Put in Bay Survey
Sub-group preferences for government

Another concern the survey investigated is whether respondents prefer single or multiple forms of government.  The question did not identify village or township preferences.  A strong preference for single-form governing is indicated in the results.

Island Survey
Preference for form of government

140 survey respondents offered additional comments.

Put in Bay Survey
Additional comments content

Ms. McCann gave community members several opportunities to ask follow-up questions and closed the meeting by asking for a show of hands of those who would like to see a second survey to determine the answers to more narrowly focused issues.  Peter Huston added, “The point of the survey is to start conversations.  My hope is Village Council and Township Trustees will use the data to move the island forward.  We are a satisfied group which wants to tweak island life.”

Saint Paul’s Food Pantry Changes Availability

The Vestry of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Put-in-Bay Ohio has decided, based on the unanimous recommendation of the St. Paul’s Outreach Committee, that the St. Paul’s Food Pantry will be available by appointment, rather than at specific times, as of June 2. Those in need may call Fr. Bob Solon at 419-285-6809, or Mrs. Candy Baker at 440-708-8176 to make arrangements to pick up donations.

St. Paul's Episcopal Put in Bay“We didn’t come to this decision lightly. Recently, both our cash to buy food and our stores of available food have been depleted at a really rapid rate,” said Fr. Solon, St. Paul’s Priest-in-Charge. “Food prices are higher now, and our incoming donations of food and cash weren’t keeping pace. The Food Pantry has been part of our ministry here for some time, and we fervently want to continue this ministry in some fashion through these leaner times.”

Donations of shelf-stable food may be left in the donation bin at the door of the Pantry. For cash donations, please call Fr. Bob or visit the parish website.

The Church and Labyrinth are open for prayer/meditation 10am to 7pm daily.  For further information, contact the church office at 419-285-5981 or at stpaulspib “at” frontier.com.

Put-in-Bay Waterfront Dining at The Keys

Looking for superb dining along the Put-in-Bay waterfront?  The Keys  is the spot at Put-in-Bay for delicious food and beverages, fantastic views of the harbor, and a festive atmosphere.

The vibe at The Keys is “vacation time”  with live music and the most colorful and vibrant setting on South Bass Island.

And then there’s the menu:  Fresh Mahi Mahi Tacos, scrumptious burgers, Grouper Bites, grilled jumbo shrimp, fire-braised pulled pork, rice bowls, chicken tortilla soup, BLT Caesar Salad, and the list goes on.

Succulent Shrimp

THE KEYS is this summer’s Put-in-Bay hot spot!

Tasty Smoked Fish Dip