Before bikinis on McClelland’s Beach

Before bikinis - north shore - Spirit Lake - 1902 - near McClelland's Beach - Spirit Lake - IA - 51360
North Shore of Spirit Lake, from A History of Dickinson County, by R.A. Smith

Before bikinis on McClelland’s Beach, women wore quite a bit more clothing. We would hate to think about what would have happened if one of these fully-skirted women fell overboard in 1902. This picture is from the digitized version of “A History of Dickinson County”, by R.A. Smith, once only available in rare, hard-copy first editions, now available free at The photo was taken about a mile west of McClelland’s Beach, according to the book. Many thanks to the IAGenWeb Project for their efforts at making history and geneology accessible to all.

By the time beach owner and McClelland descendant Mildred Bartels hit the scene, below, swim garb had evolved a bit. Mildred often swam across Spirit Lake for exercise, probably not length-wise, but to somewhere on the eastern shore. Knowing that Mildred Bartels was born in 1906, and based on tips from the fashion swimwear history site, we’re guessing this is a 1930’s photo.

Interested in living on the lake? We have city amenities and you can live here all year. Cruise McClelland’s Lane and 104th by car. Many lots are not posted for sale, but available, so if you see something you like, take a photo and contact our realtor.

Before bikinis - McClelland's Beach - Mildred Bartels - swimwear - 1930s - McCclelland's Beach - Spirit Lake - Iowa - 51360

Like history? Read also:

Younger Margaret McClelland’s story of her brush with the outlaw

Margaret McClelland - handwritten account - encounter with an outlaw - McClelland's Beach - Spirit Lake - Iowa - 51360

McClelland’s Beach founder was a hero in 1866

William and Margaret McClelland - founders - historic portrait - McClellands Beach - Spirit Lake - Iowa - 51360

Grandma Bartels’ recipe box: Bean Hot Dish

Recipe box - Mildred Bartels - McClelland's Beach - Spirit Lake - IA - 51360

Railroad depot museum a treasure trove of Dickinson County history

From the Dickinson County Museum website.

Published by Karin Livingston

Karin Livingston is a great-great granddaughter of McClelland's Beach founders William and Margaret McClelland. For details, visit her LinkedIn profile:

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