|Wooster Lake, Illinois|
|Elevation||741 ft (226 m)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|Area code(s)||847 & 224|
|GNIS feature ID||421501|
Wooster Lake is an unincorporated community in Lake County, Illinois, United States. Wooster Lake is located near Illinois Route 134 and Wilson Road, predominantly in unincorporated Ingleside, Illinois northeast of the Village of Volo, northwest of the Village of Round Lake, and southeast of the Village of Fox Lake.
Identification of Wooster Lake
The Lakes Management Unit of the Lake County Health Department provided a 2003 Summary of Wooster Lake highlighting Wooster is a glacially-formed, non-public (aka "private") lake encompassing approximately 98.9 acres with a shoreline of 2.03 miles. It is reported to have a 29.8' maximum depth and a 16.3' average depth, 4th deepest (on average) of the inland, private lakes in Lake County, Illinois. It is part of the Fish Lake drainage of the Fox River watershed. The Fish Lake Drain flows from Fish Lake into Fischer Lake then into Wooster. Water leaves Wooster by small creek along the northern shoreline and flows into Duck Lake, eventually draining into the Fox River. Page 5 of the Summary highlights "Recreational activities such as fishing and boating have always been a part of the lake usage."
History along Wooster Lake
As reported including by the Lake County Historical Museum's Diana Dretske, Jacob L. Beilhart founded the communitarian group called the Spirit Fruit Society on the shores of Wooster Lake, after purchasing 90 acres- a tract known as the Dahlziel Farm - in 1905. About a dozen established members of the Spirit Fruit Society moved with Beilhart to Illinois, along with a few new members. Over the next two years the society built a spacious house and later a large barn entirely by hand. The 2½-story residence had 32 rooms, a full basement, and modern (for the time) conveniences. The dining room accommodated up to 100 people. The society continued to live peacefully in Ingleside for several years. They provided for themselves from what came to be known as the "Spirit Fruit Farm", opened the farm and temple to visitors, and produced their newsletter. Beilhart continued to speak to groups in Chicago promoting the ideals of the society.
In November 1908, Beilhart became ill from acute appendicitis. Despite attention from a surgeon who performed an appendectomy, Beilhart developed peritonitis and died three days later. In keeping with the society's beliefs in simplicity, Beilhart was buried in a plain coffin in an unmarked grave overlooking Wooster Lake. None of the buildings remain, having been covered by a housing development, although Beilhart's grave remains in a brush-obscured corner of the tract.
Wooster Lake Conservation & Control Association; Dispute about restrictive usage of Wooster Lake
According to the Lake County Recorder of Deeds Office, document #5094179 belonging to one of the lake's adjacent new developments contains the "Wooster Lake Conservation and Control Association (WLCCA) Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions" which was recorded January 13, 2003. The recorded Declarations' "Exhibit B" lists owners, addresses, and Property Identification Numbers of the lake. The Declaration also claims listed restrictions which are binding against the lake's owners. No jet skiing, no tubing, no snowmobiling, no hunting, 'no wake after sunset' are among the listed lake-usage restrictions.
An attorney – named on the Declarations' cover - however reportedly provided a written letter to the WLCCA President and Vice President, dated September 1, 2011, indicating the attorney never finalized the WLCCA Declaration, that he had only prepared a draft, and that the owners of the lake had never actually signed the WLCCA Declaration. See Unfinished & Unsigned WLCCA Declaration allegations.
As of May 2014, adjacent associations disregard the attorney's "cease and desist" mandate and continue to advertise the Declared restrictions of the lake with the attorney's name on the cover. See Tanneron Bay display of WLCCA Declaration. The WLCCA Declaration within #5094179 remains intact at the Lake County, Illinois Recorder of Deeds.
In its letter dated October 23, 2013 the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the authority of Wooster Lake, drafted an opinion classifying private Wooster Lake as a lake void of any IDNR-sanctioned special restrictions. "Beyond the regulations found in the Illinois Boat Registration and Safety Act (which applies to all waters of the state), the IDNR does not have any administrative rules; currently and to my knowledge previous, that impose any recreational boating restrictions on Wooster Lake. This includes a no wake restriction."
Homeowner associations disregard the IDNR and continue the dissemination -via the Recorder's Office and the internet- said special use of Wooster Lake's waters.
Further Restriction Attempts on Wooster Lake
In 2005 a Lake County Board Member Bonnie Thomson Carter is on written record in the Recorded Village of Round Lake Minutes soliciting for village officials to adopt a new, restrictive use ordinance over Wooster Lake. "No-Wake Ordinance" 05-O-27 was received that same evening September 6, 2005. The audio of the Village of Round Lake Meeting September 6 2005 reveals the county board member wanted the village ordinance in part because many had "bought into" the restrictive lake covenants found in the recorded Declaration.
Though the village adopted the new No-Wake Ordinance, the Village repealed 05-O-27 in June 2011. For 3–4 years earlier, certain owners of Wooster Lake had pursued clarification legislation in Springfield, Illinois. At the crux of the legislation were allegations municipal officials never had jurisdictional authority to adopt 05-O-27 over Wooster Lake, predominantly an unincorporated community and 65 ILCS 5/7-4-4 -a state statute on which the village relied- was allegedly being misinterpreted. To address the issue, House Representative JoAnn Osmond of northeastern Lake County sponsored HB3441 in the 95th General Assembly where it was enacted in August, 2008, clarifying 65 ILCS 5/7-4-4 does not give municipalities authority to zone over water against properties located beyond its corporate borders.
Historical Litigation Over Wooster Lake Usage
In June 2014, the Lake County Circuit Court in case 13SC5244 ruled on behalf of Plaintiffs - certain lake bed owners of Wooster Lake- and against the defending WLCCA, Inc.. In 13SC5244 Plaintiffs filed, alleged, and submitted evidence of widespread fraud around and of private Wooster Lake properties, multiple violations of Illinois state laws, clouding and encumbrance of titles, harassment, bullying, misuse of watercraft to intimidate others into submission of "said rules", endangerment of adults and children, and misuse of multiple local government powers and resources to facilitate many of these alleged illegalities. Centering 13SC5244 was Plaintiffs' allegations of the invalidity of the WLCCA Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, a document widely disseminated.
In 2006, prior to the 2007-2008 legislative clarification in HB3441, certain Wooster Lake owners had filed suit in Lake County Circuit Court against a nearby Village for the adoption of the new restrictive ordinance 05-O-27. The suit was voluntarily dismissed in 2007 to make way for clarifying legislation, HB3441 was enacted in 2008, and the restrictive ordinance was repealed in June 2011.
In 1962, the Illinois Supreme Court filed an opinion regarding Wooster Lake usage in County of Lake v. MacNeal. The summary indicates the County of Lake brought suit against MacNeal, one of the lake's riparian owners. A group called the "Wooster Lake Improvement Association" located north of MacNeal's parcels had "likewise filed a brief" in the court. The complaint claimed ordinance violations by MacNeal and his guests, specifically their usage of and around Wooster Lake. The Lake County Circuit Court found in favor of MacNeal, and the Illinois Supreme Court in 1962 affirmed the decree of the Circuit Court of Lake County on behalf of MacNeal.
- "Wooster Lake". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey.
- Illinois Department of Transportation (2011) (PDF). Lake County General Highway Map (Map). http://www.dot.state.il.us/maps/county/lake.pdf. Retrieved July 25, 2012.
- Murphy, James L. (1989). The Reluctant Radicals. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. ISBN 978-0-8191-7423-9.
- Dretske, Diana. "Beilhart's Spirit Fruit Society". Illuminating Lake County, Illinois History. Retrieved March 28, 2011.
- "Father Jacob Dies". The Ottawa Free Trader -. 27 November 1908. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
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