Guide to the Grand Lake Restoration Commission Records

Grand Lake Restoration Commission Records
Wright State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives
Phone: 937-775-2092
Grand Lake Restoration Commission
Bulk dates:
3.71 linear feet (and 1.3 Megabytes)
The Grand Lake Restoration Commission Records document the efforts of a collaborative, non-profit organization to find economically and environmentally sustainable ways to restore the health of Grand Lake Saint Marys in Mercer County and Auglaize County, near Celina, Ohio. Materials include meeting minutes, reports, project files, news clippings, and photographs.
The records are in English

History of Grand Lake Restoration Commission

Grand Lake, also known as Grand Lake Saint Marys, is a manmade lake in Mercer County and Auglaize County, Ohio, neighboring the city of Celina. The lake was constructed in the late 1830s and early 1840s to serve as a reservoir for the Miami-Erie Canal. Since at least the early twentieth century, Grand Lake has served as a recreation destination; it became a state park in 1949. In 1952, the City of Celina began using Grand Lake as its source of drinking water.

In April 2009, testing showed that Grand Lake's water contained comparatively high levels of toxins caused by cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae. These algae feed on nutrients that can wash into the water from sources like nearby fertilizer usage. Although the lake had been known for its algae problems before 2009, the toxins discovered from those tests posed health risks to lakegoers and others, who could absorb the toxins by ingesting the water or inhaling water droplets. Officials posted signs advising visitors to use caution if they partook in activities at the lake. These safety concerns made it likely that the lake would attract fewer visitors.

In January 2010, the Grand Lake Restoration Commission was established "in response to the decline of the economic and ecological health" of the lake, aiming to find economically and ecologically sustainable ways to restore and economically revitalize Grand Lake. The Commission was comprised of groups representing multiple stakeholders, including governmental groups from Mercer and Auglaize Counties and from the Cities of Celina and of St. Marys, Grand Lake St. Marys State Parks, the Grand Lake Wabash Watershed Alliance, the Lake Development Corporation, the Lake Improvement Association, the St. Marys Civic Foundation, and Wright State University (whose Lake Campus is located on the shores Grand Lake in Celina).

Scope and Content

Series I, Administrative, contains materials including meeting minutes, agendas, and strategic plans generated by the Grand Lake Restoration Commission. This also includes general correspondence, primarily printed emails, regarding the Grand Lake Restoration Commission's meetings and interactions. Material dates from 2009-2017.

Series II, Reports and Research, features assorted reports and background information pertaining to Grand Lake, generally documenting the lake's status. These include technical reports created by government organizations, as well as reports by Grand Lake Restoration Commission. Several maps of Grand Lake are also included. Note that reports from specific projects are housed in Series III. (Please note that, in the course of covering Grand Lake's ecological health, the collection does at times contain images of injured or deceased wildlife, which some may find upsetting.) Material dates from 1960-2016.

Series III, Projects, contains material documenting the planning and implementation of projects designed to address the issues surrounding Grand Lake's environmental health. These largely include grants, research, and equipment acquisition done in collaboration with entities including Wal-Mart, Battelle, Ball State University, Wright State University, and local businesses. Prominent in the series are grant applications, correspondence, and notes discussing the efficacy of various solutions. The series included two three-ring binders used by the organization, and the original orders of these two sets of files have been maintained. One was a binder concerning Battelle. The other binder was labeled "Organizational Binder," and it contained "working" files reflecting multiple aspects of the Grand Lake Restoration Commission's projects. Material in Series III dates from circa 2007-2017.

Series IV, News clippings, consists of news articles, opinion pieces, and other outside observations reporting on action about Grand Lake, the Grand Lake Restoration Commission, and related projects, entities, and themes. These were originally in three ring binders identified as "Media Binders." Additional clippings include material about Grand Lake's environmental health as part of a larger, statewide concern. Material dates from circa 2010-2015.

Series V, Photographs, contains images of Grand Lake and its surroundings. These include pages from a magnetic photo album documenting construction of the Grand Lake Saint Marys Spillway in 1996-1997. It also features color photocopies (modern reproductions) of historical postcards and images of Grand Lake, showing the lake and region's appearance and usage in the early to mid-twentieth century. Material dates from circa 1996-2015.

Series VI, Publicity and Outreach, contains materials used to promote Grand Lake Restoration Commission, including brochures and donation mailings. Material dates from circa 2010-2017.

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is arranged into six series (with two subseries). Material within the series arranged in chronological order.
Series I, Administrative, 2009-2017
Series II, Reports and Research, 1960-2016
Series III, Projects, circa 2007-2017
Series IV, News clippings, circa 2010-2015
Series V, Photographs, 1996-2010
Series VI, Publicity and Outreach, 2010-2017

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on accessing the majority of the materials in this collection. However, oversized materials in this collection are stored off site. Please contact us at least two days in advance if you would like to research this collection. Also, access to electronic files in this collection, indicated by an e-number (e.g., ms635_e0001), is restricted until they are fully processed. Requests for unprocessed electronic records can be submitted for consideration, with at least two weeks advance notice. Access to original electronic media is restricted.

Related Material: Related Material

Adams, E., Mark Cubberley, and Christine Junker. "Grand Lake St. Marys Archive and History" (Poster).

Separated Material: Separated Material

Several large maps were separated to oversize storage.

Subject Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


Cyanobacterial toxins
Cyanobacterial toxins
Lake restoration--Ohio Grand Lake
Water quality management--Ohio Grand Lake
Water--Pollution--Ohio Grand Lake


Grand Lake Restoration Commission
Wright State University. Lake Campus


Celina (Ohio)
Grand Lake (Ohio)
Mercer County (Ohio)

Material Types:

Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)
Minutes (administrative records)

Technical Requirements

Electronic files require the use of appropriate computer hardware and software. File formats include PPT.

Preferred Citation

[Description of item, Date, Box #, Folder #], MS-635, Grand Lake Restoration Commission Records, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated to Special Collections and Archives, Wright State University Libraries, by Bonnie Mathies, a Grand Lake Restoration Commission volunteer who served as the organization's archivist, in September 2018.

Processing Information

Pages from a magnetic photo album documenting construction near Grand Lake were transferred to a clamshell box. Materials removed from three-ring binders were placed in archival folders with titles reflecting the original binder’s divider label.

Other Finding Aid

The finding aid is available on the Special Collections & Archives, Wright State University Libraries web site at It is also available in the OhioLINK Finding Aid Repository at