Village of Lake Pleasant

Lake Pleasant is a village in Montague, Massachusetts, United States, and the site of an early and prominent American Spiritualist campground. It claims to be the oldest continuously-existing Spiritualist community in the United States. Lake Pleasant was founded in 1870 as a "campmeeting grounds" with 75 tent lots, and by 1872 was popular with Spiritualists for summer tenting. In 1874 the New England Spiritualist Campmeeting Association (NESCA) was organized by Henry Buddington and Joseph Beals, and in 1879 formally incorporated.

The Highlands

The Bluffs

Lake Pleasant's decline began in 1907 with a fire that destroyed 130 homes, and its fate was sealed when the lake itself became a public water supply off limits to recreation. As property values fell, many buildings were acquired by the water department for demolition. From 1913 to 1976, Lake Pleasant was home to two competing Spiritualist organizations, each with its own temple and followers, namely the original NESCA, affiliated with the National Spiritualist Association of Churches, and The National Spiritual Alliance established in 1913.

The NECSA temple burned down in 1955, and NECSA itself disbanded in 1976.

Lake Pleasant enjoyed its developmental period in the late 19th century as a resort community. Conveniently accessible via a major railroad that runs north-south along the lake’s east bank made it a hassle-free access to the resort. It was the site of various conventions and immense 4th of July celebrations. It’s perhaps best known as the meeting place for the New England Association of Spiritualists. Lake Pleasant is the oldest continuously existing Spiritualist center in the United States. A century ago, it was also the largest Spiritualist gathering place in the country. During the 1920s big-name Hollywood stars vacationed at the “Lake.” Barbara Stanwyk, Edward G. Robinson, and Mickey Rooney have been mentioned.

Source: Wikipedia and Montague Historical Society.

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