SYRACUSE — A personal perspective of Syracuse Lake and its history was given by Dr. Larry Allen during the annual Syracuse Lake Association meeting Saturday morning, Aug. 5. This is the 60th year Allen has resided at the lake.
Prior to Allen’s presentation several matters of concern were addressed by Becky Fox, SLA president and two points of interest given by Dr. Nate Bosch with the Lilly Lakes & Streams.
Fox brought to attention the fact there are buoys out more than 150 feet from shore causing a problem and the fact too many buoys are out, noting not every residence needs to install buoys, only about every fourth house. Fran and Larry Allen volunteered to move those buoys out too far.
She also asked individuals whose neighbors have the “surfing” boats to encourage them to stay in deeper water so as not to “wreck the bottom of the lake. The final two issues were a problem at the boat launch which is being taken care of and a call of an aggressive mute swan. Ways to handle the problem will be found through the Department of Natural Resources.
Bosch, who noted water sampling of the lake has occurred since 1887, announced in the samplings taken at the lake this past week a deep chlorophyl layer was located. “It’s a cool sign,” Bosch said, “The lake is getting cleaner … It’s a good sign of a healthy lake.”
A Personal History
“Our family has been at the lake since I was 1,” Allen stated, noting the title of his presentation was “Syracuse — Love, Laughter and Legacy.” “We all have our stories and what the lake has meant to you,” Allen said, adding many are members of the Syracuse Lake clubs. The clubs referred to running out of gas in the boat while on the lake, being towed in, unwrapping a rope from the prop, having your cellphone at the bottom of the lake or helping someone else. Many in the room were among those clubs.
While some of his information was personal knowledge, he gained more information from Ernie Rogers, the late Bill Xanders whose dad owned a large portion of land along the lake; Kenlyn Arnott, Max Laudeman, and information from old SLA newsletters written by Jack Arnott.
His presentation was filled with trivia questions and prizes for those with the correct or close to correct answer. The trivia questions included: what was the last place to buy gas on Syracuse until 2000, when it closed? (Fish N Fun Resort) What year was the community center built? (2001) What year was WACF started? (1991) What two eating establishments proceeded the Channel Marker? (A & W and Shrimp Boat) and what was the early name of Chinese Gardens? (Japanese Gardens).
Allen presented U.S. Census data showing the growth of the area from 182 in1860 to an estimated 2,882 in 2016, with the population growing to 25,000 during the summer.
“Syracuse Lake was not always populated all round,” Allen stated. A timeline was shown from 1830 when the dam was built, the start of the cement factory, development of the north shore, installation of the railroad bridge, to the connection of Eastshore Drive to Pickwick Road.
Early SLA projects were noted. Projects included a weed cutting machine, using chemicals to kill the weeds, no buoys in the lake, the Fourth of July Fireworks starting on the beach before moving to the lake in 1998. He touched on the history of the boats on the lake and the age to drive a boat was 14.