This past week we have been learning about Indian Lake in Ohio thanks to Greg Wallace and rest of the Wallace gang. The Ramsey Bros have chimed in with some gold, and one could imagine that the lake is a paradise in the middle of Ohio. Gotta say, it sure feels that way. So how did it happen? Did mother nature bless this part of Ohio? Well.. Not really. Here is a quick history.
“Indian Lake was built between 1850 and 1857 as a feeder lake for the Miami and Erie Canal. It was known as Lewistown Reservoir until 1896, when the lake was purchased by the state of Ohio for a state park. In the 1920s, S. L. Wilgus built an amusement park on the shore of the lake near Russell’s Point.”
There. Now, from a foot on the ground historian, like Greg, when the lake was made, they cut the lumber. Hence things like walnut boat landings. Indian Lake is not a deep lake. 5 ft at tops. And well. in the late 1800’s things like motorized boats wasn’t really on the radar. BTW, neither was radar. So. Thus, as these boat rides took place, you better know the lake.. Like very well. And damage to struts and props was a huge issue. In fact as Greg told me, and I would have done the same, the guys at the marina would just go hang out near some of those spots and wait. BAM, and tow them in and do a repair. Oh come on, you would have done the same thing, in fact I bet I can replicate a conversation taking place on the boat while waiting.
“Here comes one, ya that guy looks like he just got that boat. Ya, oh.. buddy, see that marker.. buddy.. I got a nickel that he hits it. mmm, I don’t know, he is.. OHHHH! Ya, that left a mark” And there ya have it.
In the 1970’s the lake was drained so they could clear out some of the stumps and make the lake safer for many.
I am sure this sort of history is not unique to Indian lake, man made lakes are all over the country, and yes, seems like 99% of them are named after Indians. Lake Mohawk for example. I am sure this was done out of respect and a sense of history. And so, hopefully these lakes will remain named with that in mind. Indigenous Peoples Lake just doesn’t have that sense of place to it.