The Changing Lakes

In the period 1800-1840, the land around the lake now called Wanaksink, was part of the vast wilderness owned by Robert L. Livingston, for whom Livingston Manor was named. His holdings were divided into tracts and the land cleared for farming by the early families, notably Burtis, Billings, Benedict, Clarkson, Coddington, Eldredge, Fowlwood, Gale, Hannon, Hardenburgh, Lord, Misner, Meola, Mckee, Tompkins and Wagner. It was then called Lord’s Pond being named by John Lord who came from Fairfield County in Connecticut, via the Town of Fallsburgh where he lived on the place owned by Milton Gray, Esq. in 1872. About 6,800 acres were leased to the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company And a dam was constructed between 1849 and 1851 across the outlet of the Pond which lifted the water level 20 feet and gave an area of water about 5 square miles and in some places, nearly 100 feet in depth. This Pond, draining into the Neversink River, was a prime feeder for the Canal. It is the largest body of water in the Town of Thompson. The Canal was abandoned in 1899 and the D&H Company relinquished its water rights.

In 1924, Thomas Watts, a lawyer from Middletown, N.Y. formed the Fowlwood Lake Realty Corporation, naming the lake after one of the early settlers. The first cottage on the lake was there in 1906, when Tom Watts owned “Whippoorwill Lodge.” It has been modernized and is owned by the Osterhout family.About 1925, Fowlwood Lake became Wanaksink Lake and all the surrounding property except the Hannon tract, became The Wanaksink Lake Corporation. About 1934, the community jointly formed the Wanaksink Lake Club, Inc. and bought the land from this corporation. With much hard work, they paid off the mortgage in October, 1940 and have maintained the area as a private community.

Mckee’s Pond, as shown on the Map of 1869 was dammed in 1869, also to serve as a D&H reservoir This dam cost $16,000 to erect. It is 1,050 feet long and 22 feet at highest point. It was made of dry stone masonry and earth fill. The bulkhead, on top, is 60 feet long and solid cement masonry. The full reservoir covered about 250 acres and was about 12 feet deep. Now called Lake Louise Marie, it is surrounded by country homes, some of which are occupied all year around.

Treasure Lake is a small community of leisure homes lying about one mile southwest of Wanaksink Lake. On early maps it is shown as Mud Pond since that was the condition of the bottom. It is about 1/4 the size of Wanaksink. Earlier on, it was known as Old English Pond because an Englishman settled there before the Sackett Road was made which is before the Newburgh-Cochecton Turnpike was constructed. But the solitude among the rhododendrons and laurel and the privations he endured were too much for his endurance and he departed.
Wolf Lake, also shown on early maps as Wolff Pond, is near the Neversink River and near the line to the southeast between the Towns of Mamakating and Thompson, adjacent to Yankee Lake which lies in Town of Mamakating. It was dammed to provide a reservoir for the D&H Canal. It is now a lovely community of second homes and year-round homes. It maintains its own security patrol. Apparently it was named for its abundance of wolves in early times as indicated by Mr. James E. Oumlan, however, that does not explain the sometime use of double “ff” in the spelling of Wolf. The American Telephone and Telegraph microwave relay tower is located on the first hill entering from the north on Wolf Lake Road. This hill was known as “spy Hill,” because hunters could espy game a long distance from its summit. There were few trees in the area then.

<< The Fire Department   |   Summer Inns & Boarding Houses >>