Monday, February 5, 2018

#52Ancestors: Favorite Name-Week 6: Graybrook Lake

For the Favorite Name prompt, I decided to write about the lake that my great-grandfather, Sam Gray, built that was named Graybrook Lake. 


(or sometimes called Lake Graybrook!) Sam moved to Owen County, Indiana from Terre Haute in about 1935.  He had began buying property there in about 1921. In 1932, he had created the Grayland Corporation and wanted to build a lake there. He applied to the WPA for the project.  According to The Early History of Lake Graybrook:

"Because he (Sam) was a staunch Republican, his offer was not accepted.  However, the government had a problem finding projects for the WPA in Owen County.  The WPA reconsidered and agreed to build the dam, providing that Sam would match every dollar to be spent by the government." 

 The work began on the dam and was completed around 1938.  The lake filled up within six months. It is approximately 36 acres.  Because the project was government funded it was required to be available to the public for fifty years, but the Corporation could determine how it was available.  Sam built a boathouse with boats to rent.  However, there was a locked gate that was the only access to the boathouse area.  Meanwhile, before lots were offered to the public, Sam gave his three living children their choice of land on the lake.  My grandmother chose a five acre lot on the lake and in 1940, Sam built a small one room cabin for her and her family.

My grandmother, Lotta Nye Gray Adamson, lived in Peoria, Illinois with her husband and children by that time, so it was a long day's drive for them to get to their beloved cabin. (It's a four hour drive now).  My grandmother and my father spent their summers there, with my grandfather driving down on the weekends.  Sam and his wife still lived down there, too.

After my father married my mother, our family trips began to that small cabin.  It had electricity, but no running water.  We slept on Army cots and used the outhouse.  And for young kids, it was heaven!  The old cabin remained even after my parents built a new "cabin" there in 1976.  The new cabin was originally one bedroom and one bathroom, but my parents added two more bedrooms and another full bath soon after.

Then when I married, my family began spending weekends down there with our children.  It was a great vacation destination and we spent many wonderful weeks over the years vacationing with friends there.  And as our children grew up and married, we spent weekends there with our children and grandchildren.

Now my sister and her husband hope to retire there in the next few years!

So, eighty years later, Lake Graybrook is still part of our family and has been the source of endless enjoyment for countless others!  Well-done, Sam! 

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