Wednesday, August 11, 2010

LUXTON LAKE: Historic 'Lucky Lake' inspires documentary film |

Historic 'Lucky Lake' inspires documentary film |

I came across a video that mentioned the African American
resort community of Luxton Lake and decided to share it here.
I'd actually be interested in finding more stories like or similar
to this one if anyone out in cyber space would like to share with me.

The Department of Environmental Conservation said the 100-year-old laid-up stone dam was unstable and posed a threat to houses below the dam. They ordered it to be blown up. Some residents saw it differently and launched an unsuccessful lawsuit that alleged discrimination.

 A letter to the editor by Melva Jackman re; her property

Future of lake not the real issue

The article “Is the individual greater than the hole?” (The River Reporter, February 16-22, 2006) redirects the issue of my property access to “the future of Luxton Lake,” when in fact one has nothing to do with the other. Michael Silvestri’s letter “Keep the lake’s future open,” published in the following issue, builds on this error.
In the first place, the proposed driveway would not cross the lakebed as Silvestri describes. It would be located along the old shoreline where, I assure you, the waters of any theoretically reconstructed Luxton Lake would not rise.
Beyond that, however, the article implies that I am putting my personal needs ahead the common good of property owners around Luxton Lake. On the contrary, I doubt that anyone in the Luxton Lake area has greater respect and concern for the community or a longer history in the community than I do.
My parents, Elmore and Estelle Hill, were the first African Americans to purchase property at “Lucky Lake” as it was then called, when the development opened in 1953. They ran the lodge from 1954 until the late 1960s. I was a summer resident from the age of nine until I was in college. I was the first African American child to attend the Narrowsburg Central Rural School in the historic year of 1954, when I was in the fourth grade, and 1955, when I was in the fifth grade.
I remember the lake as the largest, most beautiful one in the area, with fish in abundance. I learned to fish in Luxton Lake. I learned to swim in Luxton Lake. I learned to row a boat on Luxton Lake. In 1981, when the Lake Ridge Estates subdivision opened, I was among the first to purchase lakefront property and the first to establish a home.
From 1982, when the dam was breached, until about four years ago, the Jackman home was the only dwelling on the far side of the new bridge that eventually replaced the dam. Most of the Lake Ridge Estates property was just held for investment purposes and speculation. All the while, my family and I have enjoyed and appreciated the natural beauty of the valley and surrounding area.
I worked for years on behalf of the Luxton Lake Property Owners Association to find a way to get the lake restored. My conclusion, based on research and interviews on the current policy and practice in the environmental regulation community, was that a new dam of comparable size would never be approved or the price would be prohibitive due to the size of the watershed.
A few “concerned citizens” have a problem with the fact that I own the lakebed property. Bob Matthews, whom I would not describe as a “neighbor,” owns the adjoining vacant property to mine. His property is for sale and has been for sale by various owners since 1981. He has described himself to me as a “developer” and threatened to make sure that I will never get anything done about a new driveway or anything else. I have made efforts to work with the new Luxton Lake Association (which Bob Mathews just recently joined) to no avail. The new board has chosen to ignore my communications and to undermine and misrepresent my objectives to newcomers such as Michael Silvestri. In all the years I have been at Luxton Lake, I have never had a problem or disagreement with anyone until now. I believe that conflict is being created and my driveway approval is a casualty,
I would hope that the focus would return to that of a retired schoolteacher from New York City who needs a viable year-round driveway.
And to the property owners around Feagle’s Lake and other locations where dams are in need of repair: repair them at all cost. Once they are gone, it is very difficult to get them back again. That was the fate of the Luxton Lake dam. There has been talk of rebuilding it for more than 20 years.

Melva Jackman
Narrowsburg, NY