The Story of Lake Bracken

Part I, A Legacy of Steam Locomotives

by Terry Hogan

This is Part I of a series of articles on Lake Bracken. Why Lake Bracken, and not Lake Storey or Lake Rice? The answer is a simple one. There is an old adage that advises young writers to write what they know about. I assume that is equally good advice for old writers too. I know something of Lake Bracken. I spent the first two decades of my life at Lake Bracken. Seven generations of my family have been touched by Lake Bracken. It is a story of water, of steam locomotives, of big business, of "movers and shakers", of swimmers and boaters, and of fishermen and golfers. It is about the known and the unknown who were part of Lake Bracken, and part of Knox County.

Lake Bracken, like Lake Storey, is a legacy of the steam locomotives. Steam locomotives were hungry and thirsty beasts. They first fed on wood and then later on coal. But they drank water. Lots of water. Boilers, if they didn't explode, converted water to steam to drive the pistons that drove the wheels that brought immigrants and finished goods to Galesburg. It was water and steam that took the product of the Midwestern soil, sweat, and tears to feed America. But steam needed water and locomotives needed steam. And railroads needed locomotives. So the CB&Q decided to build Lake Bracken and the Santa Fe decided to build Lake Storey. The decisions were not made to provide recreation for Galesburg. The decisions were driven by the economic necessity of having a reliable water supply to feed the thirsty beasts.

Groundwater was a possible solution for the Q, but that solution had a problem. Groundwater in the Galesburg area was "hard". That is, it had dissolved limestone, or calcium carbonate. When water is converted to steam, the calcium carbonate is left behind. This calcium carbonate scale would foul the heat transfer surfaces and reduce heat transfer. This translated to burning more coal to produce steam, or more frequent maintenance. Thus, the Q looked for a surface water solution.

To the south of Galesburg was little Brush Creek, with an adequate drainage area, largely undeveloped, and a wide enough valley to make a suitable reservoir. The land was purchased, and the Q had a dam constructed. The dam was 590 feet long and the spillway was 91 feet. For those interested in such things, it is recorded that the dam was, as built, 242 feet wide at its base and 12 feet wide at the top. The dam contained 168 acres of lake. It had 10.5 miles of shore line and a reported maximum depth of 40 feet. Records indicate that Lake Bracken held 940,000,000 gallons of water. The cost for all this was $368,000, including the price of the land.

During the construction of the lake, which included the removal of trees from the future lake bottom, provisions also had to be made for water withdrawal and pumping provisions. An early photo of the cylindrical, off shore, brick water intake structure towering above the land, shows the planned depth of the lake. Today, the tower still stands in the lake, minus a roof, but it gives no hint of the height of tower beneath the calm water's surface.

The shoreline pumphouse was also built before the filling of the lake. This is also documented by early photographs. But the story of pumping the water to the thirsty mechanical beasts comes later, in Part II.

All this was done by the Q to meet a reported water demand of 1.1 million gallons per day. It was quite the construction project. Folks would travel from Galesburg and even from Wataga to see Lake Bracken being constructed. Among those were my mother as a child, her mother, her grandparents and her great grandmother. Four generations of my ancestors, pictured for ever, standing by the wide, cleared bottom land that would soon become the bottom of Lake Bracken. At that time, they were there, presumably to view the massive undertaking. It is safe to conclude that they would not know that the little blonde child would grow, marry, and raise a family along the shoreline of the future lake. But that story comes later, at its time.

Thus was the scope of Lake Bracken. It was no small undertaking in the early 1920's. There is an oral tradition that Lake Bracken filled faster than anticipated; that a storm caused the newly impounded water to trap, and forever retain, the heavy equipment that gave it birth. I don't know if this is a true story or not. It was a story often told, but never documented that I know of.

On the other hand, I do have reason to believe in the existence of a long-submerged bridge that spanned Brush Creek. The remains of the old road can be seen in the Lake Bracken Golf Course, heading toward the current "Maintenance Building" on West Point Road. The old road bed, after passing through the golf course, cuts a gully, heading to where it disappears below the water line, to reappear across the Lake. In the spring, the astute observer can still find perennial flowers growing by the residual foundations of old houses, decades gone. As a child, I dug up some of these and transplanted them to the house I knew as home. Some farm wife planted flowers that likely lived well past her own time, surviving reforestation, weeds, leaves, and a little boy with a shovel.

But for the sunken bridge, it took another event. A friend of mine, when we were both young teenagers, had a borrowed outboard motor slide off his boat transom and disappear into the lake. For reasons only known to him, he had failed to attach a safety chain to the motor to prevent such an occurrence. The motor disappeared beneath the lake's surface, in a cove, in the vicinity of where the old road reappeared above the waterline. We used a metal grappling hook, dragging it behind a boat, in the hopes of hooking the lost outboard motor. Instead, we repeatedly hooked a large metal submerged object that would not be retrieved. I believe that to have been the old bridge across Brush Creek. Decades, it sat in murky, muddy water, undisturbed until a grappling hook from the world it used to know, tugged and pulled, without success.

But before there were a golf course, a maintenance building, and houses where little boys lived along the lake shore, the steam locomotive water reservoir had to be converted into something more. So there is a story to be told about how the reservoir for steam locomotives became a lake for homes, for a golf course, and for generations to appreciate.

Not surprisingly, this part of the story is about the "movers and shakers".

These far-sighted men, these movers and shakers, had to first form a corporation, known as the Knox County Country Club. It was formed in 1922. The corporation, now a legal entity, met in July of 1922 to discuss how a lease might be signed to transfer the lake and surrounding land, totaling 1,002 acres, from the Q to this new entity. Not surprisingly, this new entity, created for one purpose, was directed and led by its creators. The job was done and the land was transferred.

The first officers of this new country club corporation were S. A. Wagoner (President), Fred Peterson (VP), G. L. Long (Secretary), and Hubbard Huggins (Treasurer). The first Directors were Max Mack, Fred Peterson, O. N. Custer, J. Dopp, H. Gunther, C. Lewis, W. E. Doyle, W. C. Frank, E. R. Drake, G. B. Churchll, S.A. Wagoner, R. V. Field, Ross McCure, H. C. Bulkeley and Hubbard Huggins.

By this action, the reservoir became a lake and the adjoining land became an opportunity. The lake was to serve two roles. And it did so for decades. It provided the water that coal converted to steam, that drove the Galesburg economy. It also provided the recreational opportunities required by the growing affluent class that had both the time and financial resources.

This Lake Bracken was no mere drop in the bucket. It's life affected Galesburg and the surrounding communities. From the lowest paid railroad worker whose job depended upon the steam driven locomotive, to the growing middle and upper classes, Lake Bracken was there. It has been there for seven generations of my family, and perhaps for many of your own.

Part II: Pumping the Water

In Part I of this series, Lake Bracken was constructed by the CB&Q Railroad. The lake and the adjoining land, was leased to a newly created corporation ­ Knox County Country Club. The club intended to make the lake into a recreational area, with summer homes, roads, electricity, and the amenities necessary to support the desires of the recreational class of Galesburg and the surrounding communities. However, the primary job of the lake was to provide water for the operations of the CB&Q Railroad. It was the Q that put up the money and had the lake built. So how did the water get from Lake Bracken to the thirsty steam locomotives ­ a demand reported to have been 1.1 million gallons a day?

Why there were two options of course. One was to bring all the thirsty operations to the lake. The other (the one selected) was to take the water to where it was needed. This sounds simple enough, but designing and construction of a pumping system and a pipeline sufficient to provide over a million gallons a day must have been a challenge in the early 1920s.

Today, there is not much left to show the old operations. However, the exception is a cylindrical brick structure that rises from the center of the lake. In its day, it was topped with a peaked, conical roof. There was a door to provide access and an iron "porch" of sorts that was posted with a "No Trespassing" sign. If you were young and not too concerned about signs, you could peer inside. Of course, there was water inside the building at the same level as the lake water so no hint of the tower’s true height was given by looking inside.

This old structure still remains in the lake, minus its roof. It has long been retired and serves no useful purpose. The onshore pump house was recently destroyed. The pump house was not far from my childhood home. I could, and often did, walk to it. You could hear when it was operating. It clanged, and large flat-sided rubber belts traveled inside the building, driving large piston pumps that forced lake water into the underground pipeline. The Q owned this operation. It also owned a small white house that stood near the pump house, on higher ground, further from the lake. A Q employee, James W. Durbin and his family lived in the house. His wife, Betty, a daughter, Joyce, and three sons ­ Richard, James and Gary lived there. James W. Durbin’s job was to operate and maintain the pump house. They moved to the house and he began the "pumper" job in the late 1930’s. Near the family’s small yard was a small electrical substation that provided the proper electrical voltage to run the three large piston pumps. There was also a wooden coal shed nearby to provide fuel for the coal furnace to keep the pump house from freezing up during the winter months.

Because there were not a lot of year-round residents at Lake Bracken in the early years, and because the residences were spread in a single line, following the meandering shoreline, playmates were few and far between in other than the summer months. Gary Durbin was the age of one of my older brothers and they played together. I was the "tag along" little brother when I could get away with it.

Once Gary’s father, let me step inside the pump house and watch him start up the pumps. I have no idea how old I was, but I must have been pretty young, probably 8 or 9. The large black belts appeared massive. They traveled and turned on a large wheels. As I recall, the pumps were started by the flipping of a large electrical knife switch, accompanied by a flash of sparks from the electrical arch. The flap of the belts, when started and the sounds of metal on metal were pretty impressive to me. It must have been one of the wonders of the world to me at that age.

I don’t know much about the water line from the pump house. I do recall that a portion of the iron pipe was visible from the corner of an unfinished portion of a neighbor’s basement. I saw it myself. Yep, the pipe actually passed under the corner of his bedroom. I guess easements weren’t an issue. I also recall that the road to my home was blocked once, while the Q repaired a leak to the pipe. Where the pipe was dug up and repaired was probably only a couple of hundred feet from the neighbor’s bedroom.

I’m guessing from the general direction of the pipe, that it continued along a northwesterly route along club property and may travel along the "Saluda Fill", heading toward the Q tracks located between Lake Bracken and the "Abingdon hard road" . I have been told that the water ended up at the old Q roundhouse, but oral traditions have misled me more than once. Perhaps a current or former Q employee can fill in the blanks.

I remember a number of things about the old Q pump house. Things come to me as I write. Little flashes of crab-like memory appear from dark crevices of my mind and scurry to other crevices, to return to more years of undisturbed sleep. It’s difficult to know who is more disturbed by their awakening. Me, or them, or perhaps it is a false distinction. But one flash was all the "cinders" that the Q used on the access road to the pump house and the little white house. Cinders (coal ash) were cheaper than stone. Steam locomotives made cinders. Cinders were free, or more than free. Cinders used were cinders not disposed. I recall playing with toy cars in the fine cinders, washed out and settled in low spots from the cindered road.

I also recall a large, above ground metal box located between the pumphouse and the lake. It was fairly tall for a sandbox, but that’s what was in it ­ sand. So we had a sandbox you played in while standing up. I had forgotten about it until I received a letter from Gary Durbin that mentioned that one of his father’s responsibility was to place sandbags around the pumphouse when the lake flooded. Alas, 50 years later, I figured out the likely real purpose of our tall sandbox.

I remember, looking back, of not being invited into the little white house. It was small. It was chucked full of family, and it was not overly well maintained by the Q, at least judging from the exterior. This is even from a child’s eye. Our friend lived a meager existence, but if it was to be done, it was the time to do it in. Status was less important then, but the house did have a nice view down the length of the lake. The Durbins left Lake Bracken and the Q in the mid-1950s and went west. But Gary returns to Galesburg from time to time, and visits Lake Bracken and a few of the residents who are still there after the passage of over a half of century. Recently, he returned to Lake Bracken and visited the site of his old home and the pump house (now both gone). He stopped by and visited my mother who still lives at Lake Bracken after all these years.

There are not a lot of photos around of early Lake Bracken. I keep track of what appears on eBay. With patience, the whole world seems to pass by on eBay. I saw an old post card of Lake Bracken appear for sale. It was an aerial view of the lake, and the old brick tower, with a conical red roof, could barely be detected in the photo. The seller of the card, in the accompanying text, noted that she thought she could make out a red buoy on the lake in the distance. That would have been a really big buoy. I discerned from the comment that she wasn’t familiar with Lake Bracken.

In time, the Lake became unnecessary to the Q as steam locomotives were replaced with diesels. But by then, Lake Bracken was thought of more as a country club than a water impoundment. And a new phase of the Lake’s life was about to unfold.

Part III, Lake Bracken, My Home

This is Part III of a series on the life of Lake Bracken. The previous two parts have covered its origins, construction, operation as a water source for steam locomotives, and the formation of a country club that rented the lake and the adjoining land.

Before I was born (early 40's), my parents lived on North Henderson Street in Galesburg. My father, Lloyd Hogan, worked for the Lucky Boy Bakery. My parents lived in town, but his heart was at Lake Bracken. He had fallen for a small summer cabin on a point at the west end of the lake. Despite not really being in a financial situation to afford a "summer place", he repeatedly tried to buy the little place. It was small, surrounded by large oaks, and had a nice view of the lake. Finally, he prevailed, and the little summer place became theirs.

However, as life tends to do, bad luck follows good, and the little place caught fire and burned down. The mighty oaks that dropped acorns on the tin roof also died in the flames. They rebuilt what was to be a new summer place on the same lot. By now, WWII was underway so everything was in short supply. Some of the structural components of the new place were old oak lumber from the defunct Heddening College in Abingdon. The interior of the house has walls made from cypress. It apparently wasn't critical to the war effort.

My father built most of the house, with help from whomever was willing to offer a hand. My maternal grandfather often helped. Work was slow as there was a six day work week, so work was largely left to Sundays. Dad did most the work except for the electrical, plumbing and the heating system, including the fireplace that sits in the living room.

Once completed, my parents lived the life of gypsies. They lived on North Henderson by week and Lake Bracken by weekend. In time, the decision was made and the little summer place was declared to be home. Some interior modifications were made and city life was left behind. With time, it became a snug home, with three sons. But it was home.

I grew up with swimming at my door steps. I grew up with free roaming white ducks as pets that had free run of the Lake. I grew up with owning my first boat at age 13 - made by cutting down an old wooden boat from 14 feet in length to 8 feet in length and adding a new transome (I was the brains of the idea, my Dad provided the wood working expertise). My life savings went into a 5 horsepower blue and gray "Hiawatha" outboard motor that had neutral and forward, but no reverse. But most wonderful of all, I grew up with the Club House on the Lake.

I don't know when the Club House was built. It is mentioned and photos of it are in a 1937 pamphlet on Lake Bracken, but it does not say when it was built. Although statistics provide little to the importance of the old Club House, it is recorded that "the clubhouse proper" was 72 feet long by 48 feet wide. It had wings on either end that were 49 feet long and 19.5 feet wide. Before air conditioning, the Club House was "fully screened" and was "free from bugs and other flying insects."*

In 1937, the Club House was the site of weekly "card parties, stags, entertainment, etc." The 1937 history also records that the club was beginning a new summertime feature - "moving and talking pictures, during one evening of each week, running from about Decoration Day until along in September."* During inclement weather, there were plans to show the moving and talking pictures inside the Club House.

By the mid-1950s, the Club House was in full swing during the summers. The pictures had become Sunday night outdoor events, weather permitting. Wood seating had been constructed, facing a wooden projection screen. This outdoor "amphitheatre" was under construction when the 1937 history of the country club was published. Adults sat on the wood seats, and kids tended to sit on the ground or on blankets on the ground, in front of the seats. This arrangement provided some relief for both the parents and the kids. The movies were old, outdated, fragile things, black and white, and suitable for "kids of all ages" as the old phrase went. Ma and Pa Kettle, Abbot and Costello, Frances the Talking Mule, and the Three Stooges were not uncommon stars at Lake Bracken. No horror movies, nothing racy, nor do I even recall war movies being shown.

By then, the Club House had a nice sandy beach, with three swimming docks. Dressing rooms were located below the main Club House, with walk out steps directly to the beach. Life guards were provided. Floating logs, hooked end to end, provided a demarcation between the swimming area and boaters.

Boat races were held on Sunday mornings and on Holidays. The boats were raced by kids and there was a strict 5 hp limit on the motors for the whole lake, as well as for the racing, so speeds were limited to the 20 to 25 mph range.

Infrequently, beach parties were held, where a fire was built on the beach and the beach stayed open, allowing swimming after darkŠwith suitable lighting of course. The club wanted to minimize risk of "hanky panky" in the water! Free hot dogs and marshmallows were in abundance and paper coupons were issued for one free soft drink.

Before I was old enough to get "a real job", I worked for the club. It hired kids to mow grass, clean the club house, pickup trash and garbage, recover barrels that had floated out from under boat docks, and the like. It was during the period when the Dutch Elm Disease was devastating the elm trees in Galesburg and Lake Bracken. One of our jobs, as kids, was to cut down dead elm trees, cut them to length, and split them for firewood for the club's outdoor picnic pavilions. The elm wood, if fresh, was wet - a characteristic of the disease, and it made it very hard to split the wood.

Another ugly job was the steam cleaning of the garbage cans. This was before garbage can liners and garbage disposals. In the summer, it wasn't long before maggots and decay lined the insides of galvanized garbage cans. A steam jenny was used to produce hot water and steam to clean out the garbage cans. The hot water was sprayed into the garbage cans that were placed sideways on a wooden raised platform with the cans nearly horizontal, so they would drain down a ravine. If you had too much water/steam pressure, or you stood too near, the water, maggots, and decay would splash back Or if you had too much pressure, you could blow the can off the rack, that stood on the edge of a ravine.

Across the lake, was Camp Shaubena. Although part of Lake Bracken, it was strictly off limits, especially to kids from the lake. It was leased as a summer camp. A swimming dock, lots of canoes, and cabins provided kids with the opportunity to experience the outdoors. When I got to be old enough to drive, my girlfriend and her friends were old enough to be female counselors at Camp Shaubena. By meeting with them briefly when they were leading canoe outings on the lake, we were able to make arrangements to meet them "after hours" along the shore of Camp Shaubena. This was done after the little kids were safely asleep. A friend of mine, Al, and I would drive to Galesburg, order a pizza and soft drinks and return to the lake. We would then transfer the goods to a boat and head across the lake to meet the girls. It was all relatively innocent activity. But when we got caught one night by the adult contingency of the Camp Shaubena supervision, you would have thought that an activity that could have shaken the very moral fiber of the country was uncovered.

We waited for the ax to fall. We waited for the dreaded phone call and the dreaded parental rage at our teenage behavior. In hindsight, I'm guessing the adults had a good laugh at scaring us, and probably recalled a few youthful adventures of their own.

A few years later, I was off to college, but not far from home. College scholarships and finances made me a "townie", attending Knox. My freshman year, I began to date a fellow townie who graduated with me from Galesburg High School. After pizza and cokes, we drove to Lake Bracken and went to the Club House. It was closed, but we strolled the grounds and ended up at the suspension bridge that crossed one small finger of the lake. We kissed on the bridge. It didn't seem particularly magical, I guess. But perhaps we are still trying to get it right, nearly 40 years later, and after two children and four living grandchildren.

For decades after our marriage, and for decades after we had moved away from Galesburg, we would return to Galesburg. We both had family. For years we brought our children back with us. They learned of having grandparents. They learned of boats and fishing. They learned of swimming in something other than swimming pools.

We still return. Now, once in awhile, we return with our adult children, and their children. Now we are grandparents and the kids visit great grandma. It is much easier in this role.

We have aged and our lives are different. The same can be said for Lake Bracken. The change is not necessarily better or worse. Change is merely change. We attach our own value to it. If you are a golfer, the change is probably viewed favorably. If you grew up with your world facing the lake, you may miss some of the old activities, now gone. Part IV will look at the changed Lake Bracken.

Part IV, Lake Bracken Revisited

This is Part IV and the last of a series of articles on Lake Bracken. I don't claim it to be an absolute story. It is part family history, part personal history, and hopefully, it has a reasonable respect for factual material, at least as I know it, or think I know it. Sometimes errors creep into my stories, beyond grammar and typos. These errors tend to be assumptions made long ago that cease to be assumptions in my mind. They evolve into fact, without merit of challenge; without benefit of "kicking the tires." This is one of the dangers of writing about what you think you know. For those errors, I hope you find them amusing and not offending. If one slips in that hits the latter, I apologize. Writing, particularly based on memory, is not without risk.

Lake Bracken's early years were a balance of practical (water for steam locomotives) and recreation uses. Recreation was further broken down into such things as summer homes, fishing, boating, swimming, a club house for organized activities, outdoor movies, and golf. The club grounds were landscaped with flowers, roads were paved, and fish were stocked to maintain a challenge for the fishermen. A bathing beach was made so that swimming was an option at the end of a workday.* Shelters were available for picnics. Shuffle board, teeter totters, swings, slides, and badminton were available for all.

The original plan for the club was to have an 18-hole golf course, but by 1937, it remained only developed as a 9-hole course, however, the plans remained in place for a future expansion.* I believe that in the Club's early and middle years, activities focused on the club house and the lake, itself. Golfing was still a growing sport, lacking the widespread popularity that it now has.

Over years, the balance has shifted. Lake Bracken is now focused on golfing as a center point of recreation. Viewing it all from a safe distance, I think this is true for a number of reasons. I suspect some are interconnected and not independent reasons, although I may not know which drove what. Over the years, the quality of the lake's water has deteriorated somewhat. Part of this is fact. Part of this is due to perception. We, as a culture today, are much more concerned about air and water quality than our ancestors were. We prefer heavily chlorinated swimming pool water for our kids over lake water that has the full range of the periodic table, and then some. Lake Bracken is not used for swimming or recreational boating to the extent that it used to be.

The loss of the Club House to a fire also helped to refocus the club away from the lake and toward golfing. A new club house sits on the golf course, not on the lake. Swimming, beach parties, Sunday night movies, boat races, are nothing but recollections now, held be those who were there. Fish consumption and swimming advisories issued by the Illinois EPA because of upstream sources of pollution did not help the lake's recreational potential, either.

Today, Lake Bracken and the Country Club are seen, I think, primarily as a recreational facility in terms of its golf course. It is as good, or as bad, as the golfing facilities are perceived to be. It does have a swimming pool near the location of the old Club House and undoubtedly many good memories are being made there. Parents meet other parents, children make new friends, and there is a brief pause from the daily hectic routine.

If there is a hesitancy in my endorsement of what the Lake is today, it is probably that naturally occurring reluctance of seeing things you loved, change. But change is change and change is inevitable. We attached the value judgments to it.

When I come "home" to Lake Bracken, I note, and probably too often comment, upon the infrequent boats that go by the house now. It also seems to me that the inhabitants of Lake Bracken are older than when I was a child. To put it another way, there does not seem to be as many children living on the lake as there used to be. It is a more mature community.

Of course, one of the institutional changes of Lake Bracken is its ownership. The Q decided that it no longer needed Lake Bracken, or perhaps it needed the money that it represented worse. The lake and the grounds were purchased by the corporation. The corporation has shares that were purchased by home owners at the lake. Thus, the last ties of the lake's origins have been broken. Only the little brick tower, rising from the water, stands tribute to the lake's original railroad ties.

In that way, Lake Bracken seems to mirror Galesburg itself. As the railroads fell on hard economic times, and merged and merged again, local community ties were lost, to say nothing of local railroad jobs. Galesburg needs only to look at the "devolution" of "Railroad Days" to see the frayed or separated railroad ties.

Change is in the air. It always has been. It is just a little more threatening today. Galesburg has to reinvent itself. Lake Bracken has been trying to do the same. Perhaps Lake Bracken's experience with the Q was the dead canary in the miner's cage that just went unnoticed in Galesburg.

If I had the magic, I know how I would transform Lake Bracken. But, I am a sentimentalist when it comes to Bracken. In my mind, old friends live and enjoy their young lives, unaware of what time will bring to them. Lake Bracken was younger in my mind's eye. My parents were younger than I am as I write this. The "Bracken Bell" still paddled about the lake, with its little 4-cylinder car engine and complete drive train intact. My grandparents were still alive and coming out to the lake from the farm, to fish off our boat dock. Perhaps Grandpa and my dad would occasionally recollect building the house that still provides shelter and comfort. I grew up attending Allen Park, Lombard, and Galesburg High School with another Lake Bracken kid. He became my best friend, and was later my "best man". So many years later, we keep in touch. He is about the only one from my Lake Bracken years. But they all are alive, young, and having fun that only the unknowing youth can have. They are all safe, alive and well in my memory. I think of them from time to time. I can do no less for such old friends.

My grandparents are long dead, as is my father. But my grandchildren, his great grandchildren, have been to Lake Bracken to see great grandma. They represent the 7th generation of my family to be touched by Lake Bracken. Perhaps it is not much of a family history by English standards, but for Lake Bracken, "it ain't too shabby".

"Write what you know about." I know about my great great grandmother, my great grandparents, my grandparents, and my mother standing on the banks of what would become Lake Bracken in the early 1920s. I know about my parents living and raising three sons at Lake Bracken. I know about my children and grandchildren, coming to Lake Bracken to see their grandparents and great grandparents. Seven generations. Time changes us all, including the Lake. Some considerable amount of water has flowed under the bridge, but the lake remains, although altered by time and by changing needs.

It can't be any other way.

Durbin, Gary. 2003-2004. Personal communication.
Kennedy, Ralph. 1950s. Several old photos of the lake and the "Bracken Bell" and given to me at that time.
Internet photos. 2004. Internet gives original source as Franckey Collection - Knox College
*Thompson, Earle. 1937. A Story of Lake Bracken and The Knox County Country Club. Pamphlet published by the club.