The place that we love.
Keoka Lake is approximately 460 acres in size with a maximum depth of 42 feet. It, along with Mt. Tire’m, was formed by glaciers retreating and advancing. It is more than a body of water. It is home to people and wildlife.
Beginning to 1700s
KEOKA LAKE HISTORY
This is a snapshot of the history of Keoka Lake. For a more detailed look at how the lake evolved from a glacial runoff to a much loved community see the KLA 50th anniversary book - Keoka Lake: A History of Life on Our Lake. For more information on the history of the Keoka Lake Assciation click here.
10,000 years ago
Two-mile thick glaciers covered the area. As they receded they left behind lakes and granite boulders.
The French and English arrived bringing diseases that devastated many Abenaki. France and England fought for land. The Abenaki became allies of the French.
The Battle of
Pequawket where Thomas Chamberlain hid under a rock and gave Keoka Lake its early name of Thomas Pond.
Surveyed by David McWain from Bolton, MA who built a log cabin and became the first permanent resident.
Waterford was incorporated.
Eli Longley opened a public house that later became the Lake House.
Maine voted to secede from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. On March 15, 1820, under the Missouri Compromise, it was admitted as the 23rd state.
Sumner Davis started a stagecoach route from Harrison to Waterford.
Cumberland & Oxford Canal from Portland to Harrison was completed.
The Town House was moved to its present location by the Town Beach.
Dr. Shattuck opened the Maine Hygienic Institute in the Lake House.
Boathouses appeared on the southeastern shore of Keoka and were locations for both summer and winter lake activities.
The Waterford Flat school gave Schoolhouse Beach its name. There was a path from the school to Keoka Lake and the beach that is now part of the Rounds-Conway properties.
George and Italia Tomes bought Kokosing, a summer camp for girls. After WWII they turned it into the Kokosing Vacation Club and shared it with family and friends.
Grace Starbird and her brother Edward, had family ties to the area and made plans for a camp. Before the summer of 1909 was over, Bird’s Nest on Rocky Point had been completed by local builder. The Starbird family spent 97 years summering on their point.
Camp Konewago was started in 1919 by Mrs. Carson as a summer camp for girls. In 2003 the Lingamfelters bought it and it is now housekeeping units.
Jerome Johnson sold land from his farm that had shoreline on Keoka. The building of summer houses like Aloha, T'Cozy, and Stoneywood began.
The Johnson family bought Lakeside Pines in 1947. Wijoca Trail is named for the three families that have lived there since WW1: Wilcox, Johnson, and Caldwell.
Hemlock Boulders, built in the 1920s, may be the first cottage on the eastern shore. The Caldwells bought it in 1939 and the family has been on Keoka since then.
Chester Howard and his family came to Keoka from New York for vacation. They bought property and built two houses that have been enjoyed by five generations.
Early to Mid 1990s
Doc Hubbard and his wife, Amy, owned a lot of property on the western shore. This included Marshmallow beach that is still in the Hubbard Family.
Rocky Point was started in 1943 but not finished until after the war in 1945. It is now owned by the Caldwell family.
The Niemi's arrived in Waterford from Finland and bought a farm on Mill Hill. The camp was built in the 1970s as five generations enjoyed the lake.
The Stone's Cove Association (seven families) bought 2.58 acres with 450' of shoreline from Arthur Carlson to protect it from development.
The Morse family, who owned Morse Orchards, bought land on Keoka moved a cabin to the site from Camp Joseph on McWain.
The Compromise was built on land from the Hubbards by Virginia and Chapin Cutler. It is still owned by the family.
Dorothy and Howard Stockwell purchased Aloha and in 1952 they retired to live in Waterford. This was the start of the Stockwell family compound on Keoka.
A pre-KLA team of town and summer people got together to add concrete reinforcement to the Mason Dam.
The Paysons and Hubbards owned over 100 acres on the eastern shore. in 1957 the Chadbournes purchased the Payson property. The family have enjoyed the area since then.
The Haynes family bought land at the southern end of Keoka and built Keoka Beach Campground. KBC has been the summer spot for generations of many families.
Stan Hamlin built and ran a boathouse next to KBC. Boat rentals and waterskiing were part of the offerings.
in 1932 Arthur and Mary Carlson puchased 300 acres that had been Camp Tacona. They ran the camp and purchased other properties. In the 1960s they sold more than ten lots with frontage on Keoka.
L.C. Andrew log cabins and A-frames began to pop up around the lake. The materials were sold as a kit making them a good solution for hard-to-access lots. There are at least eight cabins and 2 A-frames on Keoka.
Built in the 1960's, the Lennassi family established and expanded the family spot on Keoka.
The house was pushed across the lake with a bulldozer, when at Rock Island the ice started to crack! There it sat until the ice hardened. The joke was Charlie Fillebrown had the only fishing hut with a front porch!! It is now owned by the Rungs.
The Kelpinger's bought property on the western side of the lake and built a camp with a BIG (8'x11') window. They bought other properties on the lake as well.
Honeymooners Al and Jean Struck helped build this A-frame for Jean's parents. It is still in the family.
The Keoka Lake Association was formed with a focus on improving the water quality of the lake.
The dam need further repairs. A loon raft was launched to encourage loons to live on Keoka.
Traditions like Family Day, complete with a sailing regatta, and progressive dock cocktail parties were started.
Keoka Birches, a seven-property subdivision, was developed off Mill Hill Road.
Boat ramp improvement and Project #319 focused on reducing runnoff. Navigation buoys, Courtesy Boat Inspections, and the KLA website were launched. A new dam mechanism was added.
A new boat ramp, with a better plunge pool was installed. A KLA Facebook page was started and a new website launched. LakeSmart reviews were done around the lake.
In honor of the 50th anniversary, a campaign to raise $50,000 for lake protection was initiated. Many activities, including this book, are planned to commemorate this year.