A Letter Submitted by Josephine Grabowski
It was the year 1958, my friends Rose & Ti, loved to go out in their car and ride. They also liked to explore new places. As they were riding on Route 206 North, they saw a bill board with a huge advertisement that read "Crandon Lakes Homes $2,995" so they decided to check it out.
The office was as soon as you entered the lake which is now the Maio's residence. They were greeted by a salesman and were taken around to view the properties. The properties on E.Shore were all sold. Rose and Ti were shown properties on W. Shore, and they immediately bought lake property. I believe it cost about $3,500. A few days later my friends called us up all excited about the piece of land they bought in a lake area and invited us up. My husband and I and our 3 children drove up to see Crandon Lakes. Well, we fell in love with the lake. We had $20.00 on us and bought our piece of property. We could have bought on the lake but I was a little leery about owning lake property being I had the children.
Our property cost us $1,990 and it was considered lake view.
The lake was owned by Crandon Lake Development Co. Jonas Evans was the builder. They had 2 model homes for show - one was a 2 bedroom, livingroom, kitchen & bathroom, with a carport attached to the house. The other model house had 3 bedrooms, living room, kitchen & bath and that model home sold for $3,995. Before an owner could build on the property, it had to be completely paid for. All the homes that were built were summer homes - if you wanted to put a basement or a fireplace the builder discouraged you.(Photo courtesy of Bruce Zavetz, Lake Entrance 1962)
In 1960 our property was finally paid off, and we had the $2,995 model built. We had the builder add on 2 or 3 extra courses of cement blocks and also put cement blocks around the carport. We were going to enclose it and make it a screened in porch. We had insulation put in against the walls and they installed the septic tank & drains the cost was $3,300. Next we had to put in hot water lines, a shower, a well and a submersible pump. The well cost $917.00 and they dug down 208 ft. deep. Our house was the 4th house built on E. Shore. The house went up in 1960 and I had my 4th child that year.
Crandon Lakes had tennis courts, a beautiful club house, life guards, picnic tables with pretty umbrellas, row boats at your disposal, a dock in the middle of the lake, also 2 docks that started at the beach area and went out about 20 ft.into the water. There was also a mini bus that went up into the back properties and around the lake to pick up anyone who needed a ride to the beach. The bus drove them home around 4PM. The woman who drove the bus was Mrs. Culver, and she lived at Culver Lake. Mrs. Culver paid one boy, Bobby Genthon, 25 cents for each fish he caught and gave to her.
I do not recall what year the lake was sold to Mr. & Mrs. Rose Woltz. Our dues were then $25.00. We had bingo at the club house. Mrs. Woltz gave out beautiful prizes. We had arts & crafts for the children, teenage dances, and Joe Terranova taught sewing to the adults (Joe taught sewing in school). We had baseball teams and the coaches were Mr. Koerber and Mr. Senese. Mr. Koerber & Joe Terranova still live at the lake (Joe is a summer resident).
At the entrance of the lake they had a guard house; one had to show your card in order to enter. The roads were all dirt roads and every year they would be oiled to keep the dust down. Boy, did we get our feet, shoes & clothes soiled.
Every Monday night at Betrans Island was nickel night - all the rides were only a nickel. We were about 4 families that went, the Bolovschak's, Meroni's, us, and Brazicki's. Now mind you, we all did not have cars or telephones, or television. There was a book mobile that came around and our children did a lot of reading. Mrs.
Bolovschak would hike into Newton sometimes with the kids and at night we would take the kids for a hike to Lake Owassa for ice cream. We also had the Dugan truck that delivered bread, cake, and orange juice. We had a milk man deliver our milk. There were not many stores in Newton. There was only Grand Union which was located where Staples is now, the Big N, Britts, Shepards, and Rockaway Sales.
The lake was sold to Barish Realty around 1980. Mr.Barish immediately raised our dues to $100.00. We, the people, rebelled and did not pay dues for many years. We formed our own association and put our dues money in escrow. Barish did nothing for us or the lake and brought some people to court. He lost and eventually went bankrupt. For awhile after that, there was no one in charge of the lake and the area started going down. Derelicts were coming in and sleeping on the beaches all night, building fires, making noise, and disturbing people. It was a frightening time here. On or about September 8, 1982, the lake was bought by the people. Everyone gave in $500.00 and became shareholders. The lake began a slow but sure clean up and different areas were fixed. We did not have an office then. My husband and I were in charge of the beaches and lifeguards. We kept all the equipment in our shed. The lifeguards reported to our house. We maintained the two lakes. About 1983 we got a trailer and put it on the East beach parking area. I worked there for 10 years and resigned to enjoy the rest of my retirement.(Photo courtesy of Monalio Family, Ragamuffin Parade* 1963.) *This event occurred each year from the Club House to the Main Beach where kids would get trophies for best costumes.
My children are all grown now and they often talk about the good times they had at Crandon Lakes. My son often mentions how lucky he was to be able to spend the summers here and not in the city. Our children swam across the lake and back every day. My one son and Eddy Johnson swam from the dam to the entrance when they were teenagers. We had lifeguards that gave swimming lessons
The main roads were also dirt roads and we had holes as big as craters. The township came around with a survey, as to whether we would like the roads paved. We did not know that we would be assessed additional money. We all were assessed by the size of our property, and it took me 10 years to pay it off. Our cost of road assessment was 3,901.52, the year was 1982.
1961 house was appraised for $6,578
1989 house was appraise for $110,600
2005 house should sell for $200,000 or more, so I guess that was a good investment.
Josephine GrabowskiMore to come ...
June 26, 2005