Saturday, August 25, 2012

Desirable Swimming Pool For Rent

Superintendent Dean of the Board of Public Works predicted in April of 1939 that by the end of that year the city of Poughkeepsie would acquire the Morgan Lake property from the Morgan family and add it to College Hill Park.1 The deadline predicted by Mr. Dean was a little ambitious, but the action of acquiring Morgan Lake was not; the goal was met in 1941.

On Thursday, July 25th 1940, it was announced in the section titled "Brief Bits of County News" in The Harlem Valley Times newspaper that the city of Poughkeepsie could purchase the Morgan Lake property for around $40,000 (about triple the amount that George Morgan paid for the property originally in 1866).2 In December of that year, a real estate transaction placed the 32 acre property into the hands of the Morgan Family trustees, Chester Husted and Elijah T. Russell.3 This transaction was carried out by the president of the company, Eva Morgan-Niver, Senator Morgan's daughter who became president of the company after her brother George Morgan III passed away in 1932.

Throughout the months of February and March in 1941, Elijah T. Russell paid for a small, daily advertisement to be printed in The Poughkeepsie Eagle-News announcing that Morgan Lake was available for rent as a lake swimming pool. 
From The Poughkeepsie Eagle News Friday February 21, 1941 Page 3.

On March 31, 1941 in an article titled "Morgan Lake May Be Swimming Pool" in The Poughkeepsie Eagle-News it was announced that a man was considering leasing the property and developing it into something comparable to Heidrick's pool in Millbrook, NY.4 The name of this man was revealed in another article published two days later on April 2, 1941 titled "Burke Seeks Morgan Lake: Would Modernize Property As Up-To-Date Resort If Zone Is Reclassified." William Burke had managed Heidrick's pool in Millbrook, NY for two years (1938-1939); which explains why he was hoping to develop Morgan Lake into a bathing park similar to Heidrick's pool.5 Burke planned to build "dressing rooms, stands, picnic tables and other features which [would] make the swimming pool more attractive" and would hire life guards to be on duty at all times.6

Just short of a week after Burke's plan was announced, city of Poughkeepsie Common Council members Alderman Williams and Alderman Thompson made the motion to refer Elijah T. Russell's request to have the Morgan Lake property be leased as commercial land to the city of Poughkeepsie Planning Commission.7 City Planning Commission Secretary George J. Lumb announced to the Common Council on April 21st, 1941 that the Morgan Lake zoning change request to switch from residential to commercial property was approved.8 However, the Planning Commission would still need to approve Burke's development plan before the lake became a private swimming pool.9

Did Morgan Lake ever become the Poughkeepsie/William Burke version of Paul Hiedrick's private bathing park in Millbrook? If you have any additional information about this moment in Morgan Lake's history, please leave a comment below, send an email to or call Joclyn Wallace (845) 418-0016.         

1."---Dean Looks (Continued from Page [11])" The Poughkeepsie Star-Enterprise Monday April 24, 1939. Page 19.
2. "Brief Bits Of County News" The Harlem Valley Times Thursday July 25, 1940. Page 2.
3. "Bond to Be Posted" Poughkeepsie New Yorker Friday Evening December 26, 1941. Page 9.
4.  "Morgan Lake May Be Swimming Pool" The Poughkeepsie Eagle-News Monday March 31, 1941 Page 11.
5.  "Morgan Lake May Be Swimming Pool" The Poughkeepsie Eagle-News Monday March 31, 1941 Page 11.
6. "Burke Seeks Morgan Lake" The Poughkeepsie Eagle-News Wednesday April 2, 1941 Page 2.
7. "Planning Commission Given Lake Request" The Poughkeepsie Eagle-News Tuesday April 8, 1941 Page 12. 
8. "Morgan Lake Zoning Change is Approved By Planning Group" The Poughkeepsie Eagle-News Tuesday April 22, 1941. Page 9.
9.  "Morgan Lake Zoning Change is Approved By Planning Group" The Poughkeepsie Eagle-News Tuesday April 22, 1941. Page 9.



Let's Go Fishing!

"Boop Boop dit-em dat-em what-tem chu!" This catchy chorus from the song Three Little Fishies by Saxie Dowell could be heard loud and clear at Morgan Lake on Saturday August 18th during Part 2 of a four month long outdoor, children's story book reading, song, and game hour series called Storytime by the Lake. The event is open to all ages and is a chance for children and families to learn a little about specific topic related to Morgan Lake; this month's topic was fishing. 

Four fish and fishing related books were read by Morgan Lake Volunteer Lake Stewards Joclyn Wallace, Dan Wallace, Betty Fugere, and Zachary Shaw. The story books read were:

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (fish pages), by Dr. Seuss

Piggy and Dad Go Fishing, by David Martin 

A Fishing Surprise, by Rae A. McDonald 

A Good Day's Fishing, by James Prosek

Fish and fishing related games were played between each story. Hot Potato (renamed Fling the Flounder by Morgan Lake Volunteer Brittany Bush) was played, as well as a life size version of the magnetic fishing board game Let's Go Fishin' designed by Morgan Lake Volunteer Amy Wallace. Children also had a chance to get their hands wet by playing with some wind up fish toys in a small, inflatable kiddie pool. The last event for the day was the Fishy Foto Contest where children (and parents) were encouraged to make their best "fish face" in the cutout board designed and painted by local artist Joanna Cohen.