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History in Lake View

Content Separator

04.26.13

Lake View, IA - Welcome to the Black Hawk lake area. This presentation is meant to serve as an overview of the historic places and structures that grace the area. As you walk or ride a bicycle from point to point, you will surley appreciate the history and beauty of our community.

Two young men with pioneer spirit and foresight are credited with choosing and developing the prairie spot by the lake which is now Lake View. These young men were Platt Armstrong and James Fletcher. While there were settlers as early as 1867, the town was not platted until 1880 by James Fletcher who gave the town his name. It was changed to Lake View in 1887. It sat on the west shores of what was then called Walled Lake, later to become Black Hawk Lake.

There are many places of interest in the community. as you tour, you will note there are many structures constructed of natural stone. This work was done by the workers in the CCC and WPA camps. Among those structures are the stone piers, "Withces Tower", Thirty Acres and Denison Beach shelter houses, entrance pillars at Speaker Park, and several structures in the Game Preserve.

Sauk Rail Trail/Bicycle Arch

Primarily covering a former rail bed, the Sauk Rail Trail extends along a paved surface from Lake View to Carroll, a 33 mile course. The head of the trail is in Lake View just east of Third and Vine Streets and is marked with a bicycle arch. This arch was constructed in conjunction iwth the 2004 overnight visit of RAGBRAI to the community.

Witches Tower

The tower overlooking the entrance to the Game Preserve has long been called the "witches tower" because the surrounding dense shrubbery gives it a sinister appearance. Today there is a paved path to the tower which serves as an overlook to the surround area.

Game Preserve/Severson Trail

The nature lover's area was established in the 1930's along a rail bed bording Lake Arrowhead to the west. In the beginning, the area had a state fish hatchery serving the state. This operated for many years until closing in 1959. The family of the late "Stub" Severson, a local conservationist, established a trail through the preserve in his honor. Sites along the trail are marked for viewing. Throughout the preserve there are several stone structures constructed by the workers in the CCC and WPA camps in the early 1930's.

Ice House Point

Located a short distance east of the game preserve entrance, this area is another created by dredge fill in earlier times.  Popular among fishermen and picnickers, the “point” is also used regularly by bicyclists who enjoy a paved riding surface through the entire area.  This area is also the site of one of several boat ramps serving Black Hawk Lake. 

Speaker Park

Instrumental in the development of Speaker Park near Black Hawk Lake was Dr. E.E. Speaker, one of Lake View’s physicians.  Ultimately, the park bore his name.  The entrance to the park is marked with fieldstone pillars.  Covering approximately three square blocks, the park features both an open as well as an enclosed shelter house.  A basketball court, ball field and playground are also found in the park.  Unique features of the park include a fountain, gazebo and a memorial rose garden.

Memorial Rose Garden

Established in 1962, the garden serves as a sea of beautiful roses to honor loved ones who have passed on.  Hundreds of people have been honored with the placement of a rose over the years.  Perpetuation of the garden is made possible through donations by individuals and organizations and is tended by the Lake View Park Board. 

Stone Piers

Two stone piers located in the town bay, one on the west side and one on the north side of the lake, were created around 1935 by workers in the CCC camps.  They are unique in that they are constructed of field stone and jut out over Black Hawk Lake.  The pier to pier walkway connects the two.  Many fishermen have enjoyed a day at the piers and over the years either pier has served as the background for a wedding.  The north stone pier also has a memorial walkway in front of the semicircular stone bench.  Near the west stone pier is a brick structure representing the site of the mineral springs, in early days a popular place to gather.  The shore line between the piers serves as the location for the annual Summer Water Carnival held each July.  And in years gone by, the lake area in front of the west stone pier was the site for the annual Winter Ice Carnival, a popular skating show undertaken in the 1940’s and 1950’s.   As an added attraction to the Ice Carnival, blocks of ice were harvested from the lake and fashioned into a lighted ice palace built on the shores of the lake.

Crescent Beach

The area known as Crescent Beach was created by dredge fill in early times.  Today it is the home of a popular camp ground, beach volleyball court, sandy beach, and a miniature golf course.  Sitting near the exit to the campground is the Chief Black Hawk statue.

Chief Black Hawk Statue

Before dredging occurred, the Chief Black Hawk statue stood at the edge of the lake.  The statue was sculpted around 1934 by Harry Stinson, a student of Grand Wood, as a tribute to the lake’s namesake.  Although Chief Black Hawk was never in the area, his image holds honor to his name. 

Historical Museum

The Lake View Historical Museum is home to many displays honoring people and events of the past.  The two story structure on Crescent Park Drive and Third Street is open during regular hours in the summer and is also available by appointment.  Among the displays are a Lake View High School alumni room and a replica of Lake View and train display created by Dr. M. A. Durst, a local dentist for many years.  A most interesting feature of the museum is the display of wild fowl.  Many items and pictures have been donated over the years so that history might be relived as one wanders among the displays.  Also on the grounds of the museum are the historic school house and the historic log cabin.

Fowl Display

This display of over 50 birds in the historical museum was prepared by C.C. Lille, a self taught taxidermist, who had a long work history in conservation services.  Formerly housed in the upstairs hall of the Municipal Building, the display was moved to the museum when the structure was built in 1996.  All fowl are encased in glass and are marked for identification.

School House

This small replica of a country school house was donated by the Westrom family for the historical museum grounds.  The interior reminds one of days spent with children of all ages who were taught by one teacher in one room.  Rural country schools encompassed an area of about four square miles and served the farm families living there. 

Log Cabin

Another structure on the museum grounds is the log cabin.  This cabin was built between 1870 and 1872 by the David Belt family and overlooked the Raccoon River east of town.  It was sold by the Belt family for one dollar to the Lake View Park Board with the stipulation that the cabin was to be moved and placed in the public parks of Lake View as a memorial to the early pioneers.  Many relics and antiques are displayed in the two story structure.  The cabin was completely restored in 2008 and is open to the public during published hours. 

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