ES Independent Column – Lake Lucerne 2

Recently, I wrote about the Lake Lucerne Resort near Eureka Springs. Since that time, I’ve learned more about the old resort and its history, much of it from Randy Freeman. Randy has a unique perspective because both of his grandfathers were associated with Lake Lucerne.

In the 1930s, businessman Ray Freeman was involved with Lake Lucerne with long-time owner Richard R. “Dick” Thompson. Dick Thompson also owned Ozarka Water and lived in the Roundhouse near the train depot on Main Street in Eureka. He is said to have shipped as much as two million gallons of Ozarka Spring Water per year out of Eureka Springs. Thompson had originally come to Eureka in 1908 to teach at the Crescent College. Also involved in politics, he represented Arkansas at the 1916 National Democratic Convention.

Randy’s other grandfather, Charles Taff, lived adjacent to the Lake Lucerne golf course and his house overlooked it. Mr. Taff mowed the golf course in the 1940s and 1950s with a mowing machine pulled by two horses. Mrs. Taff sold eggs and produce to the resort restaurant.

Randy remembers playing on huge rocks located on the links. His mother, Pat, also played on the rocks as a child, as did her sisters. Pat remembers Mr. Thompson playing golf and his frustration with the game.

The nine-hole golf course was located in a valley and partly on the hillside. Between it and Lake Lucerne was Tex Belt’s riding stable. When Randy was little, he would go down and visit with Tex. He said the stable was a cool place for a little boy with all the horses and the leather saddles.

Randy said Tex was a fixture around Eureka Springs for many years. He was known for coming to town in a wagon pulled by a team of horses, up into the late 1960s. The wagon had rubber automobile tires and Tex and his wife would be seen in it all over.

Thanks to Randy for sharing his memories. Send your remembrances to steve@steveweems.com or P.O. Box 43 in Eureka Springs, 72632.

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