ES Independent Column – Lake Lucerne

My daughter works at a shop in town frequented by tourists. The other day, a couple probably in their 70s came in and the gentleman said, “The last time I was in Eureka Springs I must have been about twelve years old.” He told about coming to visit during summer vacations and about the restaurant at Lake Lucerne. As his wife impatiently tried to usher him out the door, he said, “I’m just trying to tell this young lady about her town’s history.”

I have some old Lake Lucerne postcards and they show that it was quite a resort. One postcard shows the sizeable restaurant, which was a hot spot for both locals and tourists, looming over the lake. There is a high dive, a tall water slide and other recreational activities. Another postcard shows the hilly golf course.

Lake Lucerne was once partly owned by Lance Alworth. He is considered an all time great of both the Razorbacks and of professional football. I’m told that in the era that Lance Alworth played for Frank Broyles in Fayetteville, the Razorbacks would come to Eureka Springs and stay at the Crescent Hotel the night before home games. Perhaps that is when he became familiar with Lake Lucerne. Later, during the 1965 off season when he wasn’t playing professional football in San Diego, Lance Alworth and two Little Rock businessmen purchased the Lake Lucerne Resort. They only owned it for two years, but Lance Alworth managed to establish a boys camp there during that time.

I’ve read articles about the group that purchased the resort from Lance Alworth and company and their plans. According to what I read, they planned to lengthen and pave the airstrip at Lake Lucerne so that it could accommodate daily passenger flights. The 9-hole golf course was to be expanded and a ski slope and chair lift for snow skiing was to be built.

If you have memories of Lake Lucerne, write to me at steve@steveweems.com or P.O. Box 43 in Eureka Springs, 72632.

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