Lime Lake Then and Now

Recreation has long been a focal point for this body of water. Now the people who enjoy the clear waters are owners of property along its shore. In this century Lime Lake is a private recreational body of water.  There was a time when the area surrounding the water was filled with public entertainment opportunities. 

A local resident, Jefferey Miller has published Lime Lake: An Historical Review. A thorough history is offered for the reader's entertainment. He explains that the Town of Machias is nested in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, its surface forming a portion of the elevated tableland, called the "dividing ridge," separating the waters of the Allegheny River and Cattaraugus Creek. Lime Lake forms a watershed for these watercourses, discharging northerlythrough Lime Lake Outlet to Cattaraugus Creek, and through the south outlet into Ischua Creek and on to the Allegheny River. The northerly flowing waters eventually find their way into the Atlantic Ocean, while the southerly flowing waterseventually empty into the Gulf of Mexico.  This lake hadthe distinction of appearing in "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" in 1941, being a lake with 2 outlets and no inlet. The lake is supported by underground springs that supply a continual flowof 50-degree, crystal clear water.

This area was referred to as "The Forks" in original West Yorkshire.  This is the area where Cattaraugus Creek joins with Elton Creek and the outlet of Lime Lake.  According to legend, Native Americans called the body of water, "Ososagih" which means "clear living waters". 

The second picture shows how important the business of harvesting ice was to this region, with communities being settled along the banks.  By the late 1880's, 145,000 tons of ice were harvested annually from the lake, with several ice houses arising.  This area also attracted prize fighters, as one building along the shores was used for training these fighters. 

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