Thursday, July 2, 2015

Along the Old Lake Road Today

If you turn south onto Oak Point Road from Route 6, you very quickly encounter the street sign above. It's where historic Old Lake Road crosses Oak Point Road.

But don't plan on taking a retro road trip down Old Lake Road anytime soon.

Heading east, Old Lake Road (apparently private now) meanders down to Beaver Creek and the Copper Kettle Marina. Heading west, the road is more or less the driveway for the PQM Wastewater Plant.

Although it's not possible for us to drive on the old roadbed today, we can still enjoy seeing it through the eyes of someone who walked it.

Bob Kovach, a longtime contributor to this blog, was working at the PQM Plant when he emailed me back in December 2010. He wrote, "I thought you would be interested in what I know about the section of the road from the PQM Wastewater plant heading west up to the electric company.

"The road is still there, but has been reclaimed by nature big time. There is a section that has sort of a catch basin drain on each side.

Courtesy Bob Kovach
"I have found some spots along side of the road were old bottles have been thrown, mostly broken now. I also found a very nice license plate from 1950 (at left).

"Once you get close to the electric company, the road sort of disappears into the landscape. Not a whole lot to see, but very interesting just the same."

I checked in with Bob last summer to see if he was still working at the PQM Plant. He wrote, "I'm still working at the plant and haven't been down the old road for a number of years.

"Once in a while I'll walk over to our fence a few feet away, and try to make out the roadway that is pretty well grown over. There is an old metal gate that blocked traffic from getting onto the road that must have been there for many years, because the trees have actually grown around the post.

Old Lake Road looking west from the PQM Plant
Courtesy Bob Kovach
"I don't know how long that gate was there before the plant was built in '88, but I think the road was closed many years before 1988."

I had no idea that Old Lake Road was still out there until I traded emails with Bob. I had seen the road on maps for years, and assumed it was just a cartographer's mistake.

1972 Map
After corresponding with Bob, however, I started to utilize the various online aerial maps that were available, and was delighted to discover that you could see old roadbeds that were not visible from main highways – such as Old Lake Road.

Here's a screen grab from several years ago, showing Old Lake Road west of the PQM Plant.

And here's the whole stretch of Old Lake Road – from the PQM Plant all the way to where the old gas station was located by the highway. Unfortunately, the photo is pieced together from different photography sessions. But it's still interesting to look at, especially after seeing the vintage photographs of Old Lake Road that I posted yesterday.
Anyway, it's always fun to do a little mind traveling and explore the old highways without leaving the comfort of your house.

Special thanks to Bob Kovach for sharing his story and photos


Anonymous said...

Thanks for doing this Dan. Brought back many memories this week.

Dan Brady said...

You're very welcome – glad you liked it.