Luxton Lake/Ten Mile River - Narrowsburg, NY

Luxton Lake is a private community within the hamlet of Narrowsburg that has a rich history as a vacation area for New York City residents, going back to the early 20th Century. The long, narrow lakebed consisting of about 80 acres is nestled in the Ten Mile River (TMR) valley approximately 3 miles from where the TMR flows into the Delaware River. The lake was created in the 1800s by a hand-laid stone dam at the narrowest and flattest point of the river. The area was home to the grand boarding house the Homestead, and the Luxton Lake Clubhouse and Casino (all owned by the Heubner family). Guests at the Homestead boarding house could walk to the tavern and casino, or rent boats to go fishing for the day.

In the early 1950s, the community was subdivided and marketed as an African-American vacation community, drawing families from Harlem, Queens, and the Bronx. Big band leader Noble Sissle was one of the principals in the development of "Lucky Lake Estates." With connections to the music and sports worlds, he brought famous friends to the area. Baseball great Willie Mays had a parcel of land in the development, and his image was used in advertisements for Lucky Lake Estates. Buyers could purchase a 1/4 of land for 37 cents / day, and build a second home or retirement home. The area became known for lively jazz music in the Lucky Lakes Country Club.

In the early 1980s, the century-old stone dam began to show signs of wear and abuse, after logging trucks used it as a roadway while removing timber from the undeveloped side of the lake. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ordered that the dam be repaired or destroyed, citing risk of flooding to homes downstream along the Ten Mile River. Due to lack of time, and lack of money, the dam was demolished in the spring of 1983. The lake waters washed away, and a barren lakebed, with the Ten Mile River snaking along it's center, was all that was left behind.

The next decade or so brought blight to the area as homeowners, or inheritors of properties, abandoned many of the cabins in the Luxton Lake community. Homes, left for years unused and un-maintained, became structurally unsound, home to animal infestation, or victims of vandalism. 

However, the 21st century has brought a modest revival to the area. Some cabins have been purchased and repaired, some demolished and removed to create greenspace, and some new homes have been built. In 2006, the Luxton Lake Property Owners Association took back ownership of the community grounds (where the Clubhouse once stood; it has since been demolished due to structural issues) and has planted flower gardens and built an outdoor pavilion.

Remnants of the history of the community still remain, including a concrete section of the old dam near the intersection of Luxton Lake Road and Lake Ridge Road, the flagpoles erected in the 1960s as monuments to important black Americans are centerpieces for a garden on the community grounds, and the original "model home" for the Lucky Lake Estates is available as a vacation rental (see the "Cutest Little House in Narrowsburg" under Places to Stay). On the other side of the Lake Ridge Road bridge there is a family plot for the Mapes family, with gravestones from the 1840s.

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Location

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Nearby
Latitude: 41.592512 Longitude: -75.016651 Elevation: 1026 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Tina Spangler

Time Period Represented

1920 - present

Visitor Fees (if any)

Free

Seasons Open

All

Accessibility Notes

Please enjoy a self-guided tour on Luxton Lake Road. All property is privately owned.

Comments

"The logging company (s) should have held financially accountable for repairing the dam road which was used to extract the profits from logging in the area."

John Edward Jordan, 1/7/2016

I wish you luck on restoring this community. I love reading and hearing about this area. I wish I could buy a cabin here. This is just the place, I have been looking for.

Alma Licon48 @gmail.com, 3/28/2016

who was the Mapes family?

Richard Schumacher, 1/30/2017

Coming here as the child of a property owner, I have observed a full fledged conspiracy between NYS DEC and the "local" community to purge Blacks from this area that they developed. It took TONS of repeated dynamite explosions to collapse the dam. The locals agenda was to force Blacks out, buy the land cheap, and rebuild the dam and make it a paradise for themselves.

K. Ernest Smith, 12/21/2018

I also came as a young child with my parents and family every holiday and often on weekends canyou tell me the correct date in june the hurriane became violent and dump trees on the community thank you

Diane, 1/11/2019

My family -- grandparents Judeline Barrow Romero, Harry Romero and Carnot Rocher, my parents Earl Romero and Maria Rocher Romero, and my siblings Joseph, Francesca, Carla and me, Antonio Romero -- owned a house on Route 97, a few homes away from the road down towards Lucky Lake. We came on weekends a lot in the 50s and 60s, less so into the 70s and especially the 80s, though I can't remember when my parents finally sold the house, in the 1990s I think. Had many friends and neighbors, including the Robertses (Lawrence and Joanne, a lovely white couple who lived there year round) across the road, and other NYC African American friends (Charles and Ellen Crenshaw among others) who also had homes there. I learned to sled and to fish up there, and bicycled a lot. (Man, the hills were steep coming back up from the lake!) Good times. I miss our country house, a little red brick 4 bedroom/1 bath.

Antonio Romero, 1/23/2019

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