could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

Today is:

Ownership of Cottonmill Lake

The Name

Echo Lake
    1888 - Name used when Canal was built
    April 22, 1898 – Name used in bankruptcy proceedings

        Foreclosure by the Union Trust Company of New York
        Property included:
            “Also all reservoirs, dams and lakes connected with and forming a part of said Canal,

            including the three lakes known as ‘Lake Echo’ ‘Lake Greenwood’, and ‘Lake Kearney’.”

Cottonmill Lake –
    Nov. 15, 1899 – A farmer in the area was thought to have committed suicide by downing himself in cotton mill lake.

Who owned it?

Kearney Canal and Water Supply Co.
Canal Co went bankrupt in 1898
    Sold in Sheriff’s sale to the mortgage holder

Union Trust Company of New York

Zada Lancaster (and husband Charles)
    Zada Stoddard (C. Hanson house on 8th Ave., purchased by Stoddard in 1891)
        Stoddards were celery farmers

    Zada married Charles Lancaster in 1896
        They lived with her parents at least 14 years

    Charles worked on celery farm & raised sheep at Newark until 1910
    March 1910 – moved to farm near Empire Ranch, in Odessa Township

    1912-1915 or so – A manager at Watson Ranch

    Acquired the property from the Union Trust Co. of New York [don’t know exact date]

        1919 (atlas)
        Zada & Charles now living on “Lancaster Ranch”
        Includes Cottonmill Lake except for two north fingers extending into the north
            half of the section which was owned by the Nebraska Land and Livestock Co.

    Then came several years of financial difficulties – 2 mortgages
    March 29, 1929 – Both mortgages were in process of foreclosure.
        Collateral on Mortgage #1 – land
        Collateral on Mortgage #2 – crops, farm equipment and livestock.

        Lancasters agreed to continue to operate the farm until Sept. 1, 1929

    Sept 1, 1929 - sale of farm equipment and livestock
        Proceeds applied toward their debt (probably on Mortgage #2)

    Dec. 30, 1929 – Property was sold at a Sheriff’s sale.

United States Trust Company
    Purchased by 1st mortgage holder for the amount of their note, $9,830.00

    January 13, 1930 – A Sheriff’s Deed of Record deeded the land to the United States Trust

State of Nebraska
    May 19, 1930 – The United States Trust Company transferred ownership by

                            Warranty Deed for $4,000.00

    Developed into a state recreation area with camping – The stone lodge was built in 1940

City/County Ownership

1971 Legislative session –
    Bill to transfer some State properties to local governments was first introduced
        Attached as a rider to another bill which was vetoed.

1973 Legislative session –
    New bill on its own approved by 46-0 vote

    Sponsored by Sen. Gerald Stromer, Kearney
                        Sen. Maurice Kramer, Aurora
                        Sen. Dennis Rasmussen, Scotia.

    State Recreation Areas transferred from State Game Commission to local governments
        Stolley Park to Grand Island
        Arnold Recreation Area to Custer County
        Long Bridge Special Use Area to Merrick County
        Cottonmill Lake to Kearney and Buffalo County - 107 acres

    Dean Canon was chairman of the County Board of supervisors

    Ray Lundy was Kearney City Manager

    A separate Advisory Board was to be created.
        Apply for federal and state funds to help with reconstruction.
        Plan to hard surface roads and parking areas
            put in domestic water system [irrigation type well for swimming area]
            playground equipment
            caretakers home
            mechanical shop and equipment storage.
        No plans to dredge the lake.

May 1, 1973 – County Board approved the Cooperative Agreement with the city.
    Vote was 6-1 – one member thought we had enough parks in the Kearney area.
    [Since then Kearney has added 4 parks – Baldwin, Harvey, West Lincoln Way, Yanney]

Advisory Cottonmill Lake City and County Recreation Park Board
was established
    2 Kearney residents appointed by the mayor
    2 County residents appointed by the County Board
    1 person chosen by the other 4

[At some point between then and now (June 2009) a change was made to put Cottonmill Park under the responsibility of the city parks advisory board.]

City Parks & Recreation Department – Now responsible for the park & lake


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Revised: 02/08/2018