Ownership of Cottonmill Lake
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
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
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
Charles worked on celery farm & raised sheep at Newark until
March 1910 – moved to farm near Empire Ranch, in Odessa
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]
Zada & Charles now living on
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
March 29, 1929 – Both mortgages were in process of
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
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
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
Long Bridge Special Use Area to
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
domestic water system [irrigation type well for swimming area]
shop and equipment storage.
No plans to dredge the lake.
May 1, 1973 – County Board approved the Cooperative Agreement with
Vote was 6-1 – one member thought we had enough parks in the
[Since then Kearney has added 4 parks – Baldwin, Harvey, West
Lincoln Way, Yanney]
Advisory Cottonmill Lake City and County Recreation Park Board was
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 &