The Skeleton Lake Cottagers Organization publishes Skeleton Lake Bones in July 2021, a deep dive of more than 240 pages into the captivating history and culture of the thriving lake.
The book contains 800 photos and eleven chapters of detailed and dynamic information ranging from the impact of the meteors that formed the lake, to the early development and colonization of the lake, and the arrival of tourism and economic activity. .
The authors of the book, Ken Reese and Cary DeLoye, are members of the Skeleton Lake Cottagers Organization and have worked hard for five years in their quest to bring this book to fruition.
Reese’s experience as a forester and his love for Skeleton Lake were two of the main catalysts in the birth of the book. In his extensive research into the trees around the lake, he uncovered a plethora of forgotten and poorly documented stories that became the basis of the book’s foundation.
âI’ve always wondered what the story of trees is,â Reese says. “I discovered that there were eight sawmills on the lake, with almost no documentation.”
Cary DeLoye grew up on Skeleton Lake and is part of the Wilson / Bullen family’s seven-generation connection to the lake. DeLoye had previously written and published a book about his family, which gave him the experience and know-how for the training of Skeleton Lake Bones.
Reese and DeLoye received a lot of help from two other members of the Skeleton Lake Cottagers Association: Joanne Hutchison and John Wyndham, both descendants of the lake’s early settlers. Hutchison used his marketing and handwriting background to edit and rewrite parts of the book, and Wyndham used his editing experience to turn it into a printable format.
(Above) Skeleton Lake Bones includes photos like this, the Skeleton Lake hatchery in 1953.
Overall, Reese says her main focus for the book was to focus on the families who have called the lake home for generations, as their stories have shaped the community and culture to what it is today. . There are currently some 500 families on the lake and Reese and DeLoye have spoken to 150 of them – many of them fourth and fifth generation.
These families helped reveal a deep and vast history of Skeleton Lake and provided most of the stories and photos included in the book.
âThe book wouldn’t have come into being without these families,â Reese says.
Due to the large size of the lake, many residents are isolated and unaware of what is happening in other areas. Reese’s hope for the book’s outcome is that it will be a way for the different families of Skeleton Lake to feel connected to each other. By telling the stories of several of these families, he hopes to educate and create a network of knowledge among the residents of the lake.
âNew cabin owners will be amazed at the old days about which they don’t know much,â says Reese. âThe lake has developed as local communities that don’t mix, a bearing of former cottage owners, new people who have recently moved in, and people who don’t know those on the other side of the lake. The book should help connect the different communities.
Authors Cary DeLoye (top left) and Ken Reese (skeletonlake.ca)
The rich history of Skeleton Lake was impossible to fit into a single book, so any information that was not included in the final draft was deposited in the Windermere Archives, available to the public.
A portion of the proceeds from the book will go towards activities of the Skeleton Lake Cottagers Organization, including fundraising to fight the Lippa Pit & Quarry Project.
To pre-order a copy of Skeleton Lake Bones, visit skeleton.ca.
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