02Mar

History of Hunter Lake

Northville Little Lake is also called Northville Lake and is rarely referred to as it’s given name: Hunter Lake. Although in researching references how that name came about is unknown.
In it’s humble beginnings it started as a creek on a much smaller scale than the Sacandaga River but was a large contributor to the river providing a place for spring run off from winter melt and the many natural springs in the surrounding hillsides.

Hunter Creek flowed freely from an easterly direction and meandered down under three bridges in the beginning; one built over it at Mechanic St and the other at Washington street a third was built at the south end of main street and named Hogs Back Bridge which is now known as the spillway.
The first Gristmill in Northville was built on the creek in 1790 by Thomas Foster . Abraham Van Arnam operated a tanning and fulling mill sometime around 1800 on Hunter Creek. The creek was substantial enough back then to support these early industries.

There is a story about a man named Michael Newton who sold spring water from the Creek to the south end residents on Main St. This story cannot be crossed referenced.

Apparently lead pipes were run to provide this spring water which came out in poked holes at each residents location in a stream the size of a needle for $5.00 per year. Every winter, of course, the trickle would freeze. Most people had storage containers for water; whether it came from the pipe or rain barrels.

When serious fires ensued it was decided in August of 1890 that something needed to be done about the village being able to obtain water more readily.

The reference becomes a little convoluted at this point ; as it gives no names of the exact locations or names of the reservoirs created.

The first reservoir was made on 6 acres of land one and three fifths miles northeast of the village for at a land purchase cost of $350.00.

The dam was constructed of earth and stone on Hunters Creek and created a 3 million gallon reservoir .The dam may have later become Water Street.

Before Water Street was created a building stood at the Main Street Corner It must have been removed to provide a street that accessed Ridge Road.

Before this flooding there were four streets into and out of the village from Ridge Road; Mechanic, Washington, Prospect, and South Main Street. After the flooding there was the newly created Water Street, then Prospect, and South Main Street . Mechanic and Washington became dead ends. The remains of Mechanic street can be found if one looks closely enough on the opposite bank.
In the early years of Hunter Lakes creation the winter provided a skating rink for residents. There was a warming hut that also was used as a temporary lock up in the summer for any unruly law offenders.
When the valley was flooded in 1930 this changed Hunter Lake.

The squared designed Hogs Back Bridge was replaced with what we now call the spillway which was utilized as another form of control for the Great Sacandaga or the Sacandaga Reservoir as it was called when first formed.

Writers note: Growing up in a house within view of the little lake is a fond memory for me for as the years passed the trees grew to tall to see it. But the location was (and still is) a front row seat for the 4th of July fireworks.

Although a non-motorized lake an occasional electric kicker might be seen; but doesn’t disturb the peace much. Loons linger there in the spring to early summer until enough kayaks, canoes, and rowboats disturb them enough to find more remote lakes farther north.

All kinds of fish, frogs, turtles, and other small lake inhabitants call Hunter Lake their home. In it’s small, quiet, peaceful, tranquil way it provides a great deal of refuge to wildlife and aquatic plants .
Although not as desirable to be on as the Big Lake it still has concerned citizens and summer people who own homes and camps with lakefront or acreage that have access to it. It is under the same HRRB rules and regulations as the Great Sacandaga. References Russell times past times present.

by Lorraine Frasier
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