When you have the opportunity to chat with some of the folks who have been here in the Paupackan Lake community for some time, you find yourself wrapped up in their stories. It occurred to me that many of you would love to hear those recollections. So I asked Rich and Lucy Damiano to dig through their old pictures and share with us their story.
Lucy and Rich were living in Queens when they decided in 1974 to look for a vacation home. They came across an ad indicating that the Great American Land Corporation was selling and developing lots around the Paupackan Lake. At that time the only roads built were West and East Shore Drives, Sheridan Rd, Ferris Rd. and Westerly Rise only as far as Ferris Rd. Lucy and Rich selected Ferris Rd. and their house was placed there in December of 1975. They were the only house on the street but they could hear the constant drone of machinery and chainsaws as the three roads behind them were being developed. In the spring of 1975, PP&L brought electricity to the area. Keep in mind Rich and Lucy took possession of their home months before that. Add that problem to the fact that the water lines were usually frozen. They both laugh when they tell what visits to their vacation retreat were like back then. “We can’t count the number of times that we had no water which meant no washing, drinking or toilet facilities. So, when that happened we would pack up and go back to civilization. We were happy that it was only a 2 1/2 hour drive home.” They remember a sign on Ferris Rd. indicating the site for a tennis court that was being planned. Obviously, that never materialized.
Rich continued with one of their funniest stories. “We were told there were few insects. Since we bought in October and being city folks, we believed them. Then May came with the May Flies and Gypsy Moths. Not knowing what to do, we put paper bags on our heads with eyeholes so we could clean up our property. After cleaning up the property we decided to take a walk down the road with our bags on our heads. We ran into other city folks who had their heads wrapped in gauze. So, we were not the only ones who looked insane!”
As Lucy and Rich settled into the community and more residents came to the area, the developer asked Rich to serve on the board of directors. Rich remembers that the association dues at the time were $35 per year with an additional $15 for water. An empty lot was significantly less. Nonetheless, even then it was difficult to collect these fees. Rich remembers going from door to door to explain what the money was needed for and to request payment.
Lucy added, “As the development grew we were involved with a small contingent of people who made arrangements for various social events. There were Christmas parties at local restaurants and Valentine’s Day and Halloween affairs. During the summers of the 80’s and 90’s we had a Fourth of July BBQ that was run by 8 – 10 volunteers. In 1995 we moved here permanently. Things sure have changed dramatically since 1974.”