Take a walk...

...where nature and history surround you.

In 1889, the Spring Lake and Park Company was incorporated by the "who's-who" of wealthy local businessmen to construct a lake, build a park, purchase boats and make a recreation place for pay and pleasure.

As originally constructed, the dam required for this purpose was reportedly 616 feet long and over 25 feet high, creating approximately 30 acres of clear, open water, much larger than the 7 acres that exists today. During the summer months, Victorian Madisonville enjoyed not only the recreational facilities at Spring Lake, but also the refrigeration provided by its ice (harvested during the winter and stored in an ice house, near where the Lake House now stands).

For decades, Spring Lake was a favorite place in the community for gatherings of all kinds, from political rallies to family picnics, fishing and moonlight boat riding...a popular attraction for the young people of the day. Over the years, however, the Lake gradually dropped out of its prominent place in the recreational affairs of the community. With the coming of electric refrigeration, it was no longer needed... its role in Madisonville's history almost forgotten.

In 1928, Spring Lake and the surrounding 300 acres of wooded land were leased by the Spring Lake Fishing Club and Wild Life Sanctuary, a private sportsman's organization headed by Brasher C. Bacon, a noted ornithologist, student of botany and one of the pioneers of conservation in Kentucky. The Club operated for a number of years and grew to a membership of over 100. In 1946, the "Spring Lake Refuge" was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. J. Edwin Ruby, II, for construction of their fine new country home...prompting the end of the property's use as a fishing club as well as the ascension of its prominence in ornithology (the study of birds) in Kentucky.

Mrs. Mary Comer Ruby was a lover of botany and nature. As the story is told by Mr. Bacon's son, in exchange for his father's guidance and assistance in her botanical efforts on the property, Mrs. Ruby provided the funds for the construction of what would become known as The Museum of Oology (the study of birds' eggs) at Chickadee Hill, and presented it to Mr. Bacon for development and operation. During its decade of existence here, the Museum housed numerous bird specimens, 350 sets of nests and eggs and more than 300 books on birds, insects, wildflowers and trees and served as the premier venue for ornithological studies in the State of Kentucky.
These are just a few of the many photos we keep at Spring Lake depicting its long and interesting history. As time allows we plan to add more such photos to our website and for guests who are interested, they can always be viewed first hand during their stay.