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Posts Tagged ‘Lake Desire’

Originally published in the MVHS Bugle, May 2000

By Barbara Nilson

Photos by Sherrie Acker

The “action” in the 1920s to 1950s, from Seattle south, was at the lake resorts in the Valley. Memories of those glory days were shared at the March program with Dolores Gaffney and Janet Bertagni talking about Gaffney’s Lake Wilderness resort, and Gloria Foss remembering the family’s resort on Shadow Lake.

Lake Wilderness resorts

Attending the historical society program on resorts were, from left, Janet Bertagni, Dolores Gaffney Judge, and Bernadine Gaffney Gebenini.

Dolores Gaffney, daughter of Tom Gaffney, reported her father and his brother Kain purchased the property on Lake Wilderness in 1926 from Abraham and Sam Cohen. The family moved to the lake and the resort opened in the spring of 1927 as Gaffney’s Lake Wilderness.

At that time there were three small family resorts on the lake. Dieckman with his two sons, Jeff and Don, had just started one, and across the lake was McKinney’s. McKinney’s also had a dance hall that was two stories high that they eventually turned into a skating rink. In April 1939 McKinneys sold their place to Gaffneys.

One of the older buildings was used for a dance hall, said Dolores, and they used kerosene lamps. In 1936 they built a new dance hall after the old one burned down. They had a 30-foot-high diving board as well as cabins, tennis courts, picnic areas, ball fields, and playgrounds.

In 1949 Diekmans and Gaffneys were combined and the Gaffneys decided to build a lodge. The design was developed by Young, Richardson and Carlson and won the grand prize from the Washington Chapter of Architects in 1951 and the top award from the American Institute in New York in 1952. The center column totem pole was carved by the famous Doug McCarter. It is 35 feet tall and weighs ten tons. (more…)

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