Summer wanes, memories remain |

Summer wanes, memories remain

Laura Lavelle, Columnist
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

These last days of summer have been slipping away like beach sand through my children’s toes. With the closing of the Lake of the Pines pool last Sunday, I have been thinking about how finite these summers are, and about past residents of the Lake and their lives.

Ancient families bathing in the newly flowed waters of the lake and swimming in a brand new pool, escaping daily news bulletins regarding the Vietnam War. LOP ladies adjusting beehive hairdos and Jackie-O style sunglasses while their children played at the main beach some 40 years ago, the summers passing as quickly as our own.

I visited the administration office earlier this week to register a canoe ” a family pass-along we were happy to pick up at my brother-in-law’s cabin in Pollack Pines last weekend. On my way into the office, I passed by the bone-dry cracked plaster of the now-defunct swimming pool ” its exposed bottom appeared fossilized in the hot afternoon sun. Gargantuan neon orange heavy construction equipment was perched nearby on the lawn, its claw-like appendage poised to rip through the brittle-looking pool shell. Again, my mind wandered to those earlier days in the late 1960s, when transplanted families first started enjoying the association’s amenities when they were newly built.

Oddly enough, the book, “Lake of the Pines, History, Legend & Lore” piqued my interest as I was purchasing my boat sticker. A copy was on the office counter, and I began to thumb through. The photographs of the LOP area, even before there was a lake, ignited my imagination, and I ended up bringing the book home.

The purchase of the book was an excellent investment. The history is fascinating and LOP resident Jan Townsend has done an outstanding job putting this book together. If you haven’t already read it, I recommend that you buy a copy ” I hear there are only a few books remaining. The administration is considering ordering a third printing of the book if the need arises.

I’d say this book is a must-have for any LOP resident. The background is comprehensive, and includes information regarding Nevada County’s gold mining history, as well as the development of LOP. There is a story of one resident who pulled a tiny gold nugget out of a creek bed on his LOP property.

Did you know that in 1991 there was an effort to make this community its own city? Also, when the dam was under construction, it was in danger of collapsing due to a particularly heavy rain that threatened to push the waters over the top of the still unfinished project. I was interested to find out that Combie (as in Combie Road), derived from the French name Combe, is actually more properly pronounced Com-bay, with the first syllable like “comb.”

Jan Townsend has included these and other well-researched historical facts, as well as colorful interviews with local ranchers and residents. She and her husband, Dick, have been residents here since 1993, and have owned property since 1985. She has spent 25 years as an editor and writer for the Sacramento Bee. She has made substantial contributions to the LOP News, and continues to be active in the community.

As the summer comes to a close, waves of change are passing over LOP residents once again. We are building a new pool, we have a new golf pro, and a new general manager has been hired. I am looking forward to the next 40 years of LOP history. I hope we can all contribute to its ever-changing character.

Speaking of memories, my own has failed me once again. In my last column, I wrote that Pinesman Bill Campbell had moved out of the area. I meant to say Bob Parker has moved. Bill and his wife, Betty, are still happy and active residents.


Laura Lavelle is a resident of Lake of the Pines, and her column is for Lake of the Pines area residents to share thoughts and information. Contact her at or leave a phone message with the readership editor at 477-4238.

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