Here we go again! Arghhh!!
LAKE LEVEL UPDATE
Looks like we are headed towards another Abnormal River Conditions situation. We need rain. AND we need to make our voices heard! Everyone needs to be hopping mad. Why? Because there is NO plan. Just using Lake Freeman as a watering can is NO plan. The US Federal Court of Appeals issued their opinion in March 2021. It was a bad news/good news opinion. Yes, they agreed the science was applicable, but strongly questioned the USFWS notion that their mandate would have a minor effect on Lake Freeman. Hmmm, they drained the Lake almost completely, killed hundreds of thousands of Pearl Mussels, and cost local businesses millions of dollars. We call that major.
Contact our local politicians and ask them their opinion. Just click on their name and send them a message—
History: In 2014, the US Fish and Wildlife Service issued a mandate to maintain a minimum 500 CFS discharge from the Oakdale Dam. This is an attempt to hydrate endangered mussels down river from the Oakdale on the Lower Tippecanoe River. To be clear, we are all in favor of conservation and protecting our lakes and the river. The mandate was issued to keep a subjective minimum flow of water to the Lower Tippy. A legal fight has been underway ever since. The mussels have thrived for millions of years, it is testimony to the incredible water conditions of the Twin Lakes and Tippycanoe River. Lake Freeman should not be the watering can for the Lower Tippy. Here’s a link to the Indiana USFWS overview.
By Robert Dion
Many have thought, including myself, that the name Lake Freeman came to be after the Chief Engineer, Roger Freeman intervened in a dispute between the towns of Delphi and Monticello. Delphi wanted to call the reservoir north of the newly built Oakdale Dam, Lake Delphi. In fact, there are early photos labeled with this name. Monticello thought Lake Monticello would be appropriate. When the two could not come to an agreement, they decided, because of the benevolent nature of Mr. Freeman, to call the reservoir Lake Freeman.
Here’s the true story.
I recently was contacted by Deborah Giraud (pronounced Girow). She is the granddaughter of Roger Freeman. I had the pleasure of speaking with her and her mother, Anne Freeman Giraud. The 102-year-old daughter of Roger Freeman! It was an honor to say the least. Two very sharp and well-informed ladies.
Roger Freeman designed both the Norway Dam (1923) and Oakdale Dam (1925). It was his insight and recommendation to the Indiana Hydro-Electric Company to harness the power of the Tippecanoe River and bring electricity to rural central Indiana and beyond. In fact, as early as 1856, two Norwegian immigrants, recognizing the power of the river, built a coffer dam to power a grist mill.
Mr. Freeman was not an absentee leader. He lived with the more than 500 laborers who physically built the dams. He was away from his family for months. He was just 32 when construction began on Norway. The conditions were difficult, keep in mind the crew lived at the site and worked through harsh winters.
During the winter of 1925, amid construction of the Oakdale Dam, Roger Freeman was in New York and fell ill from appendicitis and was rushed to surgery. Well, in those days an appendectomy was not a routine surgery. Mr. Freeman developed complications and passed away on January 21st, 1925. Six months before the completion of Oakdale Dam. The crew was shocked and saddened but pushed on.
In a petition by Indiana Senator Emery Sellers to the Conservation Commission of Indiana dated April 15th, 1925, he formally asked that the newly formed Lake be named, in the spirit of “ambitious effort”, Freeman Lake. Just five days later, the Commission unanimously formally approved.
The Oakdale Dam was completed on August 1st, 1925. Had it not been for the vision, ingenuity and drive of Roger Freeman, our beloved twin lakes and the power they produce, may not have every been realized. Thank you Mr. Freeman!
Roger Freeman passed at just 36 years of age
Born July 20th, 1892 • Died January 21st, 1925
Wife: Mary (Bradstreet) Freeman
Children: (1919) Anne Bradstreet Freeman Giraud, Roger Morse Freeman, Jr.
Welcome to Lake Freeman Life. We are the informative resource for the people who live and play around one of Indiana’s most beautiful lakes. Lake Freeman is located in Monticello, Indiana and is a unique treasure. Formed by the construction of the Oakdale Dam in 1925 it is ten miles long and enjoys fifty miles of shoreline. Boaters, fishermen, families and visitors have countless opportunities to enjoy the water and beauty. At Lake Freeman Life, we want to offer fresh and relevant information. Share LakeFreemanLife.com with your family and friends. Bookmark it for yourself. Come back often. We want to keep you informed with stories, news, photos, contests and conversation. We hope you find LakeFreemanLife.com useful.
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Congressman Baird vows to help Lake Freeman
Congressman Jim Baird (4th District Indiana) was re-elected to a second term. All of us on Lake Freeman could not be happier. He has been a stout advocate for the Lake. In his promise to constituents, he called the Lake Freeman situation a “Catastrophe”. He also vowed to make sure the lowering and its’ affects never happens again. A big thank you to Congressman Baird!
Did you know?
The annual fireworks show is funded entirely by private contributions. Make a contribution at LakeFreemanFireworks.com