Falling hard for Autumn

The leaves last only a few weeks and boy have they been beau­ti­ful this year. So many col­or­ful trees. Some­times you just have to pinch your­self to remind how lucky we all are. Fall is the per­fect time to invite friends and fam­i­ly for a relaxed week­end with­out all the pres­sure to do this or that. I have nev­er under­stood why so many pack things up on Labor Day nev­er to see the Lake until Spring. Their loss is our gain! Kick back crack open a beer have a bon­fire and enjoy the crisp cool air. 

Roger and Mary Freemanm
A 1923 photo of Chief Engineer Roger Freeman and his wife Mary

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 Lake​Free​man​Life​.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 Lake​Free​man​Life​.com useful.

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Prieboys Lake Freeman
If you're lucky enough to live on Lake Freeman, you're lucky enough!
"Endangered" Sheepnose Mussels are found in Lake Freeman and the Tippecanoe River

What is the best part of "The Lake Life"?

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!

Jim Baird Lake Freeman
Thank you Congressman Baird. You know how important Lake Freeman is to businesses, residents, fish and yes, even mussels!
Lake Freeman Facts

Length: 11.99 miles.