This evening (Mon 7/3) Clark Lakers will light up the shorelines with the soft glow of luminaries. The luminaries were built by Raft-O-Rama volunteers, distributed door-to-door, and made available at Doyle’s Market. Each tote bag contains 10 luminaries (instructions included). Lighted in the evening, they will burn well into the night. The donation is $15.
As evening turns into night, fireworks are launched from docks and lawns around the lake.
Let’s flashback to Independence Days from Clark Lake’s past. Three are recent – 2019, 2020 and 2021. Scroll down for those videos. The fourth flashback goes back 117 years.
If it had not been for the fast action of neighbors, the building we now know as the Clark Lake Community Center might be very different, or perhaps, not exist at all. The Community Center was once a cottage on Kentucky Point, watching over Clark Lake for 100 years. To save it from being razed, Clark Lakers joined together in 1997 to move it by barge to its present location in the County Park. So, what happened in 1906 that threatened its existence? Carlotta Graziani was the daughter of Ben Graziani who had built the cottage for his family. About the time she left the lake in 1967, she wrote about her family’s summers in the cottage and life at Clark Lake.
It’s July July 4, 1906:
At long last that new summer arrived and we were again at the lake. It was nice to see the cottage getting into shape for papa’s arrival [from Kentucky] on July the 3rd. Finally all was in good order and we went to meet the Cincinnati Northern that would bring him to us. With him came toys and boxes of the most beautiful fireworks. When we arrived back at the cottage, papa opened a large box and handed out many packages of firecrackers, snakes in the grass and other small ones that were safe for us to use during the day. He also gave each one a package of punk as he didn’t want us using matches.
Early on the morning of July 4th, 1906, we were all up and busy shooting off the firecrackers that papa had given us. Around noon time, Florence, who was then 6 years old, ran out of her supply. Thinking that she could find more in the front parlor where all the larger fireworks had been stored, she went in with lighted punk. In a few seconds, I saw the largest display of fireworks that I had ever seen in my life. It was coming through the windows and doors and apparently even the walls. The next I knew, Florence, Bennie and I were being taken back into the fields by our good nurse, Lillie.
Kind people came from all around the lake to help put out the fire that started. A bucket brigade was formed by many men passing water from the lake to each other. My father had crawled on his hands and knees through the midst of the fireworks to see if any of his children were trapped. In a remarkably short time, all was quiet. The fire was out and much to my sorrow, all the beautiful fireworks were gone.
With everyone gone, we all went inside, only to see a much damaged cottage and our plans for the evening gone. While mama and papa looked over the damage, my sisters, brother and I started to cry. Dear papa came and put his arms around us and said that there was nothing that could stop our celebration. He had sent Marcus to one of his friends and ordered a team of horses and a surrey to take us to Brooklyn to get all the fireworks that hadn’t been sold. The tears were soon gone, and with hugs and kisses for papa, we were soon on our way.
To read the entire memoir, please click here. At first, it may seem lengthy, but once you start, you won’t stop until you finish it. It will leave you feeling charmed.
To travel back to 2019, watch this video.
The pandemic did not stop Clark Lake from celebrating Independence Day 2020.
Here’s a look around Clark Lake in 2021.
Still ahead this summer are Freedom Fireworks on the huge Clark Lake weekend in August that includes Run Clark Lake and Raft-O-Rama. Click here for an update.