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Lake Cumberland History

Established January 1, 1951

In 1750, Dr. Thomas Walker, the first frontiersman into Kentucky, stood on a high bluff overlooking a giant river. Impressed by this stream flowing from the mountains of southeastern Kentucky, he named it in honor of the Duke of Cumberland, son of George II of England. Some 200 years later, Wolf Creek Dam was constructed on the Cumberland River forming Lake Cumberland, the third largest lake in Kentucky.

On January 1, 1951, the Secretary of the Army granted 2,791 acres of land to the Commonwealth of Kentucky to be developed as a state park recreation area. Construction began that year on a lodge and access road into the park. Although small, it was considered to be an outstanding park facility when completed in 1952. Originally called Lure Lodge because of the fine fishing on the lake, the name was changed to Pumpkin Creek Lodge when the present Lodge opened in 1962. Built with park labor, the Pumpkin Creek Lodge featured 15 rooms, a dining room for 40 guests, and an entrance lounge with a rustic stone fireplace.

There was a great demand for dock facilities on the new lake and a new dock was completed and placed in operation in 1952. Originally located at the old Rowena Ferry site, the dock moved to its present location after the road into the park was completed. Throughout the rest of the 1950s, park development included completion of 10 rustic vacation cottages, a campground with service facilities, roads and parking areas, general landscaping and acquisition of additional acreage to protect the park entrance.

The new Lure Lodge was built on a steep cliff overlooking one of the broadest expanses of water on Lake Cumberland. When its first guests arrived on September 8, 1962, Lure Lodge had but 24 guest rooms. Three years later, 24 additional rooms were added as was a lodge pool and bathhouse.

The 1960s proved to be a period of increased popularity for Kentucky State Parks. Facilities added at Lake Cumberland during this time included a 9-hole, par-3 golf course, 10 two-bedroom ranch cottages, riding stables and trails, tennis courts, playgrounds, expanded dock facilities, a community swimming pool, and a grocery store with gift shop.

The 1970s saw the construction of the 10 “Wildwood” cottages, activities center, country store, mini golf course and additional employee houses.

The 1980s were also a busy time at the park. Pumpkin Creek Lodge underwent a major renovation, remodeled inside and out, while care was taken to retain the basic appearance of the structure. The accommodations were updated but reduced in number to the current 13 and the original dining room was returned to use as a meeting room. Late in 1988, an indoor recreation area was opened covering the existing lodge pool and included exercise rooms, Jacuzzi, and game room. Above it all were 15 new lodge rooms.

To keep the facilities up-to-date, each winter has seen some of the rooms or cottages being upgraded. During the mid 1990s, work also included a complete renovation of Lure Lodge, renovation of Pumpkin Creek Lodge rooms, replacement of the country store and riding stables, maintenance upgrades to the community pool, replacement of the tennis courts, and the addition of three parking areas for marina guests.

Most recently, Pumpkin Creek Lodge has undergone a complete renovation. The par-3 golf course was converted to an 18-hole disk golf course. Construction of a new conference center is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2007. With these improvements, Lake Cumberland State Resort Park will remain one of the premier Kentucky State Resort Parks and a major tourist attraction in Russell County and south central Kentucky.

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