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Historical Highlights

Beaches and Parks

By Mary French

Thanks to a request from a third grader, I had occasion to briefly research Crystal Cove, Reichard's Lake Town Beach, Butler Park and the Methodist Farm.

From the Town Assessor's office I found out that Reichard's Lake Town Beach was given to the Town in 1955. It had been a beach, and in the indenture it is stipulated that it must remain a beach or the title will revert back to the donor. The beach has served the Town well as a free swimming facility for residents.

Crystal Cove has been known by that name for the past few years. Ruth McGlew, President of the Crystal Cove Association, is carrying on the "hundred year tradition of having the beach open to the public, available for swimming lessons as well as being used for private parties." She stated that Crystal Lake is noted for being the cleanest lake in Rensselaer County. People enjoy the beach because it abides by the rules of common sense, common courtesy, and maintains a family atmosphere.

I spoke with Lois Bishop. She and her husband have had a camp at Methodist Farm for over 50 years. Paul, her husband, had given a presentation of the farm in years past. She shared that the Methodist Sunday School Association bought the Stiles farm around 75 years ago for people to have picnics and camp. The Methodist Farm hosted the YMCA Day Camp as a gift to that association. It is still available for year-round or seasonal renting of the space, group outings or individual occasions. Religious services are held on Sunday evenings. Over the years, it has maintained an alcohol-free environment. By the end of the season, campers have worked up an endurance for climbing "the Hill" up from the beach.

Butler Park has become a well-used and very popular spot. John Glasser, Town Councilman, was a good source of information. (Several inquiries had come to him already on this school assignment.) Butler Park was dedicated in 1983 from land donated by the Butler family. It has become a real community effort by Kiwanis, Boy Scouts and groups who have worked on the Fitness Trail, playground and the Elroy Face Baseball Field. More recently, the Eagle Pavilion, built as an Eagle Scout project, and the new stage have made the park even more versatile. The Summer Festival has become a great Town celebration. The overall goal is to make Butler Park the best park in Rensselaer County. We're well on our way!!

It was good to become focused on more recent history and to realize how much more serious investigation needs to be done to tell the whole story. Any "pieces of the puzzle" any of you may have on these places or others would be most welcome!

[NOTE: Author Mary French was Town Historian when she wrote this article in 1998.]

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Created 3/25/2000; last revised January 3, 2015 -- asm. © 2002-2024 Sand Lake Historical Society; all rights reserved.