LAKE MILTON, Ohio (WKBN) – This weekend marks the 100th anniversary of the completion of the Lake Milton Dam. The Lake Milton Historical Society is hosting a centennial celebration to mark the milestone and the public is invited.
Lake Milton is known by many today as a recreational asset. Thousands flock to the small town every summer to boat, fish and swim in the man-made lake.
Construction of the dam that created Lake Milton started in 1913. Sally Smolek, president of the Lake Milton Historical Society, said it all started with a group of farmers.
“There were 22 farmers that owned the land all around the lake and they bought the land and started digging the lake,” Smolek said.
Back then, the water was used partly for drinking and partly to supply water to the steel mills. Today, the lake supplies water downstream to the Mahoning River and is considered an important part of the water table in the area.
Smolek’s grandfather was one of those farmers who sold land to the city, which is why she wants to help preserve the history and memories of Lake Milton, while still celebrating the community that has grown into what it is today.
“Little by little, one person built a big house then another person built a big house and it just snowballed into what it is today,” Smolek said.
Lake Milton was dedicated as Ohio’s 72nd state park in June 1988. The 1,685-acre lake is large enough for powered boats, and there is access to the river for leisurely cruises. The lake is stocked with walleye, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie and channel fish, along with other species.
“It’s a great recreational spot for people to come to on weekends. There are boaters here every Saturday and Sunday,” said Wendy DiBernardi, Lake Milton Historical Society.
On land, the park offers several walking and biking trails in addition to an archery range. There are also three wineries near the Lake.
“There are a lot of assets around the lake and in the park itself,” said Lake Milton Park Manager John Trevelline. “I think the people and the community are one of those assets. People are really passionate about this place.”
The Lake Milton Historical Society will host a centennial celebration Saturday, Aug. 5 at the Lake Milton State Park Beach and Amphitheater. Festivities begin at 10 a.m. with a boat parade. A party at the beach will run from 5-11 p.m. at the amphitheater.
Speakers scheduled for the event include: Youngstown Mayor John McNally, Ohio State Representative John Boccieri, Ohio Senator Joe Schiavoni, former Ohio Senator Harry Meshel, Mahoning County Auditor Ralph Meacham, Bill Lawson – Mahoning County Historical Society Director.
The Lake Milton High School Band will perform and the American Legion Honor Guard will be in attendance. There will also be a small program about the history of the dam.