The Book - Bart Beck

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FISHER LAKE TAVERN

During our trips into Europe and to the British Isles, we have visited many of the Castles and the famous old buildings in which much of our early history was spawned. It has been my observation that the Old Country Historians were far more dedicated, to their cause, than are the Historians of Lockport Township. There has been more history made and more big decisions made in and disseminated from, the Fisher Lake Tavern, than from any of those castles in Germany or from the Houses of Parliament, in London. If those old timers, in Europe and Great Britain, could have heard Henry Collins, Harry Shively and Walter Darr go at it, on some of the more important aspects of human endeavor, they would have been amazed, as well as having been ashamed of their own lack of parliamentary persuasion, when it was compared with the output from that Tavern, with the help of just a few glasses of beer. To my knowledge, none of that earth shaking output has been preserved for the benefit of future generations.

As a young boy, my first recollection of the Tavern is that it was called "Scoonie's Place" and was operated as a Pavilion where a person could rent a boat or the use of a bath house, or buy a soda pop and a hot dog. When I got a little older, I learned that a person could buy some other things there, as well. That was during prohibition and everything was supposed to be "dry". Scoonie didn't pay any attention to such things. I think that "Scoonie's" real name was Roy Scoonemaker. He was a small, very quiet, person who had one artificial hand. Certainly not a person that you might expect to find operating a Blind Pig.

Before the new highway (M-60) was built, in 1928, the old road ran within just a few feet of the front of the building. I do not recall, however, that parking was any particular problem. Probably there never was that many people there, at any one time. We were gone from the Three Rivers area from 1937 until 1947 so I do not know what took place during that period. I think that, as a neighborhood meeting place, it probably reached it's peak during the period from about 1952 to 1960. It was during that time that Harry Shively, Walter Darr, Henry Collins, Dubby Crosley, Cris Peters and a few others, would gather every afternoon, especially during the winter, and settle the affairs of the world.

During that period a greatest activity, the Tavern was owned and operated by Vince and Maxine Vargas, along with Evelyn and Pop. I never did know what their last name was, but they were, apparently, part owners,

Much of my work, during the Tavern's hay day, was north and east of Three Rivers, so in order to be included among the active members, I would plan my days work so that I would arrive just before five o'clock so that I could get in on the final summation of the day's activities. It would be utterly impossible to describe all of the land mark decisions and complicated theories that emanated from that edifice.

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