|Franklin History Book - The Franklin Outing Club
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Because they needed a fill-up point for their steam engine, the Chicago, Burlington Railroad decided to build a reservoir south-east of Franklin. It was finished in 1906 on a tract of 82 acres. This proved to be a very big project. The contractor, hired by the railroad, employed area people to do the actual digging of the lake. It is said that 120 mules and 240 horses were used in pulling slip scraper, to move dirt and then dump it in the dam. Seventeen railroad cars filled with large rocks were used to complete the dam. When the lake was finally finished, there were approximately 28 acres under water. A pump house was built to provide shelter for the two gas powered pumps. Water could then be pumped to the tower which was located next to the railroad tracts near the cemetery.
The reservoir attracted twelve men who, after much consideration, formed the Franklin Outing Club. On January 1, 1908, an agreement was drawn up with the railroad that the club would pay $100 annually until the contract was terminated. In exchange, the club members would have access to the lake for recreational purposes. On March 20, 1908, the first business meeting was held. The club by laws were adopted, and the officers elected. The first president was G. J. Dowell. H. C. Dawson was elected vice-president, and W. N. Lutterall was the secretary/treasurer. Other directors included Al Stewart, A. C. Metcalf, N. Z. Reinbach, George Boulware, M. B. Keplinger, and John Votsmier.
The membership in the club grew rapidly. The lake was stocked with fish, a new club house was built along with bath houses. A caretaker was hired and improvements continued each year. Toads were improved and electricity was brought in so the grounds could be lighted. By the mid 1950's, several cabins had been built. In 1974, the club erected a new club house--a large, steel span building costing $11,000. It is 40 x 60 feet with a closed in section 20 x 40 feet. It is equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, and dining room. There are now more than 50 cabins on the lake site, and the club has over 200 members.