Like any beautiful area worth its American salt, Chemung County nourishes an old tradition of horrible monsters, lovely maidens and brave heroes, all compiled into a love story.
Full legend is here, as told by Dr. Robert Lyon, a descendant of an old settler family from the late 1700s. A quick recap:
Tiny little Eldridge Lake, not much more than a puddle, really, has its very own legend. Ours involves a settler's boy failing to fit in with his native tribe. Unable to compete with the other, more successful braves, the young man wanders on his own into forbidden territory, the quicksand marshes that surround Eldridge Lake. There he sees a maiden of unearthly beauty weaving flowers into garland. He chooses to pursue her, and she returns his affection. She sets out into the lake in her white canoe and calls upon her father, the Great Spirit, to bless their love. Gaspara, the monster of the lake, immediately rises and drags her to her death. Days later the body of the young man is found dead in a white canoe on Eldridge's shore.
Newest update: the lake monster, Gaspara, is now called Jasper?
A resurgence in interest in Eldridge Lake is being celebrated this holiday weekend.
A lovely, public supported rebuilt carousel will also open for the season.
Many people worked very hard to make this year's opening a reality.