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Evolution of Swimming in Lake Devil


June 10, 2011 by wcobserver

Devil's Den Diary

Myra Collins

As we are gearing up to open the pool for the summer season I was curious about the evolution of swimming in Lake Devil. Many people ask why they can’t swim in the lake anymore. So, I begin to ask questions to my parents and other local residents. Here is some of the information given to me.

​From 1934 to 1936 the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built Lake Devil and a platform to dive from and swim around. When WWII began the camp was abandoned. The lake became a popular swimming hole for park visitors and locals. In fact, my parents recollect swimming in the lake during the 1950s.

​As I was talking to some locals about the recent flooding they began to share some of their memories. Danny Robinson told me he was a lifeguard in 1963-64. This was when everyone still swam in Lake Devil. He also told me that swimming was free. Doyle Baker said he, too, had been a lifeguard for a couple of years before the swimming pool was built. I was told that after the pool was built the health department would not allow swimming in the lake any longer.

​As others, I also have fond memories of Devil’s Den State Park. I learned to swim in the pool as a small child with a toothless grin. Later, as a teenager, I was a lifeguard at the park.

​For years now, Devil’s Den is a place of creating memories. With the rising gas prices, the thought of traveling too far from home is bothersome. Unlike many surrounding states, Devil’s Den does not charge anything to come and enjoy the trails or to have a picnic. So, whether you are ready to take a swim in our pool or hike one of our beautiful trails, come make memories at Devil’s Den today. Check our website for calendar of events at or call for reservations 479-761-3325.​




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