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Jason Goes To Texas

The Crystal Lakes of Texas

By Clint Skinner
Jason Voorhees has haunted the residents of Pinehurst County, New Jersey for decades, claiming victim after victim at Crystal Lake and its surroundings. No matter what people do to him to end his reign of terror, Jason keeps coming back. At one point, he's going to get tired of it and start looking for a new home. Jason, should he decide to leave New Jersey alone, will discover that Texas has a few options for him.

In Shelby County near the Sabine River, Crystal Lake lies 1.4 miles west of a town called Joaquin. The artificial body of water serves as a reservoir for the town and surrounding area. Its construction began in 1913, thanks to the effort of Abner O. Whiddon.

The farmer and land owner chose his fields to be the spot for his project. He filled it using spring water from Clear Branch Creek. The clearness of the source inspired the name Crystal Lake.

Abner moved his fields to the left side of the lake when he started construction. The progress was slow and continued into the 1930s. The whole thing came to a hault when the Great Flood of 1933 washed away the lake's levy.

In 1947, Abner's son Orren took over the project with the help of his wife Cynthia. He repaired the damage caused by the floor and added improvements. Once this was done, he opened the lake to the public. It instantly became a popular destination for those living in the area, including the Louisiana town of Logansport.

Crystal Lake opened every year on Memorial Day and closed on Labor Day. However, it was only available during the weekend. There could be no profanity and no glass bottles. The Boy Scouts and church groups often made reservations for special events and a Catholic church held Sunday services. Over the years, new additions were installed. The lake had diving boards, picnic tables, sunbathing spots, a bath house, a snack bar, a zipline, and a dance hall. Orren drained the lake each year after Christmas and cleaned the bottom of the lake.

Unfortunately, Orren's health started deteriorating, leading to the decision to close Crystal Lake in 1980. His son Richard reopened the lake in 1985, but closed it again three years Iater because attendance was too low. Richard's sister Susan considered opening it in 1989. However, the high cost of liability insurance changed her mind. Today, Susan lives on the lake, but it remains closed to the public.

Another Crystal Lake is located seven miles east of Palestine in Anderson County. The natural water source drains into Stills Creek and serves as a recreation spot for the Crystal Lake Country Club. In addition,it provides fishing and camping opportunities for those living in the town of Crystal Lake, Texas.

Although the date of the settlement's founding remains a mystery, records show that the nearby country club started in 1875. During the 1930s, the town had some homes, a school, and a golf course. The school belonged to the Swanson Spring School District in 1932, but it was consolidated with the Palestine district by 1955. Antioch Church became a part of Crystal Lake in 1982. Three years later, the town had one business. The population reached twenty by the end of 2000.


© Clint Skinner
November 20, 2018

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