Lake Eanes, Comanche’s Favorite Reunion Place


 
Missy.
Missy.

Before we begin, I need to tell you that I have no idea who it was that allowed me to use these wonderful old photos. If you will contact me, I will credit you immediately!

Today, Missy Jones writes of the place we all used to love. How many hundreds, probably thousands of school picnics, parties, and reunions did we have there? Running and playing in the park, climbing up to the old lookout, swimming in the pool, what fun we all had!

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Oh, how we loved to go to Lake Eanes, and we thought of it as a long journey (Missy was born in 1930). Of course, it’s only about a 5 or 6 mile drive (south of Comanche), but back then we looked at it as a long, long trip. Today, we can make that long trip in about 5 minutes! :)

Lake Eanes was so pretty, and I have so many childhood memories. There were giant pecan trees, many with long, rope swings hanging from tree limbs. A favorite cousin, Ovel Dingler, married to my cousin, Lena Mae Steward, would push me in the swing so high that my feet would touch the leaves and the limbs in the tops of the trees. I am sure that I was screaming at the top of my lungs, and I always wanted to go higher, higher.

There was also a big, covered pavilion or tabernacle. It was square shaped with a cement floor and a tall pointed roof with shingles on top.

What memories!

What memories!

In the park, under two big, beautiful trees, were very long wooden picnic tables with attached benches down each side. They were painted white, and down the sides were painted words in black like Smith family, fourth Sunday in August. That meant that anyone could use the table except on the fourth Sunday in August, when the Smith family would be there to use it.

Of course, there was a beautiful swimming hole. (By the time I came along, there was a pool.) This was natural and was located on the south side of the park. On the left, there was a rock wall with a walkway for you to walk across. On the far side was a walkway around the edge of the swimming hole, and a path that you could take to climb up to the top of the hill on the south side of the swimming hole. There were about 3 diving boards set at different heights on that walkway to the top.

The pool was added later. At the far end of this photo was "the deep end." To the right was the low dive, and to the left, the high dive. That high dive is still used today at the Comanche City Pool.

The pool was added later. At the far end of this photo was “the deep end.”  A little to the right on the far wall was the low dive, and to the left, the high dive. That high dive is still used today at the Comanche City Pool.

At the very top was a rock room, with walls about 4 or 5 feet tall, and you could see for many miles from that point (We called it Lookout Tower.). I always thought that Indians might have used this for a lookout point because you could see so far.

What a view!

What a view!

I remember that in the pool, toward the west end, was a little island. It was rocked up, and there was a pretty weeping willow growing out of the island.  There was also a children’s pool. It seems that it was located toward the west end of the pool.

We would plan and plan for our reunion lunches. This was usually a big gathering with my family members coming from out of town. My mother was a very good cook, and a favorite was fried chicken. Now this wasn’t chicken bought cut up in the store and wrapped in Saran Wrap. No, this was chicken that had been running around in the chicken pen and the garden until my mother grabbed them, wrung their necks, dressed them, and fried them in good lard.

She also made a potato that was so good, and everything tasted better eaten out like that. I remember that it was mashed potatoes with sliced boiled eggs, cut up onions, pickles, vinegar, and mayo. There would also be meat loafs, roasts, big pots of fresh potatoes, black-eyed peas, fresh green beans, pans of cornbread, and desserts everywhere. Everyone had fresh fruit for peach or blackberry cobblers, and many women made banana pudding, with slices of bananas and vanilla wafers dotted across the top…paradise for children eating lunch there.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Camp Bowie in Brownwood was a training center, and Comanche was always full of soldiers from the camp. These men were a long way from home and lonesome. Many families met them on the square and invited them home with them for the weekend. Many soldiers also came out to Lake Eanes, and many of the families with reunion groups and plenty of good food would invite the soldiers  to have lunch with them.

I’ll bet those soldiers really enjoyed that home cooked meal! I can just see those soldiers sitting down back at camp and writing to their mothers, “Guess what? I went with some fellows to a nearby town, Comanche, that has a park called Lake Eanes. There were people there for family reunions, and they asked us to eat lunch with them. It sure was good, and it made me want to be back home for your cooking!” -Missy

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As Missy talked, I was reminded of something I had forgotten. One thing that I loved about family reunions at Lake Eanes was that there might be 3 or 4 (or more) families having reunions there at the same time. That was great because you could mingle among the groups and visit with LOTS of people that day.

So now you know!

About Fredda Jones

Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for texansunited.com and marketing small-town Texas.
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10 Responses to Lake Eanes, Comanche’s Favorite Reunion Place

  1. Bryant Sears says:

    Thank you so much fo posting this. What memories. The Evans reunion was here every year. Dave and Faye(Evans) Rush would take me. “Paw” Dave would take me to swimming lessons each summer. Other trips included the end of the year picnic with the school. My grandad and I would walk down to the natural pool (long gone at this time) and he would point up to a tall tree next to where the water would be and tell me of some boy that would climb the tree and dive into the water. At the time he never said it was him -just wandering though. Bryant

    • Fredda Jones Fredda Jones says:

      Thank you so much for this comment. If only I had understood that nothing lasts forever, I would have made a last journey through the old memories, taking photos of everything that was so important to all of us.

  2. Sue Darwin says:

    I remember going with my folks to dances at that pavilion when I was little. I would dance with my uncle and my daddy. Then go play with the kids.

  3. David Power says:

    by the time our generation came along, the Lake Eanes pool was several years old. I remember riding the school bus out for picnics, gathering the seemingly unlimited supply of pop rocks. The swings with the chains and the tall metal slide that burned until the afternoon sun went behind the trees. Two ways to get to the Look Out Tower, cross Mercer’s creek to the southwest and walk the ridge line to the tower, or head to the southeast corner of the park, cross the creek and climb up the hill directly to the tower. If I remember correctly, the SE path still had dinosaur tracks along the way.
    The sounds of the cicadas in the evening as the pool closed will always be a sound that I remember, it was like nature was taking back what was hers for the night.

    • Bryant Sears says:

      Thanks David, more special memories I was able to live again. Someone brought a sheet of wax paper and we sat on it down the slide. Talk about fast after that.

  4. James Boldebuck says:

    Thanks for the memories all good when remembering Lake Eanes. I attended the Stevens reuinon . Climbed that ridge to the lookout many times. This was a beautiful setting with the big pecan trees. One thing I always remember were the rocks that were a oart of some of the tables that had dinoseaur tracks in them. I wonder what happened to them?

  5. Mary Peacock says:

    Patton Reunion way back maybe late 40’s early 50’s. Was there a rope pretty high from a tree or rock that mostly boys swung out over the water? I barely remember because we started going to Great Grandpa and Grandma Patton’s at Downing farm after very early 50’s.

  6. missyjones says:

    Fredda, I think that I can go back to the mid 1940’s and the early 1950’s for our family reunions.
    I also remember that the “OLD CORA” court house was located on a rise up north of the park grounds, and one time me and other cousins walked up there to look around. there were shelves inside of the building, and old ledger books, with leaves just blowing in the wind. If I was a mean then as I am now, I would have taken all of these books home with me to protect them. I found where my grandfather, Cornelius Nicholas (Nick) Cox had paid his taxes, and this was just all blowing away.
    Another thing, one time my first cousin, Willis Steward (Beth Martin’s dad) landed his small plane out on the flat stretch of ground just to the north of the park area. He was landing just for fun for our Steward reunion. Thanks, one thing makes me remember something else. Missy Jones

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