Elktownship History Pages / LAKE GILMAN
History of the Settlements (Towns) in Elk Township
founded April 17, 1891
Miles Gilman usually referred to as "Skipper" was the founder of Lake Gilman . He came to Gloucester County from Maine about 1908 and settled at Glassboro, where he lived until he started the lake project in the early 1920`s . The area was formerly the Glendinning farm . A mill called "Stone Mill" was located at the stream . Miles Gilman purchased this track containing 140 acres . It took 20 years for him to finish his project .
Miles Gilman was a Lt.Commander in the Navy and served his country for 22 years ( hence the name Skipper ) . He was in World War I and served on the USS Arizona, one of the ships sunk at Pearl Harbor .
The story of Lake Gilman is especially interesting as it was told by Miles Gilman to his friends . One day while riding in his truck delivering a summons , he happened to have a flat tire on the Glassboro-Ferrell Road . While waiting for a repair-man , because he did not have a spare tire , he started exploring the woods . There he found that two streams formed a perfect " Y " shape running though the lower land and he then decided it would make a beautiful lake if some manpower was exhibited . He bought the Glendinning farm . Miles Gilman set to work with an axe felling trees where the lake-bed now lies . From records kept by him , he actually chopped down 4000 trees , to say nothing of the briars and underbrush . In doing this , it is said he used five axes .
The first water went over the dam in 1928 .Mr.Gilman made many improvements such as building a bath-house and a pavilion which he liked to designate as the "shelter" . The lake which was then open to the public , had boats which rented for .15 cents @ day . If you didn`t catch any fish , you did not have to pay for the renting of the boat
The dam broke in 1946 . Some of the homes were flooded up to the second story . The road at the dam was completely washed out .
The township lines of Harrison and Elk meet directly in the middle of the lake . Half of the children go to Harrison Township schools and the others attend Elk Township Schools. High school students attend Clearview regional and Delsea Regional High Schools .
Every Sunday morning during the summer , chapel is held at 9:00 at the pavilion , & in the past each Saturday night a square dance was held .
Once a year, on the fourth Saturday in July, Lake Gilman Day is celebrated, in remembrance of " Skipper Gilman`s " birthday . It begins with swimmimg and ground races, followed by exiting boat races . Everyone participates, and a water pageant with colorful floats, is held in the afternoon. At 5:00pm the judging begins. The grand prize is a silver cup which the winner may keep for one year. If it is won three years in a row by one family, they may keep it permanently.
Miles Gilman died on August 11, 1948 . He is buried behind a monument at Lake Gilman. He is a man who saw his dream come true .
At Gilman`s death, some residents purchased the lake tract and it became private. It is now administered by Lake Gilman Owners , Inc .
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