Looking Back

Some of the lost names

By Annemarie Schuetz
Posted 8/26/20

STEVENSVILLE, NY — Where, you say? 

It’s that busy community near Snake Lake. Come on. You know what I mean. How can you forget the mellifluously named Snake Lake? 

Well, …

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Looking Back

Some of the lost names

Posted

STEVENSVILLE, NY — Where, you say? 

It’s that busy community near Snake Lake. Come on. You know what I mean. How can you forget the mellifluously named Snake Lake? 

Well, most everyone can, except Sullivan County Historian John Conway, whose job it is to remember places and people who would otherwise slide away into time.

Maybe Snake Lake was too strong a name. Too suggestive of reptiles and maybe leaves people disinclined to swim in the lake. The Mongaup was dammed up and Snake Lake expanded to more than 600 acres. It was renamed Stevensville Pond, by its owner, Daniel Stevens. 

Stevensville Pond, of course, is suggestive of the Stevens family, who owned a tannery in the area. Stevensville itself had a hotel, a blacksmith shop, a school, a wagon shop and many people, Conway wrote. No data on the snake content, apparently. 

Eventually, a Stevens descendant traded some land there for part payment on an apartment building. The buyer was Alden Swan, who continued to buy in the area. After he died in 1917, the post office was renamed Swan Lake in his honor, Conway says. 

So, no swans in Swan Lake, just Swans. It’s probably too much to hope for that the snakes were really Snakes. But really, I’ll take any excuse to say “Snake Lake” a whole bunch of times.

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