Lake Lucina

Written by Louise Andrews
Originally published in the September 2007 edition of the OAI Newsletter

Lake Lucina is a beautiful small lake sitting in the heart of Old Arlington, part of an 80-acre land purchase by Oliver H. P. Champlin in 1882. In 1888, Mr. Champlin recorded the deed in Jacksonville, Florida as Eggleston Heights, which was his wife’s maiden name, also naming a street bordering the west side of the lake for her given name Almira.

Oliver Champlin actually lived on the southwestern corner of the lake at one time. I think you will recognize his children’s names as street names in our area. Ransom Street named after his son and Michigan Avenue named after his birthplace. Oliver and Almira rest in the Old Sammis Cemetery at the corner of Noble Circle W. and Garrison Avenue in Clifton. I expect to find many more of his relatives there as I continue my research. The cemetery now has a marker calling it Clifton Cemetery. There are several relatives from the famous Kingsley family buried there. Later on Mr. Champlin’s estate sold parts of Eggleston Heights to Mr. Roy O. Dickson and William R. Cesery who created the subdivisions where we now live.

Lake Lucina is a small and shallow spring-fed lake-providing homes to many people and wildlife. Beautiful waterfowl grace the lake with their presence. We watch ducks, geese, hawks, and osprey feed daily and some have reported seeing the Great Blue Heron and an eagle. Our anglers catch bass, catfish, bluegills, shell crackers and recently tilapia. The turtle and tilapia population have flourished. Grass carp control the vegetation, and aerators placed around the springs assist in oxygenation. Some of our members swim in the lake regularly. When the water levels are high, we occasionally have skiing, with the biggest treat of all is when neighbors bring out a beautiful catamaran. The entire lake comes out to see the spectacular sight.

In the 1950s water lilies, cattails and thick aquatic growth made swimming and boating almost impossible. In 1953, the homeowners around the lake formed an association, which we incorporated in 1963. On September 18, 1973, concerned people living on the lake decided to create new bylaws to care for and protect the lake. Those actually living on the lake can join and have a say in how we care for it. We are constantly looking for new ideas on how to keep our lake healthy.

The view from my large sliding glass doors allows me to enjoy the many changes of the lake. Sometime the lake is smooth, and you can see the fish and turtles feed. When the winds are out of the southwest it looks almost rough like the ocean, and hardly anything stirs. Certain times of the year when the sun is lower in the sky, you can see the sparkles on the water, which looks like a pool of diamonds. In the early evening, you can see and hear the geese come home just as the night starts to fade; the tree frogs start melodious croaking. I especially like to watch the lake during a thunderstorm. A realtor friend of mine tells me “Lake Lucina is the best kept secret in Arlington.”

I have stated the things I know and feel about Lake Lucina as of today, but what of yesterday? I want to know as much about Lake Lucina as I can. I would like to share some hearsay, and hope to find documented answers. One person told me when the French Huguenots was at Fort Caroline the closest place to get fresh water was Lake Lucina.

Did the Spaniards really name the lake Lucinda? I plan a visit to Kingsley plantation to see if the maps really list Lucinda Lake on them as rumored by many others. We all have heard stories of the lake having other names, Dickson’s Lake, and Dorsey’s Pond, in addition Cartwright’s Lake. One member of Old Arlington was reported to have lived on Lake Lucina as a girl, possibly in the same house built by Oliver Champlin for his family, later owned by her grandparent’s name Courtwright. One lake member told me the lake overflowed across Chaseville Road, which is now University. I have lots more research to do on this project finding ways to document the things I have heard. If anyone has information to share, please feel free to contact me anytime.

Louise Andrews 744 9671
Lake Lucina Historian