Crystal Lake, Irwin County

Crystal Lake Irwin County GA Old Pavillion and Waterslide Dry Lakebed Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

Historically known as Bone Pond, Crystal Lake was, at least from the late 1930s until its closure, a wildly popular rural recreation spot. It was originally known as Bone Pond, for Willis Bone, who ran a grist mill at the site. Bone has traditionally been vilified in local circles as a Union sympathizer because he harbored a runaway slave on his property, but his great-great-great grandson, Richard Thornton, sheds new light on the story: “His son was a soldier in the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. The Bones were Creek Indians. Most Creeks did not believe in slavery and traditionally helped runaway slaves”. Thornton also dispelled the long-held local legend that Bone was a Yankee, noting his birthplace was Elbert County, Georgia.

It was historically a pond of normal size but a sinkhole reportedly swallowed the mill and filled the surrounding the area with water. In the recreational era, the water level was  fed by numerous underground springs connected to the nearby Alapaha River It’s completely dried up today and is no longer open to the public.I’m not sure who owned it after Willis Bone, but Dr. W. L. Story of Ashburn owned it for a time. Mandy Bryant notes that her “grandfather, Leon Lewis, and Jehu Fletcher owned Crystal Lake for awhile in the 40′s and 50′s. My grandfather died in 1953 and at that time my mother (Athleen Lewis Harp) and her sister (Maudine Lewis Holden) bought Jehu Fletcher’s half. Then the three sisters sold the property.” The late A. N. Adcock, Jr., of Tifton. who was one of the greatest promoters of tourism in the region, was the owner who expanded and popularized the park. It is now used as a hunting club. The Adcock family has done a great job in regard to its general preservation, as the surrounding hammocks and scrublands are ecologically important habitats. I was fortunate enough to go riding in the woods at Crystal Lake with Mr. Adcock, along with my father and the late Milton Hopkins, in search of a rare bird whose identity I can no longer recall. It was probably around 1989 and even then, at the height of the park’s popularity, Mr. Adcock was deeply interested in preserving the natural history of this special place. Unfortunatley, as of 2015, much of the property has been clearcut.

This property is private and secure; if you go there seeking access you will be asked to leave or removed.

Crystal Lake Irwin County GA Closed 98 Season Sign at Entrance Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

It was a big deal when the park closed, and apparently, it’s been sixteen years. There were times in the past when the lake was known to have dried up but it always naturally regenerated. I expect agricultural strains on the aquifer have rendered that impossible today.

Crystal Beach Irwin County GA Bumper Sticker Ticket Window Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

At some point, as the park grew in popularity, the name was changed to Crystal Beach. I can remember a time when there was one of these bumper stickers on nearly every teenager’s vehicle in Ben Hill & Irwin Counties.

Crystal Lake Irwin County GA Crystal Beach Entrance Gates Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

A large modern drive-through entrance gate was added in the 1990s. I remember the ticket booth pictured below.

Crystal Lake Irwin County GA Old Ticket Booth Entrance Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

This is the pavilion as it looked in the days when I was visiting Crystal Lake, from the 1970s to 1990s.

And here’s a postcard view of a smaller pavilion in the early 1960s.

crystal-lake-irwin-county-ga-tourist-attraction-recreation-youth-1960s-pavilion-bone-pond-postcard-photo-collection-of-brian-brown-copyright-vanishing-media-2012

And an anonymous snapshot of someone with a 1940s convertible, a “tame” wild boar, and the old wooden pavilion of an earlier era, probably 1930s-1950s. (This came from a Facebook page; I’d appreciate knowing more about it from whomever posted it).

Crystal Lake Irwin County GA Vintage Brownie Photograph Man by 1940s Convertible Tame Wild Boar Old Wooden Pavilion Photograph Copyright Unattributed Snapshot Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

As the postcard view indicates, there was nothing much on the beach in the 1960s, but by the 1970s and 1980s, growing crowds wanted more diverse things to do when spending the day.

Crystal Lake Irwin County GA Old Water Slid Mushroom Umbrella Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

Crystal Lake Irwin County Old Slides Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgaia USA 2014

I’m sure many people have memories of grilling hot dogs and hamburgers here.

Crystal Lake Irwin County GA Picnic Grill Palmettos Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

Just past the picnic area and behind the pavilion was the real star attraction, the park’s first large waterslide. Derek Veal, who worked at the park as a teenager, reminded me that it was known as the “Slippery Dip”.

Crystal Lake Irwin County GA Old Water Slide Recreation Amusement Park Natural Attraction Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

Other waterslides were added as the park expanded.

Crystal Lake Irwin County GA Old Water Slide in Natural Setting Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to see it one more time, but it is NOT publicly accessible nor do I have ability to get anyone access. Trespassing on the property is illegal and is watched closely.

Crystal Lake Irwin County Dry Lakebed Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

Crystal Lake Irwin County GA Sunset Palm Tree Dry Lakebed Local Landmark Attraction Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

My first post on Crystal Lake.

Aerial Views of Crystal Lake, 2008

My friend Browne Harper made these shots of the lake in 2008. I’m grateful to him for sharing them with Vanishing South Georgia.

2008 Aerial Photograph of Crystal Lake Irwin County GA Overall View Courtesy of Browne Harper for Vanishing South Georgia 2014

This view shows water in the sinkhole; I didn’t see any when I visited.

2008 Aerial Photograph of Crystal Lake Irwin County GA Showing Pavilion and Main Beach Area Courtesy of Browne Harper for Vanishing South Georgia

Here’s a view of the pavilion and main beach, with the Slippery Dip waterslide in the right background.

2008 Aerial Photograph of Crystal Lake Irwin County GA Showing Newer Waterslide Courtesy of Browne Harper for Vanishing South Georgia

This was a newer waterslide which I wasn’t familiar with.

The preceding three photographs are courtesy of Browne Harper. Please do not share them without proper credit to him.

 

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204 Comments

Filed under --IRWIN COUNTY GA--

204 responses to “Crystal Lake, Irwin County

  1. Barbara

    My great great grandfather , Julius Erasmus Porter, owned it for a while and he is buried under an oak tree on the property.

    • Ron Harper

      I grew up in Irwin Co. in the 50s and went to Crystal Lake often.I had heard many rumors about how the Lake was formed. Does anyone have more information on the circumstances about the grist mill, any survivors or how many perished etc. ?

  2. Carolyn Christensen

    I got one of the worst ear infections ever from going in the water in the late 60’s. I remember it being a lovely location, thanks for the memories.

  3. Greg Williams

    Thank you Brian for your site and efforts to preserve history. I do love history and especially photos of. With that said, my grandfather Emmett Clements was an excellent swimmer and diver for the local area and would help retrieve the drowned. Here’s a picture of him on Coleman Pond just a few miles away from Crystal Lake.

    I’ll post pic later when I figure it out. Save comment till later. Thanks.

  4. Eric

    Fitzgerald High School senior skip day, 1988. Too much hunch punch and a blistering sunburn as I recall. Youth, as they say, is wasted on the young.

  5. Jimmy Jump

    I enjoyed reading this post and appreciate you giving the history of Crystal Lake. My family made the trip on at least four occasions. The first time I saw the lake I was amazed. Our daughter, Leslie, really enjoyed the slides and just having fun in the lake. We lost her in May of 2015. Her daughters would have enjoyed Crystal Beach.

  6. Greg Tucker

    My grand parents used to go fishing there as far back as the forties. It was more of a fish camp back then. I spent many happy days scuba diving there in the 80’s and 90’s.

  7. Gregory Hayes

    Enjoyed many Sundays there with my family as a kid. Dad would always get drunk and Mom would always get mad. No slides at the time tho. Returned as an adult in 1982. Elton John was always playing on the juke box in the pool tables area. Great memories. Sad its all gone.

  8. David Chalfant

    I used to hike the area around Crystal Lake. I want to do so again. Crystal Lake is the most beautiful and enchanting area to hike for one day or more if it is ok to camp responsibly and treat her with respect. Can any one help me to contact the current owner of this land? sincerely, David Chalfant,

  9. Eric Kovac

    Wow ! I remember skipping school in high school at Turner Co High in 1972 and spending day there with fellow delinquents

  10. I remember travelling to Crystal Lake from Tifton during the summer around the early 80s…there was a section of the Lake blocked off. The story was that a diver had been sent down to investigate the hole that had developed…and he was sucked down by an underground river. Urban Legend…maybe. We always had a great time at the Lake.

  11. timothy sheppard

    I’ll always remember this place I loved it she one year they had fire works on the 4th of July it was the place to go in my day if I wasn’t at lake Beatrice with pappa Eli I was at crystal lake. I’m 53 now and don’t have to much time left .i would love and give anything to visit it one last time.before my time is up.id like to just walk the old beach one more time.and look at the old slides and the old pavillion buildings.i wonder if anybody changed the inside of the buildings any oh well who ever is in charge of this site I thank you for the memories of these pics it brought back emotional feelings for me I will never forget the time I saved a young girls life their one summer. Again thank you for bringing back some good memories for me thank you

  12. Kelly Fanelli

    We used to go there quite a bit when I was in my early teens. One Ssturday ,while we were picnicking, someone built a small fire pit. They lightly covered it up with sand when they were done cooking. My parents called for us to come up and eat. Needless to say I ran right through those hot coals not knowing they were there. Couldnt walk on my feet for two weeks due to my feet being burned. Sure did mess up my day!!! Loved Crystal Lake though.

    • Cyndi Gay Youngblood

      Jehu Fletcher was my Uncle. I didn’t know that he was part owner in Crystal Lake in the early days. I shared this post with my Dad, Billy Joe Gay who was born and raised in Irwinville, GA and he just gave me some history lessons on my family. I enjoy learning more about my family.

  13. Alvin

    Wow….So many memories for so many families. My family vacationed there many times in my youth years. Who really remembers Crystal Lake. Stay with me for a minute. Mr. George, the old man that pretty much overseen the entire place…? How about the trollie that would come around every hour, pick you up and drop you off whenver you pulled the rope to ring the bell.My first experience on a paddle boat, who else? I remeber when you couldnt always stay over night. Anybody there at the time of that small tornado? How about all the 5 gallon buckets for trash can? My grandfather and I used to empty one out, throw crumbled bread in it, dip in knee deep water, yank up about 50 fish in 5 seconds or less. How about swimming under t he docks and seeing the giant bass everywhere that would just swim right by you. I have several pictures I will go through to post. Did anybody ever go fishing in the ponds not far off back in the woods. You missed out. Some of the best fishing. Some many memories…

  14. Denise

    It would make a killer dirt track for racing!

  15. Janice

    It would be nice to just have “something” there to do. Many of us would love to just go there for the memories. From the looks of the pictures it’s still really beautiful. They could block off the unsafe areas and come up with something.

  16. I 19ew going to Crystal Lake. I seem to remember a wooden building there.musthave been about 5 years old the first time I remember going, mostly because my mom had bought me a pair of red shorts and a matching top. (the things we do remember). We went every year. I met my husband, Ron, there in the spring of 1966. We married in the fall of 1966. There wasn’t so much “junk” around the edges of the lake at that time. I think they went overboard in adding so much stuff. The more stuff you add to a place the more ways kids have to get hurt. It is a crying shame that parents aren’t held responsible for their kids behavior. People seem to think it is ok to just let their kids run wild and do whatever they want, then when a child gets hurt , sometimes very badly, they want to sue, sue, sue. Oh, for the days when parents made their kids behave, The kids respected other people and their belongings. I know how hard it is to keep up with kids. I raised 3 very active boys. all you have to do is blink your eyes and one can be missing. I would love to see the place open again but not as a monstrosity that it became. My oldest son is the only one who has ever been to Crystal Lake. (Sorry, that is the only name that sounds right)

  17. Meg Moon

    I enjoyed a visit with a high school sweet heart in 91 and had a blast. I am from north of Atlanta and my kids and i were looking in to a visit.. Sadly that will not happen. Seein i just learned it closed many years ago.

  18. Lamar

    I almost died there one time being wrong but I enjoyed the place when it was open I hate it closed that will be something to do for this summer hope it open back up dang I Miss Crystal Beach

  19. Jeaneen

    My parents, Gene and Judy Grigsby use to go there a lot. Then I enjoyed it myself.

  20. Arlene Chaney

    Thank you for sharing the pictures of Crystal Beach. U would love to get permission just for my husband and I to go out there and walk around the dried up pond , just for the memories of days gone by. If you can arrange this privately we are Danny and Arlene Chaney and we are in the phone book it you can private message me on FB .
    Once again thank you for the pictures and more history .

  21. Monette

    This park was fun.. But I almost drowned on the twisted slide…

  22. Lola Inlow

    Use to take my son and all the rest of our family 👪 would head over there from Bainbridge and Albany. Had many birthdays and family get-togethers at Crystal Lake. It was a great place with many fond memories!😊 That was in the 80’s. Wish Vanishing Georgia would do an article on Yates Springs in Bainbridge Georgia. It was also a great family spot in the 60’s and 70’s!😎

  23. Sasha D

    Would love to help with developing the restoration of this! I’m sure if the owners are up to it, they could start a “Go Fund Me” to bring it back to life! Bigger and better! Cabin rentals, swimming pools, all of that! From reading the comments, I’m sure people would contribute!

    • Jackson

      Didn’t you read the part where they said there are some rare birds living in the surrounding wetlands? They said the current owner is dedicated to preservation, and I’m not sure bringing an influx of thousands of people a month will help.

    • Carol Burnham

      I would donate on a go me fund. That’s a great idea. I used to love Crystal Lake. That was a big teen hang out in my younger days.

    • Renee Spires

      This would be great!!! Was the best place to go as a child. Im 53 now i remember going when i wss very small until i was in my 20s. Todays kids dont have memories like ours. Just good ole fun!! I pray someone will reopen one day. I definitely will be taking my grandson every chance i get!!!

  24. Donna Hall Wilder

    I visited Chrystal Lake many times in my teen age years… What a thriving, wonderful place it was in it’s day.. as with many other places in South Ga….Jay bird Springs, Red Bluff both near the Ocmulgee River and The Rocks, near Pridgen Ga. which is totally off limits now… It is truly a shame the things this younger generation will never experience…

  25. James Ritch

    My family are from Ocilla and Mystic GA so a large portion of my child hood memories included this wonderful place! Sad to see it closed and run down! Maybe one day in our lifetime we will see it reopened! I would love to take my kids or future grandchildren to a place that filled my childhood with great memories!

    -James C. Ritch

  26. Melanie Griffin

    Me and my family went every summer to celebrate my children’s birthday. Grilled hamburgers and hot dogs had the best time! Such great memories. Saddens me to see these photos but at the same time brings back happy thoughts.

  27. Brenda Coleman Roberson

    I loved this place. As teenager I lived within 1 mile and still do. Most summer weekends were spent there, walking thru trails, laying on the docks and having fun with friends. Mr. A. N. Adcock was a fine fellow and wanted everyone to have a great time. The best part was the weekends we had concerts and everyone stayed in campers and tents. Charlie Daniels came one weekend and people came in from everywhere.

  28. Damon Hogan

    I grew up at that park. My grandfather Mr.Clifford Hogan was a pastor at ARP Baptist Church. We lived in Nashville GA.an spent most summer weekends there. What a loss of such a beautiful place to spend time with family an friends.

  29. Enjoyed coming here as a kid. It was like our summer family tradition. We’d loaded up my uncle’s truck and head out. So sad to see such a fun place closed.

  30. Woodnell Respert

    I remember Crystal lake. My family and I would go here every labor day weekend. Growing up I thought this was the only beach in the world. I so remember slippery dip. I loved this park this is as close to a summer vacation my family ever went on.

  31. Jessica Butler

    When will crystal beach be back opened it was a nice place 2 go with family?

  32. I loved this place we had so much fun there miss it

  33. Craig

    Interesting story, I grew up in Ware Co. And never made to Crystal Beach.

  34. david

    Sad just sad

  35. Ruth Harvaey

    Enjoyed reading this. Would like a copy to share with family. We spent a lot of week ends here. Sharing good times with friends and family.

    • david

      What a shame my family and children really enjoyed this place and we have lost so many and then we wonder why the children get on trouble nowadays maybe we need small town America back in our lives and less Wal-Marts and sixflags and sure not SeaWorld

  36. Kim

    Oh my! Some of my fondest memories were here! Fourth of July, church youth group trips, endless summer days! I hate to see it as it is now. So sad. I remember going into the pavilion and getting cokes and snacks and hearing the juke box playing! The fish nibbling my legs when we swam. Swimming out to the floating docks. Walking as far around the lake as we could…… On and on and on. Great times!
    I live not too far from there and pass by the entrance road sometimes. Then I smile and tell my kids (now I’m telling my grands) a tale about it! Glad I found this.

  37. Lisa Merritt

    I was raised going there. All the concerts an good time there. It’s bad when all the desent places to do family outing an fun stuff disappear. Just like Holiday Beach in douglas ga was here then gone. Now it’s a home subdivision. Nothing left to do an people wonder why children are the way they are today.

  38. Lisa merritt

    I would like the name of the Pearson or Pearson’s that own it now. Would live to c if they would reconcile of selling this property to rebuild the lake an reopen it

  39. Amanda Lancaster

    Many fun times for my friends and I as children and teenages have been spent here. Awesome memories!!!!

  40. Charlene

    I remember taking my boys to Crystal Lake in the late ’80’s * ’90’s. We took the from our church too. Am sorry to see how it looks now. WOW it brings back a lot of GOOD MEMORIES. Charle

  41. Deborah Witchett

    We loved that place growing up, there was so many memories of our family time…

  42. JIMMY

    Breaks my heart,,,,,,crystal lake, lake b,holiday beach,jay bird,lake destiny,and red bluff. Those were indeed the “best of times’! Happy and proud to be a teen in the 80’s.

  43. When, A. N. Adcock bought. There were 3 other co owners: Leonard Morris, Joseph A. Carson Sr., and a Mr Pennington. Mr. Carson was my Uncle Joe, and so I spent a lot of time there throughout my adolescent and teen years. Enjoyed the article,

    • Vivian Pennington

      Bobby Pennington was not an owner. He worked as manager for many, many years. He passed away in March 2015. I was his wife. He loved the place.

      • Hudson

        I had Coach Pennington when I was in the 7th or 8th grade 1971 . He taught Ga. History and could draw a cartoon pic in a minuet . Sorry to hear of his passing .

  44. JOE B IRELAND

    WE HAD OUR F F A SUPPER IN 1946 A LOT OF GOATS WERE THERE THEN DID NOT GO BACK TO THE 60
    JOE B IRELAND ASHBURN GA,

  45. Robert Adcock tried transplanting Palm Trees from Florida with little success. I know that he really tried to develop Crystal Lake into an enjoyable retreat and it was still a beautiful place when my Mother & I took my teenage daughter and friends there in the early 1990’s. Robert & his wife were friends of my parents and were aging and in deteriorating health shortly after my last visit to Crystal Lake ( in the 1990’s).

  46. Ted Mills

    This is so sad that I want to cry. I have many fond memories of taking my family here. We used to show up on Friday just before they closed and you didn’t have to pay to get in for that day. We would set up a tent in the camp ground (Camp ground was latter closed) and that evening a man would come around and take our money for Saturday. They only charged for the entrance fee and did not charge anything for the camping. Shortly before they closed I went down one of the small slides backwards and the slide was dry and burnt a place on my back about as big as a silver dollar. It got badly infected from the water and took forever to heal. I always suspected that they latter found out that the water was contaminated and quietly closed the place down.

  47. Mike

    I guess it’s a sign of the times. I had a good time there. Friends and I went every other weekend to swim and play in the early 70’s. It’s such a shame that such a fun place can’t be enjoyed by the new generation. We’d drive from Albany to and stop at a Dairy Queen on the way and have a chili dog,fries and coke then on to Crystal Lake and stay til dusk and drive back to Albany tired and exhausted . Oh for those younger years!

  48. Daphne brewer kegebein

    I remember going there a few times I enjoyed very it very much.

  49. Jerry

    I don’t know what inspired me to google Crystal Beach today and I’m sorry I did. I can’t believe what’s happened to the place! While stationed at Moody AFB my buddies, wives and children would visit often and even stayed over night in tents several times, we had the best memories and to see it gone and dried up is heart breaking. *sigh* Change sucks.

  50. KEVIN

    remember going there and on the way in the backseat of car listening to BJ Thomas “Everything is beautiful” on the way. Some of the best times. It is a shame it closed.

  51. I worked there and played there!!! We need a beach like this again!

  52. Lynda Goff Howard

    I went to Crystal Lake in the 1960s as a teenager several times with our Church group and as a July 4th celebrater with cousins!!! I think you could call it “The First Water Park” in South Georgia!!! Loved going here and wish it was still open!!! I would have liked to have taken My Daughters and Grandchildren here to show them where we went to have fun!!! So Sad when it closed!!! Oh well, I still have the memories to tell them about it!!! Thanks for posting this and taking Me down memory lane once again!!!

  53. Tonya

    Miss that place! Miss jay bird springs too.

  54. Marty Gray

    What a shame we have such great memories from that place .should have been kept up.after all it was a landmark.

  55. SO many wonderful, priceless memories were made at Crystal Lake. The free CDB concert in the late 70’s, the water slides, camping overnight, taking my children there. It seemed like it took forever to get there from Thomasville, even longer from Hahira. Always so excited to get there, exhausted when we left, but always worth it. So sad to see it so deserted and abandoned. Would love to see it reopened, but like so many before me have said, the days of it being like it used to be are long gone. To whoever owns it, thanks for the memories and being such a wonderful part of our lives.

  56. Katrina Grantham

    I spent many summer days at Crystal Lake/Beach As a child and teenager. I was fortunate to be able to take my son before it closed. I wish I could take my grandson now. We no longer have places like this that the whole family can go and just have a simple family day out. I also went to Holiday Beach and Lake B when I was young my son and grandson missed out on some good wholesome fun because it is just not available anymore. If you can’t afford a pool in your own yard they have no where to swim or meet up with friends for a fun summer day.

  57. Jeremiah

    On my first visit here, I almost drowned going to my sixth grade year (circa 1991). I never returned.

  58. George Clements

    Please…please..bring it back..it would be even bigger now..and 3 times more popular.3 times more money 💵

    • Jerry

      I spent some great times here from the mid 70s to the late 80s! Many of my best memories were made here over weekend trips from Moultrie and camping in the Spring. The pictures posted above are painful to look at. I remember the “Slippery Dip” vividly, as well as some of the later slides like the “Aqua Twister” (#3 I think?). I was down that way this past week and the Alapaha River was really high. I wonder…?

  59. Donna Jo

    It’s ashamed that the lake couldn’t have been perservedl

  60. Dottie Taylor

    I loved this place so much as a child. We spent a lot of time there. So awesome! Was it on Pinetta Road?

  61. Spent a lot of time here w/ my bestfriend and her family as a teenager. Loved it! I don’t know if there was any truth to it, but I remember in the 90s it was rumored that the Pennington family out of Perry owned the park, at least partially. I can’t remember the dad’s name, but he was a principal or vice principal of one of the schools in Perry and his daughter, Sloan, graduated high school with me.

    • Toto2020

      Coach Pennington who did live in perry was not an owner , however he was a fixture on weekends, especially 4th of July throughout the 1970s
      Coach had a beautiful ” radio ” voice and was the person that you heard
      Over the PA system making announcements .remember the rules !
      # 1 don’t attempt to swim the lake it is much further than you think.

    • Ken H

      Coach Pennington from Perry was employed by Mr Adcock and Mr Morris the owners. Mr Pennington was not an owner.

    • Vivian Pennington

      Bobby Pennington worked as manager at Crystal Lake.He had no ownership. He was principal at Perry Middle School in Perry. He passed away in March 2015. He loved working there. I was his wife.

  62. Pingback: Crystal Lake - WWALS Watershed Coalition

  63. Amy Cox

    Someone mentioned a hanging here..here’s the story

    The Bone Pond or Crystal Lake.

    On lots of land number forty-seven and forty-eight in third district of Irwin
    County, owned by Dr. W. L. Story of Ashburn, Georgia, is located one of the most
    beautiful bodies of water in all of this South Georgia country. It covers about
    one hundred acres of land, is away from any stream of water; no water course
    empties into it except one small spring which does not afford sufficient water
    to maintain this lake, which is evidence that it is supported by hidden
    underground streams. This lake is seventy-five feet deep, in the deepest place
    and has a beautiful sandy bottom and except at two places is shallow from the
    edge gradually becoming deeper for from thirty to fifty yards before it becomes
    deep as a man’s head. It is surrounded by a beautiful sandy beach and back of
    this is a perfectly dry hammock covered with oaks with beautiful foliage and
    attached to these trees are long streamers of gray moss. The water is crystal
    clear and has been analyzed to be pure. It abounds with all kinds of fresh-water
    fish which can be viewed from the banks or the pavilion, coming to the surface
    to gather bread when thrown into the water for them. It is one of the most
    beautiful and most healthful resorts for bathing, boating, picnics, etc. The
    name of this place is Crystal Lake. Its name in the early days was the Bone
    Pond, named after a man by the name of Bone who once owned it. Bone came to
    Irwin County about 1858, and the next year he moved to Crystal Lake and cleared
    a small farm. A man by the name of John Mathews cultivated this land for Bone.

    During the Civil War two escaped Federal Yankee prisoners took refuge at
    Bone’s home and he protected them. They remained hidden in the hammock on
    southwest side of the pond and cleared about twelve or fifteen acres of hammock
    land for Bone. During the time they were at Bone’s place they went to the farm
    of Hon. MaNassa Henderson, Sr., about twelve miles away and stole two of
    Henderson’s horses. Everybody thought Bone instigated this theft as Henderson
    was a Secessionist and Bone a Union man. Daniel Henderson and others secured the
    trail of the thieves following them into what is now Coffee County and come so
    near overtaking them until the Yankee thieves fled leaving the horses which were
    captured and returned to the owner. One of the thieves stopped some distance
    farther on and committed another theft and was killed by his pursuers.

    Bone was relieved from going to the war because he was a miller. He, having a
    steam corn mill on the bank of Crystal Lake. At the time Bone built this mill at
    the lake it was much smaller in size than at the present time. Where his mill
    was located at that time on dry land the water is five feet deep at present
    time. It is said that after Bone’s death in 1865, the lake rose up to the eaves
    of the mill house, then in a few years it remained low for a number of years,
    but in 1928 and 1929 it gradually began to rise until at present time, 1930, it
    is as full as any of the old citizens have ever seen it, but is now on a
    standstill.

    Bone proved to be a criminal of the vilest kind. In the spring of 1865,
    Toney, a negro slave belonging to Mr. Sam Young, ran away from home and went to
    Bone and he concealed him in the same hammock he concealed the Yankee horse
    thieves, and put him to work cutting growth off his newly cleared land.

    Mr. Jack Walker was Justice of Peace and the neighbor of Bone, living about
    three miles west of the Alapaha River from Bone’s place. Walker owned a large
    stock of hogs, many of which ranged near Bone’s plantation in the swamp. He left
    home on Monday morning about April 20, 1865, carrying a wallet of corn, as was
    customary in that day, also his rifle gun, looking for his hogs to feed them and
    incidently to kill a deer for provision. In looking for hogs he went by Bone’s
    hammock field and found the negro, Toney, there. Walker was a strong man so he
    decided to capture the negro. In doing this he got into a scramble with the
    negro but from the sign left on the ground Walker had the negro down and was
    preparing to tie him when he was shot from ambush.

    Night came and Walker did not return home. The neighbors were notified and
    went in search of him but failed to find any trace. The news was spread of
    Walker’s disappearance and the people turned out en masse to search for him.
    Wednesday came and still no trace of Walker could be secured.

    Wednesday was mill day at Bone’s mill. Dink Walker, a son of Jack Walker, and
    James H. Fletcher went to the mill. Bone spoke to them and told Dink Walker he
    had heard his father was missing and also said, I’ve heard that they say I
    killed him. Bone also talked very rough to Walker. A short while after this,
    Bone was taken into custody. He refused to tell his captors anything. Bone had
    two children, Mary and Tayler. Tayler was a boy about fourteen or fifteen years
    old. He was taken away from his father and was told by his captors that they
    believed he knew where Walker was and that the whole crowd would be hung unless
    he told all he knew about it. Tayler replied, “If you’ll not hang me, I will
    tell you how it all happened.” He was assured that if he would tell the truth
    and tell all about it that he would not be hurt. This is about what Tayler said.
    “Daddy carried the negro’s dinner and called me to bring his gun which I did.
    The negro and Walker were in a scuffle and Daddy shot Walker from the gap of the
    field and hit Walker but did not kill him. Daddy went to Walker while he was
    down and hit him on the head with his gun until he thought him dead. He and the
    negro then took Walker up and carried him to an old bay north of the pond and
    buried him and his gun in the mud. I don’t know what became of the negro.”

    The people who were there searching for Walker went to the field and found
    the sign of the struggle, found blood on the fence where Bone had crossed it
    with Walker and went into the swamp and found where he was buried. Evidently he
    was buried alive as his hands had worked upward through the mud and blood had
    come to the surface. Walker’s body was taken to the pond and they attempted to
    cleanse it by washing but this could not be done, he having been dead so long
    decomposition had set in to such an extent the body could not be cleansed, the
    skin would burst and come apart. The negro Toney has never been seen or heard
    from. It was the supposition at the time that Bone killed him and put his body
    with weights attached in the deepest part of the pond.

    All the people in the country had gathered to assist in the search for
    Walker. It being about the close of the war many soldiers had just returned home
    from the army. The best people of the county were there. They organized by
    electing Rev. Jacob Young, a Primitive Baptist minister and a former judge of
    Inferior Court, as chairman or judge and organized a court of justice and
    proceeded to try Bone for the murder of Walker. After hearing the evidence he
    was promptly and properly convicted and sentenced to be hung.

    A scaffold was erected on the edge of the pond under a large oak tree with a
    large limb extending out over the newly erected scaffold.

    Ropes in those days were scarce. Mrs. Jemimah Hogan, wife of David M. Hogan,
    had spun and woven a rope to use around a bale of cotton in place of ties and
    this new rope was used to hang Bone. All things being ready for the execution,
    John and Sam Walker, sons of the murdered man, were permitted to tie the
    hangman’s knot and Sam Walker was allowed to climb the tree and place the rope
    over the limb, which he gladly did. Then Bone was made to mount the scaffold and
    told that he had fifteen minutes to make any statement he desired. These were
    his last words, “Take warning from me and don’t come to what I have.” He moved
    and the scaffold fell and launched Bone, the murderer, into eternity.

    A grave was dug in the jamb of the fence of one of Bone’s patches at the
    northwest corner of the pond and when the grave was ready, Bone’s wife sent or
    brought a sheet with the request that his body be wrapped in it, which was done
    and the body was placed in the grave.

    After Bone was hung, his wife told a Mr. Pridgen that Bone, after killing
    Walker, placed or hid Walker’s shoes and hat in a hollow log and told where the
    log was and upon investigation they were found to be there as she stated.

    The family were notified to wind up their affairs, dispose of their property,
    and move out of the county. This was done as speedily as possible and they moved
    back to Taylor County, Georgia.

    xxxxxxx

    • Brooks Baker

      Very intriguing. I have never heard this history and I am quite interested. Thanks for sharing.

    • Rick Walker

      John A. (Jack) Walker is buried on the old Walker farm about 3 miles as the crow flies from Bones Pond (Crystal Lake). This story follows the facts known and past down in the Walker family and as generally recorded in the book History Of Irwin County.

      • Michael Willis Bone

        The Civil War ended on April 9, 1865 win Lee surrendered. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863. Therefore there was no “negro slave” on April 20, 1865 as told in this story. (There are those that say the Emancipation Proclamation did not reach some parts of the South until 1964.) Willis Jackson Bone was my great great Grandfather. We share two names, a birthdate and are both anti war. You can read about his anti war activities in the archives of the Wire Grass Farmer in Ashburn.

      • Apparently, you read a different article. The first thing I did in this was to refute the notion that Mr. Bone WAS a slaveholder. Re-read it and perhaps you’ll see that.

  64. I suspect lake could be made to hold water and with an ambitious undertaking the facilities could be restored. The right investor would have to explore all the legal ramifications and an engineering economy study would have to be done to explore the financial feasibility. Anything can be done with enough vision.

  65. jonjon

    The Adcocks will never reopen the lake. Pretty sure it is being used as a hunting club and tax write off. And actually Mr Morris and Adcock owned it together and they had a falling out due to Adcocks business practices(according to Mr Morris). Mr Morris chose to cut ties with Adcock. They were business partners for many, many years, developed a lot of land around Tifton(Forest Lakes for one). Crystal Lake was spring fed,springs were clogged due to constant hauling of sand for the beach and aquifer levels didn’t help. They pumped water for 3-4 months before the season to bring the level up. The big diesel engine on the left after you passed the slippery dip was a 14″ deep well.
    They actually tried to dig a canal from the river at some point, you can see it from google earth.
    With the law suits, insurance costs, upkeep, and dwindling attendence it didn’t make financial sense to keep it open.
    Mr Alan Paulk who opened Holiday Beach did the smart thing, he closed and developed it into Baymeadows Estates. And Carl and Miss Dixie live just across the river….

  66. I miss this place so much it needs to open back up

  67. George Malagon

    My mother has videos of us swimming there and on the slides as well as a bunch of pictures back in the 90′s

  68. Daniela Pacheco

    I was watching Friday the 13th and it brought back memories of Crystal Beach, I looked it up and glad I did! These photos brought back awesome memories from my childhood, my older brother used to scare me and tell me Jason was going to pop out of the lake! Miss this place 😦

  69. Amy

    My siblings and I had such great times at the lake. We went every 4th of July. My mother would grill, and we would have lots of fun… 😦

  70. Pingback: Crystal Lake, Irwin County | Vanishing South Georgia Photographs by Brian Brown

  71. Twila

    We have a few pictures from “94-96” of our last visit to the lake. When we went back a few years later it had closed down and because we lived out of town we never knew what happen to it. It is very sad to see what use to be a fun family location turn into nothing but sand and memories. I miss it. Now that I know that it has a sink hole I don’t believe that I would want my kids out there in it if it reopened! But it was once an AWESOME place to go!

  72. April

    It was an awesome place to spend our summer time!! But as many of y’all keep posting would like to see it reopened and restored, as we all know it has a SINK HOLE in it and as a parent I’d never take my kids if it could be reopened! I would love to read some history on lake beatrous ( I think that’s spelled wrong tho) but another words the skating ring with papa Ellie

  73. David Mann

    I went to a Charlie Daniels concert there in 1977. It was a great concert and a great place to have fun. Later I took my children there about 93 or 94 I think. We enjoyed cooking out and riding the slides. It is so sad to see these photos and realize no one can enjoy what we did any longer.

  74. Rule

    Here is a link to the history on crystal lake and mr bones…. Scroll done the page till you see crystal lake….
    http://files.usgwarchives.net/ga/irwin/history/other/gms140historyo.txt

  75. John Crowe

    Thank you so much for sharing these pictures of Crystal Lake. My Grandmother and Grandfather met at Crystal Lake as teens, went on dates there, and my Grandfather even proposed to my Grandmother there. I have never been there, so I am enjoying seeing the pictures of it very much!

  76. Brad s

    Remeber watching the Beach Boys playing there when I was about 7 years old.

  77. Eric Morris TCHS 1991

    When I was flying a Cessna 152 in 12th grade, I discovered you get in free if you fly there. But you only pay for the time the engine is running when renting from the airport. So I booked the plane for four hrs. and made the 15 min flight from Tifton. And then I couldn’t land due to a 17 knot crosswind and I didn’t have enough crosswind landing training. I really needed some toilet paper on that trip…

  78. Amber

    I never went to the park when it was open, but I spent many weekends of my childhood there long after it had closed. My aunt worked for Mr. Adcock and me and my cousin enjoyed playing on the beach and in the lake before it dried up. All the slides had fallen apart and become over grown. Mr. Adcock could never reopen because of all the legal cases that were filed. And all his kids wanted was his money so he spent the last years of his life in a home suffering from dementia.. I’m surprised the land and everything has not been sold or auctioned off yet..its sad what has happened to the place and that nothing has been done with it..

    • Family Member

      This comment is inaccurate. I am A.N.’s granddaughter. He spent the last years of his life in HIS home being taken care of by his wife & family. He always requested to never be placed in a home, so his children refused to do that to him. He was a wonderful business man, & he is truly missed.

  79. David

    Remember going to crystal lake in the mid 60’s, it was a great place to visit but as so many other places we enjoyed back then have closed due to several reasons such as liability and a lot of new generations (not all) total lack of respect for people and property. Want to see something sad visit Panama City Beach during spring break. I remember having a lot of fun at the Hang Out with students from Ala., Fl, and Ga. You forgot to mention that Crystal Lake also had a landing strip in the later years.

  80. Jerome Turner

    Enjoyed article . My dad owned farm nearest to crystal lake and took me there about 1950. He told me that he had turned the sand around lake with mule and turning plow. The water was up on back steps of bldg. then. I was told of a hanging and believe I saw a picture, probably when Bone owned it. Perhaps someone knows more details.

  81. Laura Black Eldridge

    Crystal Lake was a HUGE part of my teenage yrs!! I have so many awesome memories there!!! As I scrolled through all the pictures, they brought back sooooo many wonderful memories!! I absolutely LOVED that place!!! When I see pics of it, I picture myself there!!!! Thank you so much for sharing these & all the interesting facts!!!! 🙂

  82. Alicia

    So sad to see this once great place to go like this. I LOVED going there as a kid and would love for it be able to be re-opened. We need a place like this today. Isn’t there any way to be able to restore it? Someone has to know a way.

  83. bo harrell

    Speaking of vanishing south ga. Anybody remember jay bird spring. Now I’ve got lots of memories there growing up. Every summer we were there living it up

  84. bo harrell

    I went when I was younger to young to remember but my mama has told me any stories about the place. I wish they would open it back up it would give us something to do instead of get in trouble and be on The streets. I would love to take my kids to a place I went to when I was a kid

  85. Suzanne Pate Smith

    Living in Irwinville as a child, Crystal Lake was an easy way to give directions to anywhere in Irwinvile. People from all over knew how to get to Crystal Lake. I remember summer family picnics and sitting in the water really still and watching the fish swim up to me! Sadly, not a summer past that someone didn’t drown out there. It was always tragic to hear.

  86. George Watson

    Is there any chance the aquifer will ever replenish the lake! I’m so sad! I spent so many weekends at crystal lake in the late 70’s through the 80’s until I moved away! I’m back in south Ga and would love to know if there’s any possibility this gorgeous lake at one time could just disappear and turn to sand!
    Please reply if possible! Would live to see it full of water again from the springs if they have to limit farmers irrigation wells so be it they don’t need as deep of wells as their building and causing normal shallow wells to go bad in some areas homes!
    Thanks

  87. Jeff adams

    Can anyone remember Monroe high school senior skip day of 86′ almost all of school skipped and ended up there!!!

    • Steven Worsham

      No but I remember the 87′ Monroe high school senior skip day there. And the same was true then, the whole school was there. And I remember Ms. Bettye Williams telling all her students that she was going to be there taking names and those that went would get “in trouble”. I told her to give me some paper and a pen and I would write all the names down to save her a trip b/c we were going no matter what.

      • Carol Burnham

        I remember all the skip days in High School. I was there in 87, 88, 89 & 90. Monroe High School was awesome. To many good memories. Would love to see this place open back up.

  88. David E Stone

    This was THE place to go for my girls in the 1990’s. Even remember going as the grand finale of VBS. Also remember getting a speeding ticket in Omega once when returning. Doesn’t ANYBODY have any pictures showing the water and people in it that they could supply for our enjoyment? That would be great!

  89. Magoo

    I went there in the late 50’s and stayed in a cabin. No toilets but outhouses. We wondered the woods and found other sink holes around the main lake. I went there in the 60’s and 70’s growing up and returned with my children in the 80’s. I don’t believe the talk that water was pumped in to keep the lake full. It was full in the 50’s. Irrigation from the aquifer is most likely the cause of the downfall of the lakes water but the civil suites due to drowning’s is what closed the lake.

    • Greg Hobbs

      I’m 53 and I’ve lived nearby all of my life. I remember years ago, before there were any irrigation wells around, hearing that diesel engine screaming all night long over there, pretty much every night during the summer, pumping water from the big well trying to keep it full.

  90. I was there for the Charlie Daniels Band concert in 1978. My friends from Turner County had already spread out a picnic lunch and had a grill going. Everyone always had a great time every time we went.

  91. john jones

    This was a real nice place in the late 80s and early 90s until people started to abuse its use. Many uncouth people deficated in the water and made it a nasty place to swim. I am glad to see it gone from that standpoint.

  92. Jes Simmons

    What is everyone’s thoughts on a “save crystal beach” project to revive the lake as a weekend family destination?! Please let me know how much interest there is via email simmons_jes@yahoo.com

    • George Adams III

      Jes Simmons I know I would absolutely love to revive this park!!! I went several times as a young child and had a blast!!! It would be awesome to be able to take my son there if it was to be restored!!! I believe it would do good because it is sooo simple yet filled with excitement! You could probably charge a lot less than places like wild adventures and keep it packed! I would rather goto Crystal Beach any day of the week!!! “SAVE CRYSTAL BEACH”

      • Angela cantrell

        Invite folks far and wide for a community picnic day. Ask for ideas, brainstorm and who knows maybe some investors would show up.

    • Alicia

      Would love to see this wonderful place restored.

      • Kimberly West

        Would live to see this place back up and running. Spent many a days out there,my sister worked there and Mr.A dock was a very good friend of my mom,yes we never had to pay to get in,so we stayed out there. So sad that it is gone..

  93. Ron

    As a boy this lake fascinated me. You could see the bottom. Huge fish (at least to a little boy) could be seen swimming by the swimming platforms positioned fifteen or so feet from the shore. I would lie on the wood platform and watch the fish swim under me. The tall water slide was fast and fun as well. It was a great place to have a relaxing day. I think modern games and smart phones have ruined the outdoor spirit we used to have.

  94. Greg Williams

    Fly over of Crystal Lake.

  95. Nadija P

    truly many of my fondest teenage memories were created at this lake. Thanks so much for the article and the clear passion behind it.

  96. R.Reagan

    Although it brings back wonderful memories, it is so disheartening to see how it looks today. I’d give anything to see it restored to when it was known as Crystal Beach and we had so many amazing weekends there as teens and young adults in the late 80’s and early 90’s.. Sadly, that will never happen. Great article. Very informative.

  97. Brook Mercier

    I spent many a day there with my family in the 80’s and 90’s, and then went on to work there as a lifeguard 1996 and 1997 with my brother, Brad. I have some great memories and made some great friends. My dad has a few great stories of scuba diving in the sinkhole when he was young. The last labor day I worked, there were 25 lifeguards and close to 5000 people. There were always folks from Coffee, Tift, Berrien, Irwin, Lowndes, Turner, and other places. I bet insurance got too high and lawsuits from drownings did the place in. But, I can’t think of a more beautiful place to have spent so many hours of my life. Snakes and at least 1 gator along with some good smells of food on the grill. Has anyone kept up with Carl and Dixie, the folks that managed the place toward the end?

  98. I remember going there in the 70’s as a child with my Mom and Aunt! They would take us and we would grill on those little grills! The only slide that was there then was the on in the lake. I remember going do the slide and when I stood up I had something between my toes and when I reached down to see, it was a 20 dollar bill. Luck!!!! Great times had there by many!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!

  99. K

    I hunted and fished here as a kid (early 2000s) before it was leased. It was an outdoorsmen’s Mecca – lake, river, and lots of woods. Not to mention a pretty cool place to explore.

  100. barbara rosales

    i only got to enjoy going there a few times as a kid. wish there was some way to reopen it. with proper surveillance and such it could be great again. and it would also be a great place to visit if wild adventures is too far away. get some concerts included too. maybe season passes or just day passes only.
    i like looking at the pictures but they make me sad. i remember how great it was and looked forward visiting it.
    thank you for doing this article.

  101. Martha Schramm

    This place was so much fun. Swimming, being with family all day no worry about getting in a hurry. You got there early and left late. You always saw someone you knew. I can say again, this was the best place to be with your family and have good clean fun.

  102. Krista Spires

    Spent many a weekend there as a teenager/young adult. It was just far enough away from home to make an adventure out of it and yet close enough our parents would let us go with a group of our friends. I wish it were still open so that my son would know what I was talking about when I go back to the “good old days”

  103. Melanie Singletary Ellison

    I use to go there when I was young. I have many great memories.

  104. Joni

    Wow, that was a blast from the past! Spent many Summers at Crystal Lake. Very fond memories!

  105. Debra Adams

    Back in the 80’s I worked for WGIG/WCUP radio stations. We used to do remote broadcasts from Crystal Lake on holiday occasions and always had a blast. I have so many fond memories going there every weekend! It was a great place to bring the faily or just soak up the sun with friends! Ahhhh…the good old days…when life was simple!

  106. Barbara mccook

    Really enjoyed going there every summer family.was a great family place to enjoy.wish it was back.my daughter has never had opportunity to go.she’s 22. my son got to go he’s 26.was a really great place mr.brown harper

  107. Mike Nixon

    My parents took us here all of the time in the 80’s and early 90’s. Great memories. We visited from Colquitt County, and proudly displayed the bumper sticker.

  108. Jeremy Hennig

    Thanks for the memories. We used to field trip there with the YMCA (from Waycross,Ga). Man that was a lifetime ago….

    • James West

      Thanks so much for sharing this history and these pictures. Our family enjoyed Crystal Lake for many outings in the 70’s and 80’s until 1986 when we moved to Florida. Wonderful memories from there. Our last tent camping came at Crystal Lake. We were set up and it came a terrible thunder/rain storm and the tent caved in and we got into the vehicle with our two daughters, a nephew, and niece leaving all of our camping equipment and drove home to Albany, Georgia. Went back to Crystal Lake the next day to collect all of our camping gear. Two weeks later we purchased our first camper.

  109. pmla

    Crystal Lake was my favorite place to go in the 70’s-80’s. I went there before the slides came. Our church used to take the Sunday School classes out there during the week. A fish bit a tiny mole I had on my stomach the year I turned 13, while our group was there. Every one laughed about my fish ATTACK. He just nibbled it, but it scared me to death when I first felt it. It bled a little and had an indention after it healed. I still tell that story to my Grandchildren. They think it’s hilarious. So sad it looks like this now. Even if they opened it back up-we’d have all the druggies and gangs out there ruining it. I wouldn’t want to spoil all the good memories I have growing up out there. When Adcock first got it he did a lot of updating-and it became even more popular-then more expensive-but I would work during the summer on my brother-in-laws farm so I could go there on weekends-usually Saturdays. It’s some of my best memories from my teen years. It would never be the family oriented place it was-again.

  110. Derek G

    Sorry to see it like this. It was a great place to go back in the day.

  111. Jennifer McCarthy

    I so remember this place, it was a great place to go to get away, have fun with family and friends. So many memories from the 80’s here at what we called Crystal Lake at the time. Growing up during the summer we would pile up in trucks and spend the day here rather than go to the beach. I still have pics of me and family here we were just young teens. Thankyou for the pics and bringing back such loving, great memories!!

  112. Karen

    Our youth group and my family went there several times. It is sad that it dried up and closed. A lot of good memories except for the nibbling fish.

  113. We took our kids and grandkids there when they were growing up. My oldest grandson was on a commerical on tv.

  114. Yeah! I was 2 weeks late for delivery and my mom decides to get in her bathing suit and go to Crystal Lake July 23, 1978 with the family – dad’s family. I decided to come and was born swiftly at 12:57pm that day after my Aunt Renee found my dad and they took that corner out of there on the main drag in at 80 miles per hour. They announced my birth over the loud speaker so that my sister, grandparents and uncles would know I had arrived. I came right out at Tift General Hospital before my dad could park the car and come inside. I had arrived when he came into the hospital. My sister, who was 6 yrs old, was very unhappy about my arrival. She asked my mom “Can we take her back?” after we all arrived home together. My mom calls me EVERY year at 12:57pm to wish me a happy birthday. I grew up at this Lake! Jessica Lyn Edenfield, daughter of James Paul Edenfield,Jr and Debra Edenfield, grandaughter of the late Paul and Georgia Jennette Edenfield ~ sister to Jennifer Lynn Edenfield (who loves me now, of course!)

  115. Diana Steed Hair

    Brian, loved the pics and the history. My mom, who was a child in the 1920s, told me there was another sinkhole lake near Crystal Lake that would completely and rapidly drain out every few years and then fill back up. She always told of a time when her dad, Judge AJ McDonald of Fitzgerald, took his family out in a boat on that lake and somehow lost his glasses in the lake. Several years later, the pond drained out, and he went back and retrieved them!

    The Adcock family should send these pictures to the producers of “The Walking Dead”, filmed in Senoia. Would make an excellent location for an episode!

  116. Gene Vickers

    In 1957-58 my Dad owned a little garage in Irwinville, sat by the Red store in front of the cotton gin. Crystal Lake was closed at the time. The owner gave Dad a key and we would go out there to picknik and swim. That is where I learned to swim. The old diving platform was still in from of the old building then. We were always the only ones there and had a blast. The crystal white beach has always defined definition of where it came from. My mom and had gone there as dating teens and told us about all the old entertainment available. Lots of very good memories tied up there.

  117. Glenda

    This brings back so many wonderful memories. My children were practically raised there. Its sad to see it like it is today. Wouldn’t it be awesome to see it filled & running again? Thanks for the pictures.

  118. Bo Slack

    The photos brought back a lot of old memories. I was sadden to learn of its closure.

  119. Amelia Auger

    Lots of great memories with my family and friends here!

  120. Gail Littleton

    I loved that place….it was so nice to end up like this

  121. I saw Charlie Daniels and his band there in 1978. The Outlaws motorcycle gang was there too. We all had a great time at that Sunday afternoon concert.

  122. Darlene

    Thanks for the pictures, Brian! I have a lot of great memories from this place!

  123. Teresa Russell

    We went there all the time when I was a kid. We spent every July 4th there and I really hated when it closed. I went on my first date with my husband there 31 years ago.

  124. peachstatewomen

    I wish someone would bring this place back. SO MANY childhood memories there! Barbecues, fireworks on the 4th of July, just good, clean, family fun. Those were the good old days when the worst thing you had to worry about was someone drinking a few too many beers…. I miss it so much!

  125. Some of my best childhood memories every summer church fieldtrip there.

  126. James

    The lake was basically just another sinkhole like the several others you could find in the woods surrounding the Lake. It was turned into what appeared to be a huge lake because water was pumped from the springs into it. Once the pump was turned off the Lake went back to a sinkhole over time. Thanks to the droughts it’s all dried up now. It’s a sad sight to see. That place was a huge part of my childhood.
    As for why it’s not around anymore. I would assume the raising cost of insurance and changing of the times. I’m sure it became a huge liability to keep running it with people suing over drownings every year.
    Sadly it’s not the parents fault for allowing their child that can’t swim to run around a water park unsupervised. At least by the time the 90′s hit and people started going lawsuit crazy for every little thing. It would appear what was a fun and affordable family location for those summer weekends was becoming less and less affordable each year and more and more of a headache to operate.

    • Magoo

      You nailed it James!

    • VIIVAN WISHAM

      JAMES EVERYTHING YOU HAVE SAID IS SO TRUE. THINGS ARE NOT THE SAME NOW. WISH IT WOULD OPEN AGAIN. BUT IT WOULD NEVER NE THE SAME. TIME AS CHANGED AND SO HAVE PEOPLE. JUST LIKE THE OLD DRIVE IN MOVIE SHOW. THINGS ARE TOO BAD TO REDO ALL THIS GOOD OLD MEMORIES.

    • Two black kids from Atlanta drowned in that lake .

    • one thing not mentioned too much about this place and others, the water back in the day was cleaner than now, even if it was pumped from another area; these places once the underground pumped out to surface, closer to surface, became contaminated by ground bacteria just underground; that led to many places quietly closing, so as no one would connect anybody getting sick; the owners/managers stayed quiet and never said, for fear of litigation; they used the accident and cost factor to shut them down, the real issue was though, dirty water on to contaminated water pumped in. Imagine having a health scare happen to a place like this back in the day if it was found out the water was full of amoebas, talk about a panic attack, I’d shut the place down using whatever excuse to do that.

  127. Tom Robinson

    Always, great photos and history lesson found in your blog, Brian. It’s a shame that the Lake never returned, but I’m sure it’s popularity as a fun spot had long-since peaked by the time ’98 rolled around. Keep up the good work, and good-sharing 🙂

  128. peggy

    so very sad to see this…. ohh how I would love it for them to bring it back. I would just love to take my grandbabies out there to enjoy some of what I did back in the day….. Just miss it sooooo much… thanks for the update and and pictures as sad as it is to see it now the pictures were very good to see….

  129. Jo Ann Gorday

    Thank you for posting these pictures. Makes me sad to see it like this and wish it could return to the beautiful place that it was. Spent many happy hours there in the 60’s and 70’s.

  130. Its tough to see a place that holds such dear memories for so many in this condition. Would so love to see it open again!

    • Kimberly West

      It is sad isn’t it, oh how I loved going there. Would be wonderful to see it up and running again..

  131. Pam

    I remember stories my mama told about her and my dad swimming across the lake in the 60s. Always wondered what happened to the place. Went there Many times in the 80s! Speaking of forgotten South Georgia landmarks, whatever happened to “Holiday Beach” over around Douglas I believe? Spent many summers there too! Some great concerts there as well.

    • Melissa Moore

      Holiday Beach is now just a lake which is only accesible if you own a house or land around it.. It was also such a great place. I worked there for two summers. We sure miss it and Crystal Lake.

  132. We lived in Jacksonville Ga. back then. It was a real treat for us to get to go over there. I remember everyone riding around with the radio blasting. Kids enjoying the water. And the smell of the grills was great.
    It is never too late. A place like that surely could make a come back. With the right people backing it.

  133. Peg Bachelor

    This is a pitiful site to see. Really hurts to see this awful pictures of a place that gave us so many great memories.

  134. Teresa

    Thank you for posting this Brian. I was just telling someone about the place I worked the summer before my senior year in high school. I think this would now be the perfect setting for B rated horror movie!

  135. Jacob Love

    my grandma use to take me there when I was a kid

  136. MARY DENNEY

    I remember going to Crystal Lake probably around 1950.when I was about 10years old.

  137. Camped out there so many time and had lots of great times there my boys grew up there most every weekend sad to see it look so bad 😦

  138. my family use to spend the summers there grilling and swimming. It broke my heart when it closed.

  139. What a wonderful pictorial chronicle of days gone by.

  140. faye hogan

    spent many days at crystal lake with family and friends.
    faye Hogan.

  141. Linda

    So sad to see this beautiful place in such a pitiful condition. I visited mostly in the 70’s & 80’s. We moved away around 1983 and didn’t go back. My sister lives on Hwy 107/ Rebecca-Waterloo Rd. Would love to see this place sometime….maybe my brother-in-law knows someone…. LOVE YOUR PICTURES!

  142. Ernie Fordham

    How sad to see the condition the lake is in now. Our family had a lot of good times at Crystal Lake/Beach in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

  143. Gary

    Last went there in the early 90′s with our church. Had a great time.

  144. Denise Nelson

    Wonderful photos, Brian. I have so many fun memories of working summers out there back in late 80′s and early 90′s!! Thanks for sharing!

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