Springville Lake Estates

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Springville Lake Estates is a former private lakeside resort subdivision developed above Big Canoe Creek, northwest of Springville in western St Clair County.

The property was one of two developed by Resort Properties Corp., a company incorporated in 1954 by Ken Gorman and Edward Wrenn. It was established in 1957 and marketed to Black families. A second subdivision, Pinedale Shores was marketed to white families.

Springville Lake Estates was subdivided into around 400 lots, averaging 50 feet wide and 150 feet deep (0.17 acres). Once a certain number of lots were sold, management of the development was turned over to a property owners' association, incorporated as Springville Lake Estates, Inc. by Wayman Matherson, Parnell Jones and Joseph Sanford, with legal assistance from Arthur Shores.

The heart of the development was a 20-acre lake created by impounding an unnamed tributary of Big Canoe Creek behind a new dam. The lake was stocked with bass and enhanced with two sand beaches. The lots with lake frontage were some of the first to sell. Most of the development's homes were small weekend cabins, often self-built, and including at least one converted bus, dubbed the "Windham House on Wheels". Other colorful cabin names included "Candy Cane Cottage, the "Top Ten Sportsman Club", the "Massage Parlor", "J & M Hide-A-Way", and "Selvenkay Isle". The association built a clubhouse for larger gatherings.

Many of the houses at Springville Lake Estates were badly damaged by a tornado which touched down during a major outbreak on April 4, 1977. A flood event in 1979 caused the dam to fail, leaving the development without its central feature. By then, racial integration had opened up other recreation opportunities for Black families and few owners rebuilt. Without their contributions, the association lacked the means to restore the lake, and eventually to even maintain the clubhouse.

A group of long-time property holders eventually re-organized and re-built the clubhouse in 2019. Efforts to rebuild the dam are in the early planning stages.

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