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Fourth bridge built over Elk Creek, taken down in 2014.

The Bridge


The first bridge in Independence was a narrow wooden bridge. The second bridge was erected over Elk Creek in 1877 near the current site of the steel bridge. The same year as when the dam was built. The dam impounded the water and created a small pond which later became Bugle Lake. The lake was originally
90 acres total and had a depth of 10 to 15 feet.

In 2014, the long standing steel bridge was taken down, and replaced with a modern, concrete bridge.

Bugle Lake

Bugle lake has been a large part of the community. Not only for recreation purposes but it also aided in the daily living of the slowly developing community. In the early 1900's Frank Wnuk began an ice business and guess where it was located? It was located on the east shore of Bugle Lake. The site is now occupied by the clinic. The ice house was a roofless building, and not much to look at, but certainly had an important purpose for the community. During the winter months the icehouse accommodated many thousand tons of ice. The ice would be distributed from the lake to all over the town of Indee. In later years a few more icehouses were added and ice would be distributed to Arcadia as well as Whitehall. The ice houses were in use for over 30 years until mechanical refrigeration came to the towns.

Approximately twenty years later in the 1950's the lake was dredged and the Island Park was created using the sediment. It had a playground added as well as a shelter to be used by the public. This was fine as it acts as an animal sanctuary giving a home to many different types of birds and other animals in the area. In the 1970's the lake was to the point of dredging. The lake was filling in quickly and the once healthy lake and great recreation spot was quickly losing its depth. A dredging project was started and through much trial the lake was again taken back to a healthier state. The dredging process took time and the project was finally completed in the early 1980's. The lake has always been used for such things as swimming, fishing and water skiing. As the lake aged more and more sediment was carried and deposited into the lake.

In the Winter of 2014, after many years of hope for a Lake Project to transform Bugle Lake, construction is currently underway!