Lake Lomond donated to Longview nonprofit, will see changes

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 4:12 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - It’s been in Longview since the area was annexed in 1960, but Lake Lomond is over 100 years old. And the little known lake will soon be open to the public.

Lake Lomond is just off highway 80 at the intersection of Gilmer Road, but you can only see it driving down Lake Lamond road. According to former lake owner Gene McWhorter it was built in 1908 long before it was in the city limits of Longview.

“They were looking at my great-grandfather’s farm and thinking about lakes and they saw a good spot to build a dam; an exceptionally good spot, and decided to do it,” McWhorter said.

“They” were cattleman Robert Echols, his son Hugh and businessman Frank Rembert. They were inspired by a Scottish Loch called Loch Lomond and built Lake Lomond. Later they built a bath house and:

“A banquet hall; a dance floor, a restaurant; sort of a nightclub, and next to it or underneath was facilities for changing into bathing suits,” McWhorter said.

That is all long gone and undeveloped land surrounds the lake. But Gene wanted to see the lake used again and struck a deal with Hudson Johnson who bought the land around the lake. Hudson began a non-profit called Friends of Lake Lomond and McWhorter donated the lake itself.

“We’re going to try and redevelop over the coming years some of the commercial property, but in the meantime, we’re also wanting to turn the lake into a park,” Johnson said.

Hudson says the first step will be creating a trail around the lake.

“Eventually it’ll run down Harris Creek and run down to Grace Creek where the Boorman Trail ends so we’re hoping to be little loop onto the city trail,” Johnson said.

They have been talking with the City of Longview about it, but all the funding will come from Friends of Lake Lomond. Gene and Hudson just want to see the lake turned into something that people can enjoy.

“The more the merrier when it comes to good green space and good parks,” Johnson said.

So signs like “No Trespassing” will eventually be more of the history of Lake Lomond.

Hudson Johnson says Friends of Lake Lomond hope to have the trail around the lake complete in about a year. There are also plans of non-motorized boat rentals for use in the lake.

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