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Naming of Concordia Lake

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Joined: 17 Mar 2009
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Location: Liverpool, NY

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:09 pm    Post subject: Naming of Concordia Lake Reply with quote

(Originally posted December 20, 2008)

People may wonder why the lake (water reservoir) south of Concordia, MO was named after my father, Edwin A. Pape. The following is my recollection of how this came to be.

Many remember Ed Pape as a long-time mayor of Concordia. At the time I was growing up, he seemed to take turns with Ed Runge and Louis Dierker filling that postion. Being mayor at that time was $1-a-year job, a true labor of love. My father had a unique love for Concordia. He spent countless hours working to improve the community and was a continuous promoter of the Concordia area.

One example of his efforts to improve Concordia involved the land commonly known as the Boy Scout property. This is the city block between Main & Gordon and 12th & 13th Streets. When this property came up for sale in 1940, he quickly jumped at the chance to purchase it. He said it would be a natural extension of Southside Park. His intent was to limit any development on the land and keep it “forever green”. (Although he thought he had purchased the entire block, there was a title problem with the lot on the south end.) Subsequently, while he was a member of the Boy Scout committee, he gave the property to the Scouts with the understanding that it would remain undeveloped and that the Scouts would maintain it in a park-like condition.

However, his lifelong dream was to build a lake in the area. The deep wells in Concordia’s water system were noted for delivering water with a strong sulphur taste and odor. Furthermore, the water supply frequently became perilously low during the summer droughts. He reasoned that a lake would provide a sorely needed supply of water. Furthermore, it would serve as a much welcome recreation facility. His first attempt was to purchase a hilly, somewhat rundown farm in the Mulkey Creek area west of Concordia. (Ervin Luebbert was his tenant on the farm.) Unfortunately, building a lake on this property turned out to be unfeasible. So he abandoned that plan and other business concerns occupied his time so that his dream remained dormant for a number of years.

Hi Roger,

On your Blog dated Saturday, December 20,2008 you stated that your dad had bought a run down farm in the Mulkey Creek area to build. My mom and dad, Woodrow and Esther Stevens bought that said farm from your dad in late 1947 and moved there in January of 1948. I am really glad he did not put the lake here at our farm. It is probably the best farm ground around here. It is still in our family. It is located on Stevens Rd.

Linda Stevens Bodenstab

Finally, during his last term as mayor, he felt that the time was appropriate to push for government assistance in the development of a water reservoir. The picture below shows him along with Congressman Randall and City Councilman Norbert Flandermeyer during a trip to Washington to promote this plan.

Concordia’s efforts to obtain funding were successful. A site in the Peavine Creek area south of the city was selected and construction of the reservoir began in the mid 1960s. Unfortunately, my father did not live to see the completion of the lake. On Christmas Eve 1966, he suffered a massive stroke while delivering Christmas presents from his lumber company to new homeowners. He died on Dec. 27, 1966.

When the lake was finally dedicated in May 1968, the city council voted to name the lake in his honor. Our family was surprised. One might have expected the water treatment plant or something similar to have been named after him, but the naming of the lake was indeed a great honor. So now the name of Edwin A. Pape has entered into the geographical naming of the area.

Note. For a few random aerial photos of the lake, click on the following link: Aerial shots of the lake.
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