History of Lake Waynoka
Ed Wren Jr. was the developer and owner of American Realty Service Corp of Memphis, Tennessee. He had the desire to build a multi-million dollar homesite and recreational project. He called the project Lake Waynoka and by April 1970 he had purchased 2,400 acres of property. After purchasing the property a large construction crew set out creating the 290 acre lake by damming Straight Creek. They were also busy constructing 45 miles of roads that sectioned off the lake into 4,000 lots and recreation areas.
There was a large push to advertise the community. Billboards could be seen in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and West Virginia. Sales centers were set up in all the major cities and sales personnel had dinner parties, gave away TV sets, fur stoles, and other merchandise to promote sales. One of the features that set Lake Waynoka apart from other resorts was the campground. "The sales approach was INVEST NOW and enjoy your investment by camping today - Build later for retirement."
During the early 1970s the project was moving ahead with many new landowners. However, the project slowed down during 1974 and there was concern from the homeowners, campers, and the Waynoka Property Owners Association. The Civic Club was also formed during this time to facilitate communication between the property owners and developer. At this time the Lake was 95% complete.
On August 8, 1975 the employees of the Lake were advised to go home and shut down operations because American Realty would be filing bankruptcy at a later date. During this time security continued to work without pay. Efforts were made to hold our first election and we had our first WPOA Board of Trustees. By April, 1976, the Lake was back in full operation and our first manager had been hired.
National American Corp. (NACO) purchased the 1,000 unsold lots from the bankruptcy trustee and set up a subsidiary company called Waynoka Development Corp. NACO was going to help finish installing the waterlines on Yuma Drive and finish selling the lots. NACO was involved in the Lake community until 1983 when they moved out.
On December 2, 1978 there was an agreement to purchase Waynoka Utilities Inc. from the Ohio Water Development Authority. Since this time the Waynoka Regional Water & Sewer District has made many upgrades including construction of the central sewage system which eliminated the need for individual septic systems.
The Lake has experienced tremendous growth over the years. There have been vast improvements to our facilities and numerous accomplishments by the various clubs and committees in the Lake. 2010 marked the 40th anniversary of the Lake. We hope the next 40 years will be as productive as the first 40 and everyone takes part in making the Lake an enjoyable place to live and visit.
Little Known Facts
• There is a grave in the wooded area between the dam and spillway and the new maintenance building. It is the unmarked grave of Robinson Lucas who was one of the first settlers in Franklin Township. He lived on one of the farms that now make up Lake Waynoka.
• The Civic Club held the first Waynoka Day at Little Turtle on July 30, 1977. It included a picnic supper, games, free watermelon, and raffle prizes. The tradition has continued and now various clubs and committees take part in this event. Attendance at the first Waynoka Day was approximately 100. Today we expect to see well more than that at the event held in July each year.
Click here to view the 25th Anniversary Edition of the Lake Waynoka Newsletter, April 1995.