By Tim I. Purdy
6x9; 184 pages, illustrated, index, hardcover, ISBN: 0938373-21-8, Price $24.95
Eagle Lake is California’s second largest natural lake. The first segment of the book focuses on the natural history. A wide variety of issues are examined ranging from dramatic changes in the lake’s level, earthquakes, forest fires, grasshopper invasions, and of course its fishery. Not only is the story told how the famed Eagle Lake trout was saved from extinction, but the tale of the successful introduction of bass during the early 1900s.
The second segment begins with A.W. Blair’s 1872 grandiose scheme to tap Eagle Lake to irrigate the sagebrush lands of Honey Lake Valley. While Blair never did carry out his proposal, he opened the door for others. In 1914, Malvena Gallatin, invited, Leon Bly, a civil engineer to her summer home at Eagle Lake to examine the feasibility of a tunnel. In 1923, Bly’s tunnel was completed and would be the center of many controversies over the next six decades, until it was permanently sealed in 1986.
The third segment deals with the settlement and development of the Eagle Lake basin. Included is the Papoose Meadows Massacre and that of the various settlers such as Dow, Spalding, Troxel, and Stone to name a few. Then, of course, is the story about the Gallatins and their legacy at the lake, to how the lake has developed to its present state.