Tavern: Rock Dam

Transcriber: stan@wiclarkcountyhistory.org

Surnames: Ruzic, Siemers, Ingham, Cerne, Fortuna, Macknick, Reiner, Auman, Barr

----Source: Family Scrapbook

In 1928-36 Matt Ruzic and sons, Herman Siemers and Guy Ingham and their wives had purchased about one square mile of land in Rock Dam area for back taxes and drainage taxes (today we would say 'for peanuts'). As of September 16, 1933 Rock Dam Resort Inc. was born.

The corporation built a lean-to, then a bar then a couple cottages, during the next decade. In fact they hauled a boxcar from Spencer, cut it in half and made two beach houses for the old Natural Dam swimming hole.

Rae D. Ingham, (Guy's brother) rented all of this from the Rock Dam Resort Inc. He did a lot of the building and carpenter work himself in the line of improvements. Rae was really thinking ahead, he was getting everything done ahead of time so when prohibition was repealed in 1933, he was all set for a liquor license and beer license in his name, and it all turned out the way he planned.

During these years of preparing, the old natural dam was a favorite spot for fishing, swimming and picnicking. There had been a logging dam built above the natural dam in prior years but by the 1930's not much was left. Rae Ingham did a good business and it did improve after Rock Dam Lake (formerly called Haycreek Lake) was made.

As time went on Rae's rent went up, so he decided to move. He leased five commercial lots on the south (or west) side of the lake from the county and he built a building large enough for a tavern and three smaller buildings for rental cottages. When the next rental raise came through he moved his liquor license to the other side of the lake.

The Rock Dam Resort Inc. then rented the tavern on the north side, to Joe Cerne and Louis Fortuna, but with only a beer license. Rae operated his tavern on the southwest side with whiskey and beer. It was not long before Joe Cerne and Louis Fortuna bought out Rae Ingham and moved across the lake (now Lakeside Tavern).

Then Rock Dam Resort was leased to Lloyd and Zora Macknick, who operated for a year or so and then it was sold to Henry and Elizabeth Reiner along with 16 acres in 1949. They ran it until Hank's death and sold to Felix and Doris Auman in 1962. Felix and Doris rebuilt and doubled the size of the tavern, later sold to Larry Barr, it was then called Barr II. They in turn sold to Jim Barr who now operates Barr II.



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