Five Things You Didn’t Know About Lake Elmo
Everybody is talking about Montana FW&P's plan to drain Lake Elmo sometime in the next two years, due to invasive Asian clams being discovered in the lake. Naturally, we're all wondering what will be found when they drain the lake. My guesses are: hundreds of fishing poles, beer cans & bottles, coolers, sunglasses, old tires, flat floaties, and tons of junk. Will there be bodies? Old firearms? I guess anything is possible.
Remember when they drained Baker Lake after the big tornado hit Baker back in 2016 and the town drained the lake the following year? They found trash. Literal tons of trash. A large portion that was tossed into the lake by the tornado, but also piles of junk that had been there for decades.
While digging around the internet looking for details about Lake Elmo, I found this excellent Billings Gazette article from 2003 that fully explains the history of the lake. Did you know...
- Lake Elmo was originally called Holling Lake and was developed as an irrigation holding pond for the Billings Bench Water Association.
- In 1929 the family that owned the lake opened it up to the public as a recreation area and quickly became a popular spot for summer recreation.
- In the 60's the lake was a hot spot for motor boating. The lake was allegedly so crowed with boats and water skiers that they were required to follow the "clockwise only" rotation around the lake to help prevent collisions.
- There was once a night club on Holling Lake called the Elmo Club (cool vintage photo HERE). The club was THE place to party in the 30's & 40's. The Elmo Club featured a restaurant, a two level nightclub as well as blackjack tables and other gambling. Fun. The club burned to the ground in 1946 and was never rebuilt. However, the Elmo name stuck and Holling Lake became known as Lake Elmo
- The lake and surrounding property became a Montana State Park in the mid 80's and has been operated by Montana FW&P ever since.