Turner’s Pond now 3.5 feet below spillway
Turner's Pond is the lowest most Minden residents have ever seen – except for times in the 1940's and 50's when it was drained.
According to longtime Lakeshore Drive resident George Fithen, the pond is now three and a half feet below the spillway.
"We just about don't have a pond out there, do we?" Fithen said.
Lakeview United Methodist Church bought the pond in 2001 from the Turner family for $1. Church Secretary and Treasurer Marsha Watts said the water is the lowest she's seen in her 25 years as a church member.
"It was very strange to see them out there mowing it last week," Watts said. "They were mowing out in the bed."
Originally, the pond was smaller than its current normal size. Paul Culpepper of Landmark Land Surveying in Minden said, "The original millpond was about what you are seeing now. I'm sure they dug the pond. It wasn't a pond back then, it was just a low spot."
"They put the logs in it to wash them off before they'd go in the mill, which sat across the street from where the flags are today," said Fithen.
According to Culpepper, the pond was enlarged to its current size and depth once it was no longer used as a millpond.
In the 40's Turner's Pond was drained to locate a drowned man. Former long-time Minden Police Chief T.C. Bloxom said a man named Upchurch was fishing in a boat across the street from his house.
"Three people saw him stand up in the boat, clutch his chest, and fall into the water," Bloxom said. "Because of all the old logs and sludge down there, everything was difficult for them."
Finally the pond was drained and Upchurch was found after around two days.
According to Bloxom, Webster Parish Rescue Squad was founded as a result of the search.
Bloxom then began volunteering with the squad, beginning his career in Minden public service at the early age of around 15.
During the 1950's, the pond was drained twice.
"We pumped it out back in the 50's so we could fix the dam. Then it broke and we had to pump it out and fix the dam again," Fithen said.
Turner's Pond has been a popular recreation spot of Minden residents for many years.
"It's always been a real nice place for the city, for the kids to go," said Fithen.
Fishing has been one popular activity.
"They used to have McDonald's Fishing Rodeo for the kids while Pop McDonald was still alive," Fithen said. "They'd get the biggest fish or the smallest fish and get medals or something similar."
"When I was a young boy, Scot Lary and I used to fly fish on Turner's Pond," Culpepper said. "We would wade out and get on top of the old berm and fish back towards the bank."
A berm is a raised earthen work used for erosion control, and can be seen as a hump in the pond bed.
Many residents also enjoy feeding birds that gather on the pond. With the drought, more birds have taken to Turner's Pond. Recently, a flock of geese took residence.
"Last year the big Canadian geese, when they would have been leaving for the summer a lot of them had new babies so they stayed for the whole summer," Watts said.
Turner's Pond is fed from the east by Bay Creek. According to Culpepper, Bay Creek originates from a springhead on or around Don Hinton's farm.
Mostly covered by culverts on the east, it leaves Turner's Pond through the dam on the west and finally winds its way to Dorcheat Bayou.