Jay Shillito’s “Alpine Lake before it was Alpine Lake” was published in the January 2007 Alpine Lake Newsletter.


     In the early 60’s, the resort now know as “Alpine Lake” was “Hull’s Hunting and Fishing Camp.” The fishing part was located where Clutter Realty is and consisted of several trout ponds where the public could fish and were charged so much for each fish caught. The hunting part consisted of the 2,000 plus acres of woods and undeveloped land. An unimproved road ran up past where the current lodge is and down to a natural spring fed lake of about 25 acres. Hunters were allowed to shoot ducks that were on this lake. Further down this road (now West Alpine Drive) stood the only structure on the property - the log cabin formerly owned by the Dorrells. This is where the out-of-the-area hunters stayed.

     The owner, Arlie Hull, approached George Kirk, who was the CEO of the First National Bank of Terra Alta, informing him of a recreational program offered by The Farmers Home Administration, whereby Charter Memberships were sold to individuals to assist in financing a recreational facility. A group of 12 to 15 individuals met with Mr. Hull. Each of these people put up $200 in order to secure a long-term option from Arlie Hull for his 2,000 plus acres. We then went to the FHA to begin the process. We had to sell Charter Memberships at $300 each in order to secure $250,000 and the FHA would put out $750,000. Everyone in the Preston County area sold these memberships to in-state people as well as out-of-state people. We ended up having sold $235,000 in memberships and seemed to be at a stand-still. We learned that the FHA only wanted to see the $250,000 in our bank account, and they would then release their $750,000 portion. The same 12 people signed a note with an Oakland, Maryland bank for the needed $15,000, which was deposited into the account. A total of $1,000,000 was then available for construction.

     The entry road was improved, and eight cabins, a small lodge, an outdoor swimming pool, a beginners’ and intermediate and long downhill ski slopes, and a 9-hole golf course were completed.

     The original golf course was as follows. The #1 hole was our present #10 hole. The # 2 hole went out along the lake to our present #11 green. The #3 tee boxes were under the present #18 tee boxes. You hit your ball out toward our present #1 fairway and had a dogleg left to the #3 green, which was located under our present practice green. If you look down from the practice green, you can see a flat area where the green was. You then came up the hill to the #4 tee box (presently our #1 tee box). The old #5 is our current #2; the old #6 is currently #3; and the old #7 is the current #4. You then went up the hill to the old #8, which is the same as the current #8 and on into the clubhouse.

     Needless to say, the Board of Directors of Mountaintop Vacationland had experienced financial problems. Clyde Snyder was the County FHA Administrator and attended all our board meetings. We had several general managers and were unable to pay back any of our debt. In 1969, a group from Virginia as well as a local person-J.W. Ruby-became interested in purchasing Mountain Top and wanted to improve the amenities as well as build roads, install water and sewer lines, and sell lots. At a full membership meeting in August of 1969, a sixty percent majority could not be reached, as required by the bylaws, and the Board of Directors was instructed to sell the assets to whomever they decided on. We knew J.W. Ruby but were not sure about the developer from Virginia. So, Mountain Top was sold to Mr. Ruby. I was the secretary of the Board and I was sure that our $15,000 note was included in the selling price.

     Mr. Ruby owned several Sterling Faucet plants, was well as a paving company and other enterprises. We felt very comfortable about selling the assets to Mr. Ruby. Besides building roads and the water and sewer systems, he expanded the lake to its present size and built the dam for the lake. He added three more holes to the golf course, which are our present #5, #6 and #7. He expanded the clubhouse to its present size and configuration enclosing the swimming pool.

     I realize that Mr. Ruby was an astute business man and that he made money when he developed Alpine Lake. More power to him! I myself feel that much of what we enjoy in living at Alpine Lake, we have Mr. Ruby to thank.


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 Dave Clutter. All rights reserved. www.clutterrealty.com