Memories of Colonial Lake

By Mary Baker Pringle, granddaughter of Dr. Archibald E. Baker Sr., co-founder of Baker-Craig Sanatorium, now Baker House condominiums on Colonial Lake.

One of my earliest memories was just after we moved to 13 Colonial Street when I was 1 year old in 1947. My grandmother took me to the lake and I pulled myself up on the trunk of a sugar hackberry tree and marveled at the stacked up projections of its bark. In my childhood days we roamed that neighborhood until dark having great adventures. There were children’s festivals there with booths decorated with crepe paper as well as fishing tournaments. The Sergeant Jasper building was brand new. Barre was the last street before the Ashley River and there was a dump area there that was very interesting to us on our adventures.

After Hurricane Gracie, we walked up to Broad Street and were amazed that you could not see the sidewalks around the lake. I remember roller-skating on the tennis court at Moultrie Playground and cutting my arm open on a rusty wire on the net post. I went to my Uncle Robert “Booie” Baker’s office in the basement of Baker Hospital and got five stitches. I remember a story that one of the neighborhood boys, I believe it was Johnny Stuhr, had ridden his bike into the lake on the Ashley Avenue side. I was always scared to ride my bike near the edge after hearing that. My friends and I would pass the lake walking to Memminger School. We would get excited when the Christmas lights would go up because that meant it was almost time for school holidays.

By 1972 I was a young wife and we bought 89 Ashley Avenue. I felt so lucky to come home to the old neighborhood again after living in other cities. When my babies were born, I pushed them in baby carriages and strollers around the lake. It was like coming full circle.

Share your stories, photos, videos and memories of Colonial Lake. Those can be submitted via email or via social media using the hashtag #coloniallake. Find the Conservancy on Facebook, on Twitter and Instagram @charlestonparks.

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