Aerial Photos 2013 (pdf)
Restaurant Photos (pdf)
How The Point Venture History Project Began...
In 2006 Roy Ables contacted POA President Jim Hawkins, with the idea of forming a committee to research the history of Point Venture. Before Roy could say no, Jim appointed him Chairman and asked him to assemble a committee. He invited Gary and Charlene Robertson, Mel Kurth and Jeanne Calvi to the first meeting to lay out the framework for the project. Eventually, Charlene agreed to co-chair the project, with the understanding that the project may require years of research and interviews. Roy had already published a book about the country school he attended and the communities around it, so his researching talent was invaluable to the Point Venture project. Charlene honed her writing skills during her 30-plus year career in journalism and public relations, so compiling all the data and information into a readable story became her task. Like Roy, Charlene is a long-time genealogist, thus forming an effective team. Gary Robertson, Jeanne Calvi, Mel Kurth, Debbie Conger, Ed Stuart, Gary Brandenberger, and dozens of area historians and early Point Venture residents lent their time to collecting memories and photos which make this story more compelling. All contributors to this project volunteered their time. After hundreds of hours of research in history centers, libraries, government offices, the Internet, and local interviews, the project is finally ready to be presented to the citizens of Point Venture. Roy and Charlene acknowledge that this story of Point Venture is incomplete and likely has some inaccuracies. Because several years of PV newsletters and other documents are missing, Roy and Charlene relied on early residents' recollections, which sometimes were a bit hazy. The hope is that upon reading this, memories will be jogged and discussion will ensue, resulting in a new surge of information, documents, and photos. Publishing this document electronically allows us to add, delete and edit as new information comes in.
The Story of Point Venture...
With so much natural beauty and abundant recreational opportunities in Point Venture, it’s possible to miss the hints of history that peek from rocky cliffs and surface near the lakeshore. Some of us discover remnants of previous inhabitants while building our houses when excavation unearths Indian arrowheads and fossilized sea creatures. Others find hand-built rock walls when the lake recedes, suggesting someone ranched the land that is now the bottom of Lake Travis. Street signs on the way to our village post unusual names and geographical references. Yet, in our eagerness to relish all that is Point Venture, rarely do we think about who lived on our peninsula before it was called Point Venture, or why they settled there. We like to think we were the first to discover our little bit of paradise. Some, however, have wondered, and as a result several books have been published on the history of the North Shore. This project grew out of an interest by one fairly recent Point Venture resident, who so loved the area that he became curious as to why and how it came to attract residents from across the nation, and even from foreign countries. Roy Ables and his wife, Pat, moved to Point Venture from Arlington, Texas, in 2005. A genealogist and local history buff, Roy had already written the history of the small Texas town where he grew up. Shortly after settling in Point Venture, he began researching the early development of this area. I joined him in his research, and with the invaluable assistance of and interviews with local historians and many of the area’s first residents, we soon collected enough information to compile this modest collection on the history of Point Venture. Because my interest was piqued early by the discovery of an arrowhead on our property and by the numerous sea fossils surrounding our house, I wanted to learn more about the geological features of this area and about the Indians and early pioneers on the north side of the Colorado River. We had much available to read on those subjects because previous north shore historians had researched and written extensively on those topics. Consequently, we decided to guide you to those references and instead concentrate our efforts on the early development of our community, touching only lightly on life before Lake Travis came to be. A fascinating work on the geological phenomena of our area is in Lago Vista, Its Story and Its People, co-edited by Bruce Vernier and JoAnn Siefken, with a terrific forward by Phil Mundt. The fairly recent publication, The North Shore of Lake Travis, is expertly written and assembled by the North Shore Heritage and Cultural Society. Another book filled with anecdotes is Nameless, Its History and Its People by Genny Kercheville. All of these publications can be found in the Lago Vista Public Library. But, here are some hints of what you’ll find in these books: Dinosaur tracks in and around Cow Creek; Discovery of an ancient Indian burial site in Pace Bend; Evidence that Tonkawa, Lipan, Apache, Comanche and Kiowa hunted and fought along the Colorado River; Stories of the first North Shore settlers who came in 1831 when Stephen F. Austin issued grants to 800 families to form the “Upper Colony”; First settlers included Noah Smithwick, John Henry Lohmann, Samuel and Ed Pearson, Caleb and Thomas Sylvester and James Carlton — names we see on those street signs; Photos of meteorites discovered on the 22,000 acre Sunset Ranch, and much, much, more.
When two newcomers try to depict life in a community during a time when they didn’t live there, there’s an obvious reliance on anecdotal, pictorial and documental assistance from others. Sincere thanks and appreciation to the many who have helped us gather information, including Chase Canfield, Shirley Davis, Mike and Joan O’Toole, Terry and Colleen Hickman, Gary Brandenberger, Ed Stuart, Debbie Conger, Mel Kurth, Clayton Cooke, Mike Leathers, Lawrence Smith, Mrs. Joel Cummings and many others.
Before There Was A Lake
When Stephen F. Austin issued contracts to 800 families in 1831 to settle and farm the area north of the Colorado River, which was known as the Upper Colony, the dynamic of the North Shore changed immediately. Previously inhabited by several Indian tribes, the area soon sprouted stone houses, farms, ranches and eventually a school. One industrious settler, dairy farmer John Henry Lohmann, built a wagon trail that bridged a narrow part of the river, connecting the north and south sides, so that the north shore farmers could trade their crops and wares and collect supplies on Bee Cave Road. North Shore settler Ivean Pearson, son of pioneers Samuel “Dink” Pearson and Ida Mae Puryear Pearson, was quoted by one local historian as recalling transporting his mother by wagon across the river ford to see a doctor in Austin. The luckier farmers acquired land along the banks of the Colorado, where the soil was rich and flat. Conditions were often harsh, as the river frequently rose out of its banks, flooding plowed lands. More significantly in the early 1900s, the river flooded the burgeoning city of Austin. The earliest documents available indicate that the appropriately named Christopher Columbus Browning received the first land grant for 1280 acres that included what is now Point Venture. Born in Greene County, Georgia, in 1812, Christopher Columbus Browning married Penina Gunter in Alabama in 1829, and eventually moved his family to Texas, settling in Austin. On Feb. 7, 1852 he was granted land that straddled Williamson and Travis counties. In 1854 he was issued Land Patent 689, which covered about 40 percent of what is now our community. When the Brownings settled here, most of the land on the Colorado River was covered with cedar, oak, and other species of trees and shrubbery, along with several species of wildlife, including deer, quail, dove, raccoon, possum, skunks, and a fair amount of fish. Between what we know as the POA Park and the river was good farming land, where Browning and subsequent owners grew corn, cotton and other crops. Pecan orchards grew along the shoreline, attracting droves of Austinites who made the trek across Lohmann’s Ford to harvest the nut crop for sumptuous pies. The cedar forests brought in camps of cedar choppers who sold the cedars for fence posts and railings. Cattle, goats and other livestock grazed the hills of what we now know as Lakefront, Peckham, Deckhouse, and all the curving, scenic roads of Point Venture. In 1931, at Lohmann’s low water crossing, a 20 foot, double-laned concrete bridge was built to span the river, providing easier access to the North Shore. The bridge stood 15-18 feet above the river waters. The bridge site attracted commercial enterprises, some of which were owned and operated by the industrious Pearson family. Ivean Pearson ran a small store beside the river where he and his wife Pauline sold gasoline and food staples. His sister Clara and her husband Floyd Killabrew ran a “dipping vat” near her brother’s store. The vat addressed the problem cattle ranchers had with tick infestations. Ranchers from both sides of the river brought their cattle to the vat for dips. When Mansfield Dam was built this dipping vat and the Pearson family home were relocated farther north on Lohmann’s Ford Road where some of the structures can still be seen from the road through the cedar growth. By the turn of the century, Clifton George, Jr., owned large parcels of land previously settled by Browning. In 1933, George sold 981.21 acres to J.L. Hensley for $10,800. Hensley then sold the property in 1945 to Rufus W. Peckham for $25,000. Peckham negotiated the sale of this land to Joel Cummings and William Canfield in 1969, for $420,000. And, so began Point Venture.
Winding through steep canyons, the Colorado River held great appeal to ancient Indian tribes and later pioneers, ranchers and sportsmen. However, it often flooded far outside its banks and caused horrific damage as it inundated the City of Austin. Records dating back to 1843 show that major floods occurred on an average of every 6.3 years. Talk began of damming the river after a series of three major floods in the 1930s. In February 1937, the Colorado River Authority took the final step toward purchasing all the flood plain properties and issued a check for $59,000 to Travis County to cover the cost of flooding and inundating the land, public roads, highways and bridges to make way for a reservoir. The LCRA chose a site at Marshall Ford, 20 miles upstream from Austin, as the location for what was to be the Colorado River’s main flood-control dam. The only bridge connecting the two shorelines now sits under more than 100 feet of water, though the roadways that led to the bridge still exist as Lohmann’s Ford on the north and Lohmann’s Crossing on the south. Completed in 1941, the dam was renamed for U.S. Representative J.J. Mansfield. The resulting reservoir, Lake Travis, formed in 1942, with the largest storage capacity of the seven reservoirs known as the Highland Lakes. Lake Travis stretches 65 miles upriver from western Travis County in a highly serpentine course into southern Burnet County to Max Starcke Dam southwest of Marble Falls. The Pedernales Rivers, a major tributary of the Colorado River, flows in the lake from the southwest in western Travis County. Because of its volume, the lake serves as the primary flood control reservoir of the Highland Lakes chain. The level of the lake can therefore vary dramatically, depending on the amount of rainfall in the Colorado River basin upstream. Despite this, the lake furnishes one of the most desired locations in the region for outdoor recreation, including fishing, boating, swimming, scuba diving, picnicking and camping. Lake Travis is generally considered one of the clearest lakes in Texas. Lake Travis is considered “full” when the lake’s water level is at 681’ above mean sea level (msl). The historic high level on the lake was 710.4’ above msl on December 25, 1991. The historic low was 614.2’ above msl on August 14, 1951. The second lowest level at this writing was 615.02’ msl on November 8, 1963. In late June 2013, the lake stands at 627.32’, making it the third lowest level on record, but as a severe drought perseveres, a new record for low lake levels is possible.
The Birth of Venture Yacht and Country Club
Lore has it that Joel M. Cummings and William Chase Canfield were having coffee at the new Lakeway resort, admiring the views of the north shore area known locally as The Point. Cummings, who had hunted and fished at several of the fishing camps off of Lohmann’s Ford, was quite familiar with the The Point. He suggested to Canfield that the area across from Lakeway would be a perfect place to build a resort community. The idea grew on Canfield, who had already developed a community on what is now Lake LBJ, and their enthusiasm sparked quick action. On April 25, 1969, Cummings and Canfield signed an earnest money contract on the Peckham Ranch, owned by Rufus W. Peckham, Jr., Frances Mary Peckham Kelly, and her husband, J.K. Kelly. On July 8, 1969, they finalized the purchase of 989.07 acres for $420,000. Sidney “Woody” Gaylord and Lawrence Smith joined Cummings and Canfield to form the Venture Development Company on August 8, 1969, with each partner owning 25 percent interest in the company. Their first project: The Venture Yacht and Country Club (VYCC). Construction began immediately after the corporation was formed, and the clubhouse, restaurant, swimming pool, marina, tennis courts and sales offices were the first completed projects in the Venture Yacht and Country Club. By May 1970, 40 two- and three-bedroom townhouses sprouted up. To create buzz and attract buyers, Venture Development opened sales offices in Houston, San Antonio, Lakeway, Point Venture and Dallas, and placed advertising in multiple publications. The corporation brought in prospective buyers on regular bus runs from Houston to view the townhouses as well as lots for residences or investments. The developers lured prospective buyers with free overnight stays in the townhouses. For a $35,000 investment, one could buy a package of five lots, including one lake front, one lake view, one golf course frontage and two with lesser views. Many came to Venture Yacht and Country Club just to vacation, renting a furnished two-bedroom townhouse for only $20 per night. One of the most popular features of the Point Venture development was the restaurant, located initially in what we now know as the club room. Due to its growing reputation, the corporation built a new stand alone facility for the restaurant in 1971. That area currently houses the POA gym, library, and townhouse office. The club room became the bar and lounge area and was frequently rented by companies for meetings, conferences and retreats. The restaurant and bar became the favored gathering spots in Point Venture. To facilitate transportation around the lake, the Venture Development Company operated a car ferry, which charged $1 to carry passengers from near Dink Pearson Park to Hurst Creek Road on the south shore. Carrying eight automobiles and their passengers, the ferry provided easy access to travelers who otherwise could only reach Point Venture by the treacherously winding and crudely paved FM 1431. After just two seasons, the ferry venture was abandoned. In 1974, the developers operated an express chartered bus from Houston to Point Venture.
Joel Martin Cummings 1932-2003 Born and raised in Houston, Cummings earned a business degree from University of Houston and served in the Army before embarking on his career as an aircraft distributor. In the mid 1960s he participated in development ventures, building apartment and shopping center projects and resort subdivisions in Texas and Colorado, including the Point Venture development. An avid pilot, he logged 8,000 hours in his lifetime. He was a founding member of Lakeside Country Club and the University Club of Houston. He was a member of Rotary and an active member of the First United Methodist Church of Willis. In 1979 Cummings was appointed to the Board of Regents of the University of Houston. He died March 7, 2003, in a single car accident near Navasota. William Chase Canfield 1926-2009 A native of West Lafayette, Indiana, Canfield gained early acclaim for his athletic achievements. An outstanding high school football player, Canfield attended Purdue University on an athletic scholarship. His name is highlighted in numerous records and histories of Purdue football where he played quarterback and halfback. In 1945, Canfield led his team to victory, scoring three touchdowns, in a legendary game with previously unbeaten Ohio State University. An excellent student as well, he graduated with honors with a degree in electrical engineering. Jobs in the electrical manufacturing industry eventually landed him to Houston. Soon after, however, he had a dream opportunity to coach football and moved to Norman, Oklahoma, to serve as University of Oklahoma’s assistant coach under Bud Wilkinson. Eventually family considerations brought him back to his last job with Louis Allis Electrical Equipment Company in Houston. An interest in land development lured him away from this job and from that time forward he devoted himself full time to development projects, first on Lake Granite Shoals (now Lake LBJ) and then Point Venture with his friend, Joel Cummings. At the time he was working on the Point Venture project, Canfield was married to Martha Chaffee, the widow of Astronaut Roger Chafee. He continued building and developing, keeping Houston as his home base, for the remainder of his life. He died Nov. 5, 2009 of complications from Lou Gehrig’s disease. Almost immediately after forming their partnership, Cummings and Canfield brought in two more equal partners, W.S. “Woody” Gaylord, Jr., and Lawrence Clayton Smith. At the time he became a Venture Development partner, Gaylord was incoming president of the Texas Highway-Heavy branch of Associated General Contractors. His expertise was in building roads, installing utilities, and all that was involved in the heavy construction work of a major development. He also owned a vacation home in the vicinity. Smith, also from Houston, discovered the area known as the Point, while a student at Southwestern University in Georgetown. In fact, his business school thesis was on the possibility of developing the acreage that Cummings and Canfield bought into a country club-style retreat. After college he organized a real estate sales and architectural design company and brought those valuable skills to the Venture Development project.
Point Venture Ferry
Point Venture Ferry When the Mansfield Dam gates closed in 1941, the lake began to fill, covering the Lohmann’s Crossing bridge and making it impossible to travel between the north and south shores. Point Venture developers wanted to make it easier for property owners and prospective buyers to get to the resort without having to make the long, sometimes harrowing drive, around the lake, so providing boat transportation seemed a good option. Developer Canfield located a ferry in Llano County that was no longer in service. The Venture Development company purchased the ferry, disassembled it into approximately 10’ square cubes and trucked the pieces to Dink Pearson Park. There, it was reassembled, the cubes filled with styrofoam for extra safety and hydraulically operated on/off ramps installed. The reconditioned ferry was capable of carrying eight cars and the vehicles’ passengers. It was the only lake ferry in the state of Texas. The ferry, initially piloted by Robert Smith, began transporting passengers between Dink Pearson Park and Hurst Creek Road in April 1971, after it was christened by Patsy Quinn, Miss Texas World. The trip, which took approximately 25 minutes each way, cost $1. PV property owners had free passes during the first year of operation. Though an appreciated service, there were problems. Those who missed the boat had to wait an hour for the boat to return. Since it took almost half an hour to reach the other side, many travelers opted to drive around the lake, instead. There were other issues as well, some more amusing. For instance, the ferry was used often to transport construction vehicles across the lake. Once the ferry captain neglected to tie off the ferry when it came to shore carrying a large dump truck. As the dump truck was off-loading, the boat floated away from shore. The truck ended up in the lake. That captain was fired and then almost immediately rehired when the developers realized that licensed ferry captains were a rare commodity. By 1973, costs and unpredictable water and weather conditions forced the retirement of the ferry. It was eventually sold and, as a chartered party boat, sailed Lake Travis as the Flagship Texas from 1982 until a fire in the boat’s kitchen destroyed the boat in the summer of 2013.
Point Venture in the 1970s
By the spring of 1970 Point Venture had taken shape. The clubhouse, a restaurant, the swimming pool, marina, tennis courts and 40 townhouses were complete and drawing visitors and property investors. Reading the sales literature and promotional pieces distributed during those early years, it’s easy to see why people from Houston and Dallas flocked to see this fantastic resort. “Dream of a far-away place, remote and unspoiled. People your place with successful people whose company you covet, yet who husband your right, and theirs, to be alone when whim, mood, or necessity suggests the privilege. Place this place on a lake — why not? — silvered by fish, dappled by sun and shadow, caressed by a thousand singing hills. What the hell. Throw in a meadow, a wildflower, a brook. Lay on birdsong, gamboling deer, symphonic sunsets and, now and again, a rainbow.” (From Texas Parade, written by Brad Andrews, circa 1971) Hyperbole? Perhaps, but current residents still use similar descriptions — maybe not quite so poetic — when explaining what brought them here in this still remote boot-shaped projection into Lake Travis. Author Brad Andrews goes on: “What you have then, is a Paradise-without-portfolio. What you have is a hideaway place called Point Venture., a comma of land in a crystal statement, on that hillgirded lake in the center of Texas — Lake Travis. All this, plus the comforts of wherever and the luxuries and atmosphere of never-never. It is, in short, a fantasy place, but it’s for real nevertheless.”
In addition to the obvious appeal of the beautiful natural setting, visitors and potential property owners were attracted to the amenities, such as the clubhouse, which was described in promotional literature as “an architectural masterpiece” decorated in “magnificent Spanish motif.” That Spanish motif, which was very popular and chic in the 1970s, can still be glimpsed in the clubroom light fixtures, which are original. The junior olympic pool overlooking the lake had to have been a big attraction as it is now. The tennis courts were located adjacent to the pool in the 70s, so the pool, tennis court and marina were all in one convenient location. The very popular 9-hole Golf Course followed in 1972. The sales literature and interviews with current residents who lived or visited Point Venture in the earliest days indicate, however, that second to the lake, the Venture Room, Point Venture’s elegant restaurant, excited the most. Today, it’s hard to picture a thriving restaurant in our village where one dressed up, perhaps came early for cocktails at the lounge, and then grazed through a sumptuous buffet with prime rib, fried catfish, assortments of side dishes and a tempting array of desserts — just $5 for adults, $2 for children. Servers dressed in tuxes for dinner and donned chef’s hats for the breakfast buffet while a “combo” entertained the guests in the bar and lounge in the evenings. The bar and lounge was in our present day club room and our current gym was once the elegant dining room. Vacationers and prospects could even order “room service” to be delivered to their townhouse. Property owners’ lounge and dining room expenses were billed to their homes. Paradise, indeed! With some interruptions and management changes, the Venture Room continued in operation until 1988. A more informal grill continued for just one more year. The Patio Grill, located next to the pool opened in the summer of 1991 and was operated by Righetti’s Pizza of Lago Vista. The menu included hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, fries, chips, candy and soft drinks. That venture lasted just one summer. The marina boasted a ship’s store stocked with boating supplies and offered a fleet of power boats as well Sunfish and HobieCat sailboats for rent to property owners and prospects. One of the many enticements to buy property in Point Venture was the offer of free water ski lessons. This idea came from an enterprising college student who noticed the advertising promotions for the new resort on Lake Travis. In 1971, the student, 21-year-old Gary “Bubba” Brandenberger, proposed to the developers that he teach the property owners’ children to ski and then cap off the lessons with a ski show that would not only show the parents what they’ve learned, but also promote Point Venture to others enjoying the lake. Brandenberger, who is now a long-time Point Venture property owner, had experience with this sort of venture on Lake Conroe and his idea became a significant and highly popular promotional feature for the resort. The developers covered all expenses for this promotion and Brandenberger’s students’ sophisticated ski shows grew to spectacular proportions and drew the attention of everyone on the lake and news media, too. Much of the ski activity took place in Picnic Cove, which was how early Point Venture residents referred to the shallow cove in the park, between Deckhouse and the main body of the park’s peninsula. In the 1970s, water levels did not reach the stage where that cove disappears as it does too frequently today. Brandenberger and friends built a ski ramp in the cove and residents and visitors gathered on the shoreline on Sunday afternoons to watch the free exhibition. Most of the ski students were teens. More skilled skiers joined the students and Brandenberger in the Sunday shows, including present resident Mel Kurth, who was about 16 when he first performed in the shows with his dog, Sally. Kurth taught Sally, a golden retriever, to ride something similar to a wake board behind the ski boat. The ski team sometimes traveled to Lake Conroe to perform as well. Point Venture Ski Team On Saturday nights, Brandenberger wowed those on the lake and on the lake’s shoreline with a solo show where he skied with a custom made kite bearing the Point Venture logo. The kite, illuminated by sparkling fireworks, bore him into the sky behind the boat, creating a contrail of smokey flames as Brandenberger flew over the lake. This show became highly anticipated on those Saturdays and drew attention and acclaim to Point Venture. Brandenberger said the pay from the developers for this event helped pay his college tuition. It was an amazing and memorable show. Until NASA astronaut Alan Shepherd called Brandenberger on the phone. Shepherd owned a vacation home in Lakeway, with a clear vantage of the Saturday night ski exhibition. Apparently alarmed by what he saw, he felt compelled to personally contact Brandenberger. Offering a brief lesson in aerodynamics, the astronaut explained to Brandenberger why his flaming kite show wasn’t just death defying — it was pretty much a fatality waiting to happen. Brandenberger wisely took Shepherd’s advice to heart and promptly cancelled the night ski display. The kite was retired to the bottom of the lake between Lakeway and Point Venture. Fireworks continued, however, on the Fourth of July. Point Venture alternated with Lakeway to put on firework displays. The developers covered the cost of the Point Venture display, which was directed by Brandenberger, licensed to put on sophisticated shows. Dances on the club room parking lot also became tradition on the July Fourth holiday. Community cookouts and “street dances” sometimes were planned in September and Memorial Day weekend as well. The ski shows continued until the summer of 1976 when Brandenberger had to pursue “a real job” after college. By that time, Brandenberger had convinced his parents to rent a townhouse in Point Venture and in 1990 Brandenberger returned to Point Venture to purchase a townhouse. A Houston-area resident, Point Venture remains Brandenberger’s weekend designation. Meanwhile, the nightclub, as the lounge in the clubroom became known, teemed with evening activity for the adults. Comedian Steve Martin performed in the lounge in the 1970s, right about the time of his big break. Though he had recently joined the Saturday Night Live cast, Martin honored his Point Venture booking that was made prior to his new-found fame. Musical acts played in the lounge, which featured a dance floor. While their parents partied in the nightclub, children were entertained in the Venture Room where they watched movies and cartoons. Gary Brandenberger also directed this venture, with costs covered by the developers. Anita Kuhlmann and Emma Lou Hight wrote about early Point Venture in the history of Lago Vista, Lago Vista: Its Story and Its People. “In the early days of Point Venture, when the streets were still unpaved, an entrepreneurial spirit, Cecil Laws, purchased several mini bikes and rented them to the young teenagers who raced them all over the unpaved roads, which created occasional dust storms.” Point Venture’s junior Olympic-sized pool eventually hosted practice for Lago Vista’s swim team as well as occasional swim events for residents. In the early years, the pool featured a high diving board, which must have been the site for many graceful diving exhibitions. At various times, a pool-side grill served hamburgers to swimmers and sun bathers. A boarded up serving window on the outside wall of the club room’s kitchen bears evidence of the grill’s existence The tennis courts, located originally at the bottom of the hill adjacent to the pool area, were relocated to their present location, presumably due to problematic lake flooding. The courts were so much in demand that reservations were necessary in the 1970s. Weekend tennis tournaments attracted crowds. For present day residents and visitors to Point Venture, it is hard to imagine that deer were a scarcity in the community during the 1970s and early 1980s. One property owner at that time remembers offering a quarter to his kids for every deer spotted on an outing. He often came home with all his money. Money was one thing that wasn’t necessary to bring to Point Venture while vacationing as all expenses were billed to the property for later payment. Point Venture, it seems was the precursor to the present day “all inclusive” resorts. Everyone interviewed who lived in or visited Point Venture in the 1970s gave the same impressions of an idyllic, charmed community where you never locked your doors, the night skies were bright with stars and void of light pollution, children ran free and played in the woods and swam in the lake, while the adults enjoyed the many amenities.
First Homeowners in Point Venture
In 1970, Point Venture consisted of 40 townhouses and three houses. William Wheelock, Col. Robert Gywnne and James Goodwyn built the first houses, followed the next year by Cecil Laws, Ann Kurth, W.J. Goddard, Bill Canfield, Joel Cummings, and Woody Gaylord. Though the architecture and sizes of the houses varied, some literature from 1971 indicates the typical Point Venture house sold for $25,000. Point Venture, designated as a resort property, remained a vacation spot for most of the homeowners in the 1970s. Only a few made Point Venture their year-round home. Earliest Homes and Owners (According to Travis Country Property Records) 1970 408 Venture — William Wheelock 509 Lakeland Cir. — Col. Robert Gywnne 18701 Lakeland Dr. — James Goodwyn 18401 Lakepoint Cir. — Bill Canfield 1971 302 Venture Blvd.— Cecil Laws 18702 Lakeland Dr. — Ann Kurth 18505 Lakeland Dr. — W.J. Goddard 18305 Lakepoint Cir. — Joel Cummings 18709 Lakeland Dr. — Woody Gaylord 18633 Lakeland Dr.--Lawrence Smith 1972 18633 Lakeland Dr — Brollier Black 19021 Venture Dr. — Larry Prevatt 18808 Lakeland Dr. — Edward Bodar 1973 18513 Lakeland Dr. — William Kennan 18307 Lakepoint Cir.— Doak & Marilyn Worley 18616 Champions Cir. — Terry & Colleen Hickman 1974 507 Deckhouse — John Russell 411 Deckhouse — John Russell 607 Deckhouse — Donald Jones 1975 18629 Lakeland Dr. — Vernon Gene Doggett 18807 Lakeland Dr. — James Towsen 18402 Venture Dr. — Venture Development Corp. The Doak and Marilyn Worley house, built in 1973 on Lakepoint Circle, caught attention from boaters, residents and local media. The unusual diamond-shaped home, sometimes referred to as “The Birdhouse” is an architectural delight. Designed by Clovis Helmsath and built by Arthur Kleen, the house still draws attention from the lake, even though it is nestled in a densely wooded lot. The Worleys, from Houston when they built the house, vacationed in the house with their two teenagers and then eventually retired to live in Point Venture permanently.
Getting There is Half The Fun
In the early 1970s Venture Development Corporation, promoting the slogan, “Getting There Is Half the Fun,” chartered buses to bring prospective buyers and even travel agents from Houston to the new resort of Point Venture. Some flew to Lake Travis on private planes, landing on a small air strip off of Sylvestor Ford. Developers even provided a helicopter pad for the select few who chose that mode of transportation. The pad was situated on the north side of the club room. But most visitors to Point Venture came by car, which some viewed as part of the adventure. Early and current property owners Mike and Joan O’Toole recalled the drives they began in 1973 on FM 1431 as “harrowing” as they and their children wound through the two-lane road with barely any straight stretches between Cedar Park and Lago Vista. Their children would squeal in terror as their Country Squire station wagon careened over a very steep hill that no longer exists near the RV park on 1431. The final segments of the drive often made daughter Jennifer nauseous. The O’Tooles fondly recall the “spiritual release” they experienced as they came over the hills toward the lake, a pleasant departure from their hectic Houston environment. They also remember the darkness on night drives along 1431 because there was not a single light or house in sight. The O’Tooles describe Lohmann’s Crossing (prior to be renamed Lohmann’s Ford) as being bordered by trees so thick that there were no lake vistas in those days. The road was narrow, with trees growing right up to the edge of the asphalt and the hairpin turns made the drive an “exciting, exhilarating experience.” The road to Point Venture took a jog at Ivean Pearson Road and followed the sharp curve back toward the entrance to the community. Those who wanted something tamer than the roller coaster ride along 1431 could ride the Point Venture-owned car ferry between Hurst Creek Road and Dink Pearson Park until it stopped running in 1973. In 1988, work began to straighten Lohmann’s Crossing from Point Venture to the “overlook.” Present day travelers know the overlook to be the most scenic and expansive view of Lake Travis. This point is adjacent to the Waterford gated entrance. At the time of this road construction Turning Point Restaurant operated across from the overlook. Lohmann’s Ford’s pathway changed again in the early part of the new millennium to allow for home and road construction along the overlook.
Though there were few full-time residents in the 1970s, there were some school-aged children. Elementary aged children attended school in Lago Vista in the “red schoolhouse” on Lohmann’s Ford and 1431, while older students drove to Leander ISD until Lago Vista ISD built new schools in Lago.
Point Venture in the 1980s
After a dynamic decade of growth in the 1970s, the Venture Yacht and Country Club entered a relatively stagnant period in the 1980s. This seeming decline was not confined to the north shore of Lake Travis, as the entire country was in a deep economic slump in the early to mid 80s. Texas, in particular, suffered because of the comatose oil business. Construction screeched to a halt when mortgage interest rates soared to an all-time high — 16 percent, for a time. In 1975, developer Canfield sold his remaining 50 percent share of Venture Development to Mitchell Development of the Southwest (MDSW), making it the sole developer/owner of Venture Yacht and Country Club. On the surface, that seemed like a promising turn for this development. MDSW was a prolific development company with some of the state’s most attractive communities on its resumé. In actuality, though, MDSW was also having hard times and the Venture project was not on its list of top priorities. By the early 1980s, the once thriving and lovely community on Lake Travis showed signs of decline. Roads weren’t paved, amenity properties weren’t adequately maintained and no improvements were even on the horizon. Property owners were frustrated as they watched their real estate investments dwindle. MDSW was largely non-responsive to property owners’ concerns, citing economic difficulties. After prolonged negotiations, the Venture Yacht and Country Club members agreed to terms in 1985 with MDSW to assume “certain vendor’s liens and indebtedness (known as the Club Fund)” from MDSW. Though this agreement did not terminate all of MDSW’s responsibilities to the project, specifically utility construction and improvements, the Venture Yacht and Country Club was now responsible for the operations of the property. Property owners were now “in control.” VYCC First Independent Board of Directors - 1985 Doak Worley, Chairman; Fred Welling, Vice President; Ted Hendricks, Secretary; John Brandenberger, director; John Hazard, director; Cecil Laws, director; Mary Jane Sponsel, director. Hermann Stocker, general manager and advisory director. Two years later, things were not much better for the community. When the property owners assumed control, the Board had to estimate what “normal” operating costs were. Because MDSW had deferred maintenance for so many years, there were no records as reference. More significantly, there were no reserve funds in the Club Fund turned over to the property owners. While incoming funds from property owners at that existing level would help maintain the community, they would be inadequate to rehabilitate the property to acceptable standards. During this period the LCRA imposed a marina ordinance that cost Point Venture more than $125,000 to come into compliance. The Board, led by Everett Roberts, determined the need to assess property owners an additional sum over and above the monthly maintenance fee to cover the cost for extensive improvements to the community. At the same time, a Long Range Planning Committee was assigned to determine the community’s goals and level and sources of funds to meet those goals. The mandatory assessment did not meet with everyone’s favor, but with the additional funds, the community slowly began to come back to life. The steps toward being a self-sustaining community were painful, often meeting with opposition. The relationship with MDSW continued to deteriorate.
Point Venture in the 1990s
In late 1990, MDSW transferred all of the duties and prerogatives, including the Club Fund, to the homeowners’ Board. This delegation of authority and duties released MDSW from liability and vested the Board with all the duties and prerogatives MDSW had previously held. Jim Hayes, a director on the VYCC board, initiated and led the delicate negotiations with Mitchell Development. Hayes, along with Troy Bearden, Mary Edwards and Everett Roberts worked on the final agreement that was presented to the Board. Slowly, but surely, things began to look promising. In 1991, Lohmann’s Ford was widened and repaved from 1431 to Point Venture. Marina improvements began and the first phase of the PV road program started. Diligent budgeting eliminated all of the debt owed to MDSW — potentially several hundred thousand dollars — and the club fund now operated in the black. Among the road projects was the creation of the tree lined boulevard at the front entrance to the community. The board authorized the creation of a workout/game room in the area that was the non-kitchen part of the former restaurant. All the workout and game equipment was donated and mostly pre-used. This year ended with a December 25 flood that raised the lake level to an historic high of 707.6’. The POA board hired Troy Beardon in 1989 as the first property manager and one of his early accomplishments was to hire Larry Muske to oversee the marina and ship’s store operations. The marina moved from the main lake into the cove and added a breakwater to control wave action. The marina even had a mechanic on duty to assist boat owners. In the summer of 1992, Muske also opened and managed a new and immediately popular floating restaurant at the marina, named Shades. Infrastructure improvements proved costly so the Board raised property owner dues from $40 per month to $50 to offset the major expenses, particularly the road project. Throughout this decade, road improvements continued and Point Venture began to show renewed signs of life. Jack Tyler replaced Beardon as manager in 1994. In 1995, the Board approved barbeque grills, picnic tables, portable bathrooms, playground equipment, basketball and volleyball courts and water fountains to enhance the park. By the middle of the decade, there were 193 townhouses and 130 homes on individual lots for a total of 323 residences. Of those 323 residences, 146 were full-time. There were 52 children living in 31 households. The thought at the time was that the 1995 opening of Lakeline Mall, and the corresponding growth of suburbs toward the northwest of the county, would drastically change the dynamics of the north shore. In 1995, the VYCC filed a lawsuit agains Kingfisher Cove Ltd. (Waterford on Lake Travis) and MDSW in order to insure that terms of the 1985 and 1990 agreements made between VYCC and MDSW would be honored. This involved the development of 600 acres adjoining Point Venture, commonly referred to as Point Venture II. The biggest point of contention in the suit was regarding the construction of an adjacent second nine-hole golf course, giving both communities an 18-hole course. The 1990 agreement was that VYCC members and Waterford residents would share the expanded course. MDSW would not be required to build the course until home construction began in the new development, or no later than 1995. Five years later, when the course was to be built, nothing was happening, MDSW had sold the land and it was looking like the developer was taking a different direction with that property. After court appearances, failed settlement negotiations and lengthy mediation, a settlement was finally reached in October 1997, 27 months after the suit was filed. Though neither side could claim victory, VYCC came away with a substantial cash settlement and other concessions, but no 18-hole golf course.
A New Name... More Changes... More Growth...
Jim Strong, president of the property owners Board of Directors, announced in August 1998, that the property owners would no longer be the Venture Yacht and County Club. After a vote by membership, the organization became Point Venture Property Owners Association (PVPOA). Things had certainly turned around for the community. Since 1994, property values in Point Venture increased by 63 percent. The summer of 1998, the PVPOA leased the golf course to Dennis Allen, with the PVPOA to be paid a percentage of the golf course gross revenues. The leasing arrangement became necessary because of the POA’s non-profit tax status. The road project continued, though neared completion by this time. Rumblings began about whether Point Venture should incorporate to prevent annexation by Lago Vista or Austin. Oak wilt became a problem in the community and talk about rising and falling water levels on Lake Travis was ongoing. Newsletters from the 1980s and 1990s either asked for prayers for rain or detailed all the damage done by storms or floods. Growth, though sporadic, was happening. Full-time population in 1999 was 424. On the approximately 1100 properties in Point Venture, there were 193 townhouses and 185 individual homes. Fifty-two percent of those 378 homes were occupied on a full-time basis.
After months of discussions, debates and information gathering and sharing, the community of Point Venture held an election on Sat., Aug. 12, 2000, to decide whether or not the community would be incorporated as a Type B general law municipality, to be known as the Village of Point Venture. All qualified voters residing within the boundaries of the area to be incorporated were entitled to vote. Property owners carried on debates on the merits and pitfalls of becoming an incorporated village. The most mentioned “pro” for incorporation was the ability to control the destiny of this community, by preventing annexation by another city. Revenues from property taxes, franchise fees and sales taxes would be spent on village enhancements and infrastructure repair. “Cons” focused on the presumed undesirable effect of another level of government, and more taxation. In a special election held on Aug. 12, 2000, voters approved the incorporation of the Village of Point Venture, 150-43. The 193 votes represented 60 percent of the 324 “active” voters on the voter registration list. An early order of business was the election of Mayor, five aldermen and a marshal on Nov. 7, 2000. Terry Hickman, a PV homeowner since 1973, and a full-time resident since his 1999 retirement, was elected the first Mayor of the Village of Point Venture. The first aldermen were Mary Edwards, Don Hestand, Joe Nesheim, Ed Stuart, and Jim Strong. Joe Solpietro was the first elected marshall.
The Front Gate
From the beginning of the development of Point Venture, the community was a gated community. All cars stopped at a closed gate until security personnel allowed them through. At some point in the 1990s, property owners could place a PV sticker on the windshield and were waved through quickly. For almost 30 years, the type and effectiveness of the security personnel varied, but the gate remained. Around 1998, a Point Venture resident complained to the POA Board that invited guests were put through unnecessary scrutiny and consequently the resident filed a complaint to the Travis County Commissioner’s Court. The argument was that the roads are public, therefore the POA had no right to forcibly stop vehicles at the gate. The argument, it turned out, had validity. When built in the early 1970s, PV roads were not up to standard and were never accepted by the County for maintenance purposes. However, the developer had dedicated the roads to the public. In a 2002 newsletter to property owners, Jim Strong, PVPOA president at the time, explained that the subdivision was stuck with the worst of situations of having to spend private money (PVPOA Club funds) to reconstruct public roads when the developer turned the duties of the Association over to the property owners in 1985. After the resident’s complaint, the Board investigated privatizing the roads. That action required 100 percent support of all 1,100 or so property owners. Since the Board was aware of one dissenter, for certain, the cost and effort of putting together the election seemed futile. Consequently, the gate was removed. Professional security personnel continue to assist visitors at the gate and patrol the community. Surveillance cameras at the entrance assist police investigations when problems do arise.
The 50-90 acre (depending on lake levels) park in Point Venture has served as a gathering spot for property owners since the beginning. The park exists because it is subject to flooding when the lake rises above “full.” In the 1970s, property owners frequented the park for picnics, boat launching, and to watch Bubba Brandenberger’s ski shows. The cove on the north side of the park, just beyond the entrance, was known as Picnic Cove in those days and was the site for the ski ramp used in the weekly summer ski shows. When lake levels dip, the park expands toward the southwest when the “island” rises above the water. The emerging sand bar at first requires boats or wading to access, but becomes a huge peninsula of white sandy beach when the lake reaches about 660’. The “island” then morphs to the “beach” that provides great opportunities for fun and gatherings by land and by boat, becoming a nice consolation prize in times of drought and consequent low lake levels. During the construction of the golf course in the 1970s, developers used the sand from this peninsula to form the greens. Picnic tables, benches, portable bathrooms, a gazebo, play areas, all appeared gradually throughout the 1990s and early 2000s with volunteer effort, donations and POA funds. Proceeds from the PV Recycling Program, headed by resident Rich Witmer, funded several of the earlier installations. Structures and amenities in the park are limited due to periodic flooding. To restrict access to property owners and guests, POA installed an electronic gate in 2003. Because the park is owned solely by the POA, that area of Point Venture can be legally restricted.
The Volunteer Fire Department
(Thanks to Ed Stuart for providing this information) Lago Vista Fire and Rescue (ESD-1) formed officially in 1992, and included Point Venture volunteers. Chief Andy Penski became the department’s first chief in 1996. Other chiefs followed and soon the LV department added coverage for Jonestown. In 1992, the Point Venture fire station was located adjacent to the first hole of the golf course and dedicated to Ben and Bess Templin. Ben was one of the original founders of the LV Fire department. In 2005, LV Fire and Rescue (ESD-1) merged with North Shore Fire and Rescue (ESD-7), forming one ESD-1 to provide emergency services for the entire west side of Lake Travis. As of 2012, Travis County EMS System operates two EMS facilities in ESD-1, with facilities in Jonestown and ESD-1 Station 103 in Lago Vista. Fires have destroyed several homes in Point Venture, starting in the 1970s, though some records are anecdotal. Townhomes suffered the most fires, along with at least three individual homes over the decades. The most destructive fires in terms of properties lost occurred in 1994 and 2013. Longtime PV property owner Mike O’Toole recalled a townhome fire, in the days before there was a fire department, fought by dozens of local residents armed with hoses. Residents in the days before a trained volunteer department deemed keeping people and property safe a community obligation, noted O’Toole. In March 2012, PV Mayor Cristin Cecala dedicated the newly located and constructed Fire Station 105, North Lake Travis and Rescue, ESD-1, constructed on POA land directly in front of the entrance to Point Venture. This project was the result of intergovernmental cooperation among the PVPOA, the Village of Point Venture and the PV Water Control Independent District (WCID). To contain costs, Point Venture volunteers completed the interior work of the new station. Resident Roy Ables headed up a team of volunteers who logged more than 900 hours of manual labor to finish out the building’s interior. Much of that labor was completed in the harsh heat of the record-breaking summer of 2011. A true community project, many individuals and entities participated in the construction. Ed Stuart, longtime community leader and volunteer firefighter, acknowledged the following: WCID support staff; John Franz, WCID director, volunteer fire fighter, and project construction manager; Richard Welcher, WCID General Manager and volunteer firefighter; and, Winston Cave, PV resident who donated and installed the station’s kitchen. Stuart pointed out that many PV residents donated furniture and supplies. The POA remodeled the former fire station adjacent to the golf course to serve as a golf maintenance building. PV Volunteer Firefighters 1992-2012 Maria Allred, Russell Andrews, Wade Aubin, Zane Carson, Winston Cave, Chad Christianson, John Franz, Chris Laird, Tommy Low, Steven Meeks, Carlos Platero, Cookie Poe, John Potts, Brian Probst, Joe Putman, Kevin Sheffer, JR Sosa, Roger Stroms, Ed Stuart, Richard Welcher.
Over the years, residents introduced some smaller amenities, many of which have become popular staples for the community. Library Begun in 1991 as a “book swap,” the PVPOA library has grown into an attractive library and reading room. Most books are used and donated by residents, but in recent years, the POA purchased some new titles to place on shelves. Volunteers regularly re-shelf and tidy the collections in the library, which is situated in a small section of the former “Venture Room” restaurant, adjacent to the workout room. Users, who must have card access to the room, can take a book out to read on the honor system. Donated books can be left on the “incoming” shelf in the library and will later be categorized and shelved by the volunteers. It’s not unusual to find a resident working or reading at the conference table in the pleasant, quiet space. Workout Room/Game Room Also started in 1991, the workout space/game room was carved out of the dining area of the former Venture Room restaurant. Other than cleaning out the space, little was spent at first on developing the gym/game room. Property owners donated treadmills, stationary bikes, free weights that were likely collecting dust after ambitious efforts of getting in shape had failed. A ping pong table and a few other amusements appeared too, with the hope that teens with too much time on their hands while on their PV vacations would stay happily engaged in one space. This arrangement sufficed until the PV population grew, younger families settled in the community, and retirees sought ways to get or stay fit. During the new millennium’s first decade, the POA allocated funds to improve the space and now the gym includes new, sophisticated, exercise equipment that satisfies any fitness buff. Like the library, access is controlled and for property owners and guests only. Social Life Since most social events require volunteers to organize, some events don’t remain permanently on the events calendar. Several activities, however, have been on the activity calendars for a very long time. Pot Luck Dinners — Even the earliest PV newsletters mentioned periodic pot luck dinners and this activity remains a favorite today. Organized by volunteers, anyone in the community is invited to bring a dish to share one Friday a month (except during the summer). The gathering is in the Club Room and is open to anyone in the village. Christmas Tree Lighting — Santa finds his way to Point Venture every year since the early 2000s. A combination of volunteers and paid support staff decorate the village with lighted trees and wreaths and the club room sparkles with beautiful decorations, mostly purchased by a volunteer activity committee. Usually a date in the first week of December is designated as the official Tree Lighting and Santa Arrival. Santa has come to town riding in golf carts and fire trucks. Easter Egg Hunt — Residents’ children and grandchildren have enjoyed PV’s colorful Easter Egg Hunts in the park, along with a visit from the Easter Bunny, who also sometimes arrives on a fire truck. Some years, the adults and children enjoy breakfast foods at the park, as well. 4th of July Celebrations — In the 1970s and some years in the 1980s, Point Venture gathered in the parking lot of the Club Room for BBQ or some type of food and, for several years, live music and dancing in the parking lot. In the 1990s, Point Venture built floats to ride in the Lago Vista parade. In the early 2000s, an activity committee formed to raise money and plan and execute a golf cart parade through the village, followed by free hot dogs, snow cones, face painters, water slides and bouncy houses. The management of this event has changed hands a few times, but the parade, hot dogs and children’s activities continue and are highly anticipated every year. Fall Festivals — A newer event, the Fall Festival invites residents to the park for bratwurst and sides and children can visit a petting zoo. Bridge groups have always thrived in Point Venture, some playing in the club room and others in private homes. Golf has formal men’s and women’s associations while present day tennis groups are informal. In 2005, the Point Venture Lions Club formed and quickly grew to membership of 60 men and women. The Lions Club, which meets in the club room twice each month, contributes hundreds of volunteer hours and considerable funds to numerous projects in the community as well as to state and national programs within its scope of commitment.
One of the first fixtures and biggest attractions in the Point Venture development, the Point Venture marina has moved from the main body of the lake to the cove and back out to the lake again when water levels drop. Improvements, repairs and enhancements continued throughout its history. In 2008, the largest marina improvement project undertaken since the original development, resulted in 163 marina slips, including more slips for larger boats and new breakwaters. Though non-property owners used to be able to lease slips, that policy changed as the community grew and slips became more in demand. Most years there is a waiting list for slips. After the 2008 renovation, the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) listed the PV marina as one of the premiere marinas on the lake in terms of facilities and responsible ownership. A ship’s store has been part of the marina infrastructure from the beginning, selling gasoline and boating supplies, and initially renting small sailboats for recreation. For many years in its past, the ship’s store included a mechanic, either on-site or on-call. More recently, the store focuses on gasoline sales, snacks and souvenir items. Since 1992, a floating restaurant has been attached to the marina, with its name and management changing three times.
Shades... The Pier... The Gnarly Gar
PV Marina manager Larry Muske opened Shades, a floating restaurant with a Key West flare, in 1992. Immensely popular with Lake Travis boaters and Point Venture residents, Shades brought favorable attention to the north shore and Point Venture, in particular. Open only in the summer months, Shades had a full bar and served standard “lake food” fare of hamburgers and Tex-Mex, with some fish dishes and entreé salads included. Aside from the festive atmosphere and the food, the most popular attraction to the restaurant were the swarms of giant catfish that begged for leftover food. Any food would do. In 2006, the Board sought a new lease agreement that would bring more revenue to POA coffers, but negotiations with Muske failed. After seeking bids from interested restauranteurs, the Board approved a lease with partners who formerly operated The Pier on Lake Austin. After some remodeling, The Pier on Lake Travis opened in 2006, serving a slightly different menu from Shades and featured live music on weekends. The Pier operated year-round, though only on weekends in winter and early spring. When the owners of The Pier retired from the restaurant business in 2010, one of their partners leased the restaurant and renamed it The Gnarly Gar. Like its predecessor, The Gnarly Gar attracts popular musicians that play for the large weekend crowds. Because of its favorable location in the main body of the lake, protected by breakwaters, The Gnarly Gar is one of the very few eateries still open on the almost-historically low lake. The giant catfish are still a big attraction.
It takes a village to run the PVPOA. Depending on needs and projects, ad hoc committees form and then disband when the project is complete. Many of the standing committee, though, have remained constant since the VYCC days. Architectural Control Committee — The only standing committee that is elected by POA membership governs new construction as well as additions and alterations to structures in the Point Venture residential community. The committee derives its authority from the Declarations of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions applicable to and binding upon all of the real property in Point Venture. The Deed Restrictions empower the PV-ACC as the sole and final administrative body for administering architectural approval of improvement constructed on lots in Point Venture. The purpose of the PV-ACC is to protect the property values in Point Venture. Other current standing committees are Marina, Golf, Historical. The duties of these committees are self-explanatory, though depending on problems or repair/improvement projects, some of these committees are quite busy with evaluations and oversight.
Life in Point Venture in 2013 is truly a holiday everyday! New homes are going up throughout the village, more young families are moving in, bringing a vibrancy to the community. Point Venture definitely looks prosperous. While the lake level is near historic lows, Point Venture boaters can still get to their boats in the marina and the “island” beach at the park rivals some Florida shores. Approximately 830 people live here, though not all permanently. There are still many undeveloped, wooded lots scattered about, but the community now looks more like, well, a community. Neighbors still help each other, volunteers pick up litter and help build community structures such as the new fire station. Golf carts are the preferred means of transportation around the village, though new safety regulations became necessary as people became a tad reckless with the seemingly innocuous vehicles. Golf reigns as the most popular activity with boating, tennis and bridge following closely. Point Venture attracts reclusive residents who want to enjoy the silence of north shore living and others who cherish the camaraderie of like spirits who make this lovely place their home. Everyone looks forward to the July 4th parade and celebration, delights in the sparkling Christmas lights in the village, and children run to the park on Easter weekend to hunt eggs and see the Easter Bunny. On any given weekend and holiday you’ll find families in the park, under the gazebo and at the scattered picnic tables making memories. Grandparents make a ritual of driving their grandchildren in the golf cart to the fantastic playscape at the park. Many children believe the wooded trails threading the park take them through a magical forest where they can discover treasures. But for many of the newer residents who found Point Venture serendipitously, perhaps the best way to understand the attraction of this point in the lake is to engage in conversation some of the earliest property owners who still live here. When you find one, listen. You can still hear the combo playing, the cocktail glasses clinking in the lounge, see the spray from the skiers pulled by vintage Chris Craft and Century boats, marvel at the dark skies filled with stars, feel the summer breezes rustle through the cedars. Little did Canfield and Cummings know when they bought these 989.07 acres in 1969, but they made magic.