Oct 232013
 

Lake Ronkonkoma

There are countless legends and mysteries woven within Long Island’s rich history. One of the oldest and most enduring concerns Lake Ronkonkoma and the tragedy that befell a Native-American princess. If you grew up in the surrounding area in the 1970s, you are undoubtedly aware of this ominous Lady of the Lake.

The picturesque shores of Lake Ronkonkoma have captivated locals and visitors for centuries. In the early 1900s, it was a popular resort, thanks in no small part to William Vanderbilt, who built his own private road from Manhattan to Lake Ronkonkoma. The wealthy traveled the treacherous Motor Parkway on the weekends and recuperated at the lake, swimming, fishing and staying at one of the many inns that dotted the shore.

But the history of Lake Ronkonkoma goes back much farther. Around the 1600s, it served as an official border to the territory of three indigenous tribes. Its original name, Raconkamuck, meant “boundary fishing place” in the Algonquin language. That much is known as fact. The legend, however, begins with a Princess, believed to be of the Setauket tribe … and that’s one of the few aspects to the story that people agree upon. From there, the tragic tale is recounted in dozens of ways.

Some say her name was “Ronkonkoma,” others say it was “Tuscawanta.” Either way, she supposedly fell in love with a white settler, much to her father’s disapproval. He forbid her from seeing the man, but the two lovers continued to meet, according to some legends. Others say that she sent him notes that she floated across the mile-wide lake.

Some legends say that she rowed a boat across the lake to meet her love, but drowned along the way. Others say that he was the one who drowned trying to meet her. As a result, some say, she committed suicide. Regardless, the end result was the same. A curse was placed on the Lake, one that would claim a young male victim every year. The cause of death is either the Princess yanking them underneath the murky waters, or a mysterious whirlpool that sucks them deep into the abyss.

The legend might have died out long ago, except for the pesky fact that many young males have drowned in Lake Ronkonkoma over the years. Now, the skeptics may point out that people die in practically every lake each year, but this lake does seem to have an inordinate fondness for young male victims, all of whom allegedly resemble the Princess’s lost love. There have even been a few sightings of ghostly Princess apparitions over the years. She has reportedly been seen raising her arms in the center of the lake at night, and even trying to lure young men with her persuasive powers to their watery graves.

The Princess isn’t the only legend associated with Lake Ronkonkoma. Most kids have heard at one time or another that the Lake is bottomless. Some even say that it leads to the Long Island Sound and that victims who drown in the lake are often found along the ocean shoreline. None of this is true. The lake does indeed have a bottom. While much of Lake Ronkonkoma is only 10-15 feet deep, however, there are some very deep areas, as much as seventy feet. There are also legends that say that the lake once connected to the north shore, and that it was a favored place for pirates to store their loot. Those stories are pretty unlikely as well. But the one legend that persists, the Lady of the Lake, does so because, just about every year, Lake Ronkonkoma claims the life of a young male, either while swimming, or occasionally by falling through the ice. And it is doubtful that those stories will subside anytime soon.

Have you taken a swim in Lake Ronkonkoma and lived to tell the tale. Do you have any spooky circumstances you would like to share with everyone? We’d love to hear all of your memories of this infamous body of water in our comments section below.

  12 Responses to “Lake Ronkonkoma”

  1. It was the best place to take ur GF at nite..

  2. Moved to the area in 1958..In the early 60’s school kids from Sachem and St. Joseph would swim at Raynors beach and Suffolk Beach. Yerks beach on the west side was for Smithtown residents.

  3. I grew up in lake ronkonkoma the version I heard was that her lover was from a nearby tribe also heard that there was a whirlpool in middle of lake and lake was a thousand feet deep.
    I remember the barvarian inn on the lake.

  4. Anyone remember ‘The Duke and the Dutchess’? They ‘took’ me and my brother one day on a forced march/bike hike and showed us Nazi uniforms, guns and helmets in garbage cans hidden is a shallow ‘bunker’ covered with plywood and dirt…at least 50 years ago.

  5. I grew up going to that lake in the 70s. My dad used to take me iceboating and I learned to ice skate there. However most surprisingly I never heard of the story. Very interesting. I guess my parents didn’t want to scare me.

  6. Grew up on Lincoln rd in the 60’s, I sure miss the lake, a lot of good memories, my buss stop was right on the lake, is there really a movie out? If so I want to get it!

  7. If anyone is interested I have written a book for Arcadia Publishing titled Lake Ronkonkoma. I wrote a chapter that focused on the beaches and pavilions from the 1920’s into the 1960’s. I’m trying to obtain more photo’s of the lake during the 1960’s-1980’s. Possibly for a second book. If anyone has info or pictures from that period please contact me through e-mail Sardonic7276@aol.com

  8. Back in the 80’s, my friend Jean and I had a pet buffalo in Ronkonkoma.

    We kept him on Hawkins Road across from the pancake cottage. (There’s a nursery there now.)

    The story attracted news shows and papers all over the country. (We were always interviewed for some media, even CNN and FOX!)

    We even wrote a book about it and distributed it to school children who came to see the buffalo on class trips.

    • I remember your buffalo. My friends and I would always pass your house while walking to town. I remember when you put up guard rails. Rumor had it she got out and the town forced you to put it up but that came from hearsay. One of my fond memories of growing up in Ronkonkoma

  9. I need some information ,the lake will be open today? Sunday July 31

  10. I did not grow up in Ronkonkoma ,we grew up in Kew Gardens Queens, but my family snd 3 other famlies would drive out at 5:30 in the morning to spend the entire day and early evening . We came prepared to hsve all 3 meal together and msny hours of swimming. We had to go get our hsnd stsmped yo get to seim. There was a big tall slide in the water and we loved going down into the water. We spend many good times out there, especially because i was one of 6 and my parents were poor. In todays language this was our vacation. We still sit and reminise of those good old days. It sounded so far away when driving out there. Who ever thought we eould live on long island? I actually have a son, daughter in law and 2 grandsons who live in Ronkonkoma along with a number of friends.

  11. I did not grow up in Ronkonkoma ,we grew up in Kew Gardens Queens, but my family snd 3 other famlies would drive out at 5:30 in the morning to spend the entire day and early evening . We came prepared to have all 3 meal together and many hours of swimming. We had to go get our hand stamped to get to swim. There was a big tall slide in the water and we loved going down into the water. We spend many good times out there, especially because i was one of 6 and my parents were poor. In todays language this was our vacation. We still sit and reminise of those good old days. It sounded so far away when driving out there. Who ever thought we would live on long island? I actually have a son, daughter in law and 2 grandsons who live in Ronkonkoma along with a number of friends.

 Leave a Reply

Viagra Pill For Sale
Buy Viagra Internet
Cheapest Cialis
Buy Now Viagra
Buy Viagra 100MG
Buy Viagra Online Without Prescription
Buy Viagra Pills
Buy Viagra Com
Buy Viagra Detroit
Viagra for Sale
Cheapest Viagra Tablets
Buy Cheapest Viagra
Where TO Buy Viagra Online
Cheap Viagra Online
Best Place To Buy Viagra
Non Prescription Viagra
Cheap Pill Viagra
Pfizer Viagra Free Samples
Buy Viagra Without Prescription
Buy Cialis Online
Cheap Websites For Viagra
Discount Viagra Sales