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Lake Ronkonkoma

Lake Ronkonkoma

A Brief History: Located on Long Island, New York is a large kettle lake called Lake Ronkonkoma. Being about two miles in circumference and around ½ mile in width, it is the largest lake on Long Island. While most of the lake is approximately 15 feet deep, there are areas where it is much deeper, with the deepest section being approximately 65 feet deep. The word Ronkonkoma comes from the Algonquian language and translates to “the boundary fishing place.” The name came from the fact that the area was a boundary for the Nissequogue, Setauket, Secatogue, and Unkechaug Native American tribal lands.

Lake Ronkonkoma started becoming settled in the 1740s by colonists. Other, nearby areas started in the 1600s. In the latter half of the 19th century people began coming to Lake Ronkonkoma to visit the lake beaches. In response, beach pavilions, snack stands, and other forms of entertainment were constructed. The Long Island Railroad decided to create a train station there in 1883. In 1911, the Long Island Motor Parkway was completed. This roadway connected the growing hamlet of Lake Ronkonkoma with the Queens section of New York City. The area became the place to spend the summer for New York City’s wealthy and elite. Until the 1930s the lake area was popular with hunters during the warm summer months. Eventually the area started becoming more mainstream and less exclusive. As the area grew it changed from being a resort town to a regular community, perhaps losing some of its special “magic” that made it unique.

Haunted History: Lake Ronkonkoma is also known for its stories involving the paranormal. Many of these tales center on a Native American princess. In some of the stories there was a princess who was in love with a white colonist. They were supposed to marry, but something happens in which it is prevented. In one story the colonist is killed by natives, while in another it was by a colonist. Another story has the chief of the tribe banning his daughter, the princess from marrying a white man. The end of many of the stories is the same. The princess is overcome with grief and decides that she can’t live with the pain. She rows her canoe out into the lake and ties a rock to her body. She then vows to avenge her inability to marry her love by once a year taking the life of a young man by drowning him in the lake. Once her vow is spoken she throws herself from her canoe and disappears into the depths of lake. There have been many years where someone has drowned in Lake Ronkonkoma. In addition to the princess legends people also report seeing others ice skating out on the lake. However, when they look more closely they notice that the skaters are dressed in older style clothes, and in some cases the lake surface isn’t frozen.

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