This house, built by the L & N Railroad, was the caretaker’s home that overlooked Radnor Lake and was occupied by the Bakers, then the McElyea family.
The first caretaker of Radnor Lake. JK Baker was employed by the L & N Railroad as a caretaker for the lake and dam. He did so until his death in 1946.
Carrie McElyea watched over Radnor Lake from her cottage next to the lake for 33 years. When Radnor Lake became a State Natural Area, Mrs. McElyea remained the caretaker as a State employee and continued in that role until she retired on March 31, 1979. Through those years, Mrs. Mac raised her children and helped raise her grandchildren, while enforcing the rules that protect Radnor Lake. Carrie McElyea died on August 14, 2007 at age 94.
Jesse McElyea and his registered bloodhounds that he used to assist local law enforcement agencies.
Mrs. Mac in her early years at Radnor Lake.
Mr. and Mrs. McElyea before becoming caretakers of Radnor Lake.
Jesse and Carrie McElyea were Radnor Lake’s devoted caretakers for more than 30 years. They moved to Radnor in 1946 when the previous caretaker died of a rattlesnake bite. Jesse had worked for the railroad as a bridge painter prior to moving to Radnor Lake, but became unable to continue that work when he developed lead poisoning from the silver paint used extensively on the railroad.
Jesse and Carrie McElyea were both private investigators and raised bloodhounds on the property. When necessary, they would use the hounds to search for escaped convicts and missing people. Jesse McElyea was killed in 1957 during one of those missions. After the death of her husband, Carrie McElyea remained at Radnor Lake as Caretaker.
Mrs. Mac (Carrie) was an entertaining storyteller and would share tales of her life at Radnor. She would often tell of arresting illegal fisherman and handcuffing them to the swing on the front porch. While waiting for the police, Mrs. Mac was known to prepare food and “visit” until the authorities arrived.
Another story that has endured was that of Mrs. Mac seeing a huge alligator walking down the drive from the swampy parts of Radnor Lake. The legend is that Mrs. Mac pulled out a shotgun, killed the alligator, skinned it, and hung its hide on the front porch to dry before selling it.