Outing at Avera’s Mill Pond (Lewis Lake)

Lewis Lake, site of today’s outing at 4PM, is Avera’s Mill Pond. According to Wenda Gaile Bailey, “there was a partial draining of the lake late last year”, but she checked the water level yesterday. Here’s some history, and some pictures from five years ago of what you may see today.

WG Bailey wrote for WG Bailey photos, unknown date, Old Fashioned Pond Draining at Lake Lewis,

Avera’s Mill Pond, the oldest and largest pond in Berrien County, was founded by William M. Avera, son of pioneer, Daniel Avera, covers 1470 acres, and was built in the 1870’s at a cost of $3800.87

The mill dam is located about four miles east of Nashville and was built across Ten Mile Creek, which flows from Ten Mile Bay. At the mill, meal and hominy were ground, rice was husked, lumber was sawed and cotton ginned.

Her story includes fascinating details about how the dam was built by hand, not even using mules.

Avera Mill Pond Letting Off by Jamie Connell

J. Lonnie Lewis bought the old Avera home around 1936, near the mill, and soon thereafter purchased the millhouse and water rights. Avera Mill Pond was named Lake Lewis by the new owner. The lake became a popular location for picnics, water sports, including a ski ramp, and for fishing. There was a restaurant housed in the mill, modified to accommodate its current use. In a room on the south side of the restaurant/former mill, William M. Avera’s initials, dated in the late 1800’s can be found.

The lake is now owned by Gail Beasley Milligan (Life Estate).