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100 Year Flood Level:  721.00 ft.
Mean High Water:  715.30 ft.
Length: 19.6 miles
Maximum Width:  1.9 miles
Maximum Depth:  183 ft.
Area:  11,584 acres
Current Lake Level
Current Water Temperature


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"Keuka" is the name the Seneca people gave to the lake, roughly translated to mean "Canoe Landing".  Early settlers named her "The Crooked
Lake".  In the late 1800's the wine industry began to flourish and the vintners felt that Crooked Lake was not a very elegant name to be associated
with fine wines.  The name of the lake was officially changed to Keuka in 1887.


Keuka Lake has the distinction of
being the only lake in the country
that flows both North and South.  
Water entering from Coldbrook Inlet in Hammondsport flows North to Penn Yan.
Water entering from Guyanoga Creek Inlet in
Branchport flows South through the
West branch of the "Y", then heads North to
Outlet Creek in Penn Yan.


American composer and bandleader Hoagy Carmichael was the pianist and vocalist at the Keuka Hotel in 1926 and 1927.  Local legend has it that it was here that he wrote his hit melody "Stardust" on a hotel napkin one lonely night.
 

In the late 1800's the Adirondack Region had become the most popular tourist destination in New York.   Each spring droves of tourists from New York City headed to the North Country lakes where they were greeted and fed upon by clouds of hungry mosquitoes.  In 1892 a group of businessmen in Hammondsport
attempted to redirect the seasonal crowds to Keuka Lake by announcing that they had imported a large colony of brown fruit bats which had devoured all of the area's mosquitoes. A stamp was produced
proclaiming that Hammondsport was "The town with no mosquitoes".  These were distributed locally with
instructions to attach them to all outgoing mail in an effort to spread the word.

Penn Yan was originally inhabited by an equal mix of equally  stubborn settlers from Pennsylvania and New England.  Having no official name it was referred to as "Unionville".  In 1810 the two groups met repeatedly to decide upon a name that would appease both factions. Suggestions included "Morrisville" and  "Pandemonium", to
reflect their inability to resolve the issue. A final meeting was held,
proceeded by "passing around a cask of whiskey".  Philemon Baldwin
spoke: "Gentlemen, if we cannot untie this knot we must cut it, - I
propose 'Penn Yan' - Penn for you Pennsylvanians, Yan for you
Yankees."  A final round from the cask sealed the deal.  The Village of Penn Yan was officially  incorporated on August 29, 1833.

During the "Moon of the Strawberry Harvest" (June), a Seneca man was crossing the lake with his wife and child when a sudden storm capsized their canoe.  The woman and child were lost to the depths.  The Seneca cursed the lake - "You have taken my family and I curse you always to be hungry.  You hunger for bodies, but they will rise to the surface and the wind will carry them to shore."

 
In 1790 Jemima Wilkinson, the self proclaimed "Publick Universal Friend" and first woman in America to found a religious sect arrived with 25 followers - "The Universal Friends".  She called their settlement on Outlet Creek "Hopeton".  She later purchased a tract near Branchport  "and we shall call this place "The City of Jerusalem."  The sect grew to 260 devoted followers.  Jemima's call to the cloth began at age 24, when she "died" after a brief illness. She stunned mourners by rising from her coffin announcing "I return to you, my brothers and sisters, a second Redeemer".
The fiery preacher offered to appease skeptics by repeating Christ's feat of walking on water.  Her followers gathered at the shore of the lake as Jemima arrived in her elaborate green carriage.  Following a rousing sermon on the subject of faith she queried "Do ye have faith?  Do you think I can do this thing? "  The crowd responded "We believe! We believe!" As she returned to her carriage Jemima said
 "Good; if ye have faith ye need no further evidence."
The "rickshaw"  was developed in the Keuka Lake suburb of  North Urbana, not in Japan.  In 1869 Jonathan Goble, an American missionary in Yokohama wrote home to area wagonmaker, Frank Pollay, asking Pollay to design and build "a two-wheeled, human-powered carriage" for Goble’s invalid wife.  The request was fullfilled and delivered, making the Rickshaw the first American vehicle exported to Japan.
 
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