Every lakeshore property owner knows that you cannot build out into the lake. Six hundred and sixty feet above sea level is considered full reservoir. Except for docks, ramps, and marine railways--all of which must have a permit--no permanent structure may extend over or below the contour line of 660 feet. Seawalls, boathouses, and all dwellings must be above elevation 660.

In recent years the lake level has been relatively steady; rarely does it fall more than a few feet below 660. But there was a time, however, not so many years ago, when the lake level fluctuated quite a bit. Even in the summer months, the lake could drop ten feet or more.

Perhaps it was during a dry summer some two or three decades ago that a mistake was made. In engineering lingo, it's known as a survey bust. Someone purchased land for a homesite near mile marker 5 on the north shore. Surveyors staked out the 660 line, or so they thought. The contractor poured the concrete foundation and walls. The interior rough-in would come next, then windows. It never got that far. The lake began to rise, right on up to 660, which was about four feet higher than the floor of the house!

An accommodation was made with Ameren, since a good deal of money was already spent on the structure. What was intended to be the second floor of the house now became the first floor, and yet another floor was built above that. Both new floors were built behind and above the 660 line.

The home is called Chateau d'Lac, Lake Cottage, for good reason. It's a very nice house--complete with the area's largest indoor/outdoor pool!


Copyright © 2004 by Michael Gillespie. All rights reserved.