In the mid 1930s, the government allowed the CCC to create a small lake as a bulge in the Ambrose Brook that ran from Piscataway through Middlesex, NJ and down through parts of Bound Brook to end up in the Raritan River. They gov't named it Creighton Lake, or Lake Creighton, and nearby, houses were eventually built that were included in Creighton Manor.
There were two islands full of flowering trees that were beautiful in Spring and a wooden bridge at the narrowest end to enable people to cross to the other side where the elementary school was, still some distance away.
The workers created a "boat house" cobbled out of stone and at the other end, a small construction, similar to a pergola and castle (depends on how you looked at it and how young you were) that in Spring was covered with wisteria vines. This was beyond a small dam and relief valve that could keep the raging waters of the lake from flooding.
All in all, the lake was beautiful, the islands were beautiful, the park that contained these man-made structures was beautiful, and lined with forsythia bushes and some fruit trees. There were many open areas in which to fulfill dreams of dragons and army men and baseball heroes.
In later years, however, due to hurricanes and nor'easters, the lake would overflow its banks.
The first big flood I remember, my older brother had gotten a rubber raft for his birthday in July. It was tied onto the railing of the cellar stairs to get it out of the way. When we woke up that morning after the violent storm, the raft was floating in over a foot of water. We rode that raft around the cellar before we bailed the water out back into the swollen lake.
At these times, the water table rose and with it, the water in the cellar of our little house on the next street, the one that bordered on the park. I have written about the flooding several times.
The lake became more threatening after Hurricane Donna. It covered the park road and definitely got into the cellar of our little house. Things in the cellar were ruined. This kept happening with the biggest storms, but my mother worried as she checked the lake level against some sort of raised sewer thing across the lake. She worried about the cellar and would dash downstairs to make sure that everything was off the floor so she would only have to mop up the dirty water.
Hurricane Floyd ruined the sheetrock walls and reached the top step of the cellar stairs. Everything floated up. She refused to abandon her house, though, and when the water receded, my younger brother and sister in law managed to get rid of the damaged sofa, piano, rugs, whatever, in the cellar for her. It was quite a cleanup.
Mom never trusted the lake again.
Now that she is gone, and her ashes need a place to go, I intend to throw some into the lake. Sort of sweet revenge.