On these pages, the directors of Friends of Lake of the Woods (FLOW) are hoping that residents and visitors to this site will enjoy some reminiscing about the origins of Lake of the Woods (LOW), a planned community in Orange County, Virginia. This may include information about LOW itself, Orange County, the surrounding battlefields, and its earliest residents. Much of my information comes from Germanna Road Three Hundred Year History of Lower Orange County, Virginia, by Dr. Peter G. Rainey. Dr. Rainey is a former resident of Lake of the Woods and has been of help with this project. I encourage you to purchase his book on Amazon.
The story of Lake of the Woods begins in September 1966 with “lakebuilder” Thomas J. Perine, age 36, chairman of Indianapolis’ U.S. Land, Inc. who liked to say that “people have the same motivation to go to water as birds have to fly south in the winter.” Perine had only been to Virginia once; and had already finished lake projects near Chicago (Lake Arrowhead) and Cleveland when he set sights on building a 500-acre lake here.
Perine liked to find a rural valley near a metro area that had a freshwater stream that could be dammed. He would try to finish the project within a year to keep speculators from driving up prices. He also included roads, country clubs, tennis courts, pools, and golf courses…within a few hundred feet of everyone’s lot. He had the foresight to protect everyone’s property value and made sure that all deed restrictions were very tight.
In an interview with The Washington Post, he also explained the beauty of his operation, “We must have a site that is right, where natural valleys can be filled from natural streams after a dam is built… We are determined to save every tree that we can. A man can lose a job by cutting down the wrong tree.”
Boise Cascade bought U.S. Land, Inc. in July 1967 and Thomas Perine founded a new company in the Bahamas to work on resort complexes. He died shortly thereafter.
Next Up: Jim C. Foote and Virginia Wildlife Clubs, Inc.