The origins of Lake Jacomo -- "Jacomo" as in "Jackson County, Mo." -- can be traced back to more than a quarter of a century before the May 1959 opening day. In 1932, Harry S. Truman, then Presiding Judge of Jackson County, called for a report to be prepared for a possible park development at what is now the site of Lake Jacomo.
But 20 years would pass before Presiding Judge Harry Fleming pushed the idea forward. In 1953, voters approved -- by better than a 3-to-1 margin -- a $3 million bond issue to develop the lake. Although funds from the County Park Levy were also needed to complete the project, which included land acquisitions, the clearing of trees and dam construction, no state or federal funds were involved.
Lake Jacomo is purely a local creation.
Since Lake Jacomo opened, Jackson County Parks & Recreation has made sure to keep the shine on the jewel.
The number of picnic shelters with views of the lake has doubled, and two marinas have been built. Missouri Town 1855, a living history museum recreating life in a mid-19th Century Missouri village, was constructed in the mid-1960s.
In the 1980s, the 3,400 acre park around Lake Jacomo doubled in size with the opening of Blue Springs Lake, and the park was given its name, Fleming Park, in honor of Presiding Judge Harry Fleming.
As Jackson County has grown in the half-century since Lake Jacomo opened, the lake has gone from being a rural getaway from the city to a suburban park -- a natural refuge in the midst of the metropolitan region.
Millions of people -- Jackson County residents, their neighbors from throughout the Greater Kansas City region and visitors from other states -- enjoy Lake Jacomo each and every year. The lake is still a great place to cast a line and try to reel in a fish, the public marinas are among the finest in Missouri, and sailors still embrace the challenge posed by Lake Jacomo's tricky winds.
Whether you go to Lake Fest, the big annual celebration, or just enjoy a quiet day with a blanket spread out on the shore, remember to say "thank you" to the two men named Harry -- Truman and Fleming -- who had the foresight to make what has become a wonderful contribution to the quality of life in Jackson County, Missouri.
Lake Jacomo is home to Lake Fest, Jackson County's annual kickoff to summer, featuring fun along the water (games, water balloon contests, rides); on the water (boat rides, a boat parade); and above the water (fireworks). Join the Lake Fest celebration of Lake Jacomo's 50th Anniversary June 20, 2009.
Lake Jacomo and its shoreline are a nature preserve with an abundance of wildlife.