Privately Owned since 1962

The History of Shady Lakes

Text Box:      My father, Jim Phillips., bought Shady Lakes in 1962.  It was at a time in his life when he was kicking around for something different to do… He came home one day and told my mother, Joanne, that he had just bought a bait farm in the North Valley.  (At the time, the land was used to raise minnows and worms).  
     They had 5 small children (I am the youngest), and we left behind a large home in the Northeast heights.  It was quite an experience!  The night we moved in, my older sister, Jeanne, jumped into bed, and the bed went through the floor!  This is how we discovered that we had termites.
     The ponds were already here, although we combined five smaller ponds to create the two large colorful water lily lakes you see as you drive in.  In the beginning, my parents converted Shady Lakes from a bait farm into a place to go fishing and buy water lilies.  We drained the lakes and seined out the carp, suckers, and bullhead catfish.  (And we had Great Mud Fights!)  We brought in the first water lilies and restocked the ponds with rainbow trout, black bass, channel catfish, and bluegill.
     Shady Lakes was supposed to close in 1990 when my parents retired.  None of us kids seemed interested in keeping it open…  Through a series of circumstances (Long Story), I ended up back here for the summer working the water lily part of Shady Lakes.  (It was a time in my life when I was kicking around for something different to do…)  That summer, working around the lakes and the people here, listening to stories of what Shady Lakes meant to those who came here, convinced me that Shady Lakes ought never close to the public.
     We have been here for 50 years.  This was a great place to grow up.  Buying Shady Lakes was one of the best things my father ever did.

    - Jan Phillips
Text Box: Watch Out!  On Pond Patrol...
Text Box: Falling In Love
Text Box: way over in this direction, and then way over in that  direction… slowly untangling it from the mass of other lilies growing profusely in the pond.  
It took awhile.  Finally, I freed this huge plant and dragged it up on the bank.  It was SO big, the only way I could carry it was to hoist it on my shoulder and drag it behind me on the ground!  I was so impressed.  I remember this very clearly.  At that moment, I understood why my brothers and sisters so loved these plants. 
That was 35 years ago.  Still, these plants draw me in with their colorful, tranquil beauty. I wake each morning with them, feet up, sitting at the edge of my water garden, with a cup of caffeine and a cat on my lap, enjoying my lilies.
Not a bad way to start the day!                        - Jan Philllips
Text Box: More Shady Lakes History  1962-2012
I remember the day, the moment actually, when I fell in love with water lilies.  I was the youngest of five kids growing up at Shady Lakes.  For years I had watched all my older brothers and sisters get all excited about working with the lilies.  I remember thinking that, yes, they are pretty plants, but I really could not understand why they got so incredibly enthusiastic about them.  
Then one spring, there was nobody else to run the lilies. It was my turn, and I was mildly interested.  My older sister, Jill, taught me how to do all the digging and planting.  
One afternoon I was in the pond digging out lilies to plant for sale.  I was working on Comanche, which is a changeable variety whose flower turns from a creamy yellow to a salmon-bronze. Now this particular lily was just enormous!  The lily pads were way bigger than dinner plates, with flowers larger than a man’s outspread hand.  First I had to cut out the root system, which was the biggest I had ever seen.  Then I had to reach way out to pull in leaves and flowers from