History

The following condensed version of MOON LAKE RESORT’S HISTORY is the result of cooperative research efforts undertaken by a number of people, including Cristina Bailey, historical writer for the US Forest Service, Cris Clark Sorensen, daughter of long-time Resort owner, Cal Clark (1960s-1990s), Mr. Joe Kemp, son of Joseph H. Kemp, long-time Resort owner (1940s-1960s), Pam Helms, local Duchesne resident, historical researcher and Resort employee, Bill Reardon, the previous owner of Moon Lake Resort, plus many written and oral accounts, all gratefully appreciated in piecing the puzzle together.

Our collective History of Moon Lake Resort goes like this:

In 1925, the first special use permit was issued by the US Forest Service, allowing the establishment of a resort at Moon Lake. The first “lodge” was probably constructed around 1927-28 near the mouth of the Brown Duck Creek, in front of the current campground. The first cabins were probably built in 1928 by the Lee Alger family. It is unclear whether a second “lodge” building was constructed by the Algers at the Brown Duck location, but it is reasonably certain that a lodge burned down here in 1934, when “gasoline, instead of kerosene, was added to a wood-burning stove,” according to an Alger family member.

The construction of the Moon Lake Dam and reservoir, beginning in 1935, made it necessary to move the resort to its new, present location. The original cabins were moved to their present location in 1935 by a team of sturdy horses after a Model T failed at the task.

The June 28, 1935, special edition of the Uintah Basin Record newspaper reported, “the construction of new cabins which are to house the reclamation crew and which will later provide tourist accommodations. A new store, pool hall and beer parlor are now in operation here, to accommodate the workers and visitors.” The original building, referred to in the article, is the core structure of the lodge today–a single-story use structure with an unfinished upper level. The original beer “bar” remains in the lodge today.

Another article in this paper refers to CCC improvements of the recreation area at Moon Lake that seem to reference the additional cabin construction in 1935. It is believed that today’s cabins 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, & 10 were the cabins constructed by the CCC at this time.

The Alger family operated the resort until 1944 when it was sold to a local resident, Joseph H. Kemp. The Kemp family operated the resort until 1962, adding the most “modern” cabins, #7,9,11,12, 23 & 24 in the early 1950s. The Kemps also built additions on the lodge, currently used as a staff kitchen and sleeping areas, and installed small sleeping rooms in the upper level of the lodge, which are unused by the public today.

Cal Clark and six partners purchased the resort from Kemp in 1962. Cal, soon after, became the sole owner. Many family members, friends, locals, and Salt Lake school teachers managed the resort over various seasons during Clark’s ownership. In the early 1970s, bathroom facilities were added in or onto all but two of the 15 cabins in use today.

In 1994, Cal’s daughter, Kathy, formed a corporation with three other friends, titled Moon Lake Resort, Inc. Also, in 1994, the corporation hired Bill and Julie Reardon as co-managers of the resort. The Reardons assumed full General Manager duties in 1998 and by 2002, the Reardons acquired 100% shareholder interest in the business. In November of 2019, the Reardons sold the resort to the Gardners. They currently own and operate Moon Lake Resort under a Special Use Permit of the Ashley National Forest issued to them in 2020.

If you have any historical pictures and/or historical facts relating to Moon Lake, please send them to mail@moonlakeresort.com. We will be happy to add your pictures and information here on this page.