Valentine Lakeside resort in Kingsland has been drawing families and friends to Lake LBJ for 65 years now. To celebrate, owners Pat Muller and Susan Patten are throwing a party from 6-9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, at the resort, 814 Euel Moore. It includes a free concert featuring The Gem Stones.
“We know many local folks have fond memories of Valentine, whether they stayed here before they bought their own lakehouse or they snuck into the pool as teenagers,” Muller said. “We want them to come celebrate the birthday with us.”
The campsite first opened as Bob’s Cabins in 1955 under the ownership of Dodie and Bob Schlagel. Millie and Jack Valentine purchased it and renamed it the Valentine Lodge in 1964. Other owners include Ruth An and Jerry Olmstead, Ruth and Paul Robertson, Kay and Dennis King, and Susan and John Carroll.
In 2016, Muller purchased the property and made a number of upgrades.
As part of the celebration, the resort will show longtime guest Ken Hoge’s music video celebrating Valentine Lakeside.
“On the drive back to Houston, I wrote the lyrics sitting in the car,” Hoge said of the song. “It tumbled out. I happened to sing it a cappella to Susan and Pat. Susan’s eyes teared up, and Pat’s eyes got as big as saucers. They put it to video; that’s a surprise to me.”
Hoge’s family on his mother’s side, the Dorroh family, has been returning to Valentine for 50 years. He can’t recall a year the family hasn’t gathered at Valentine, not even in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had one member of the family, my aunt, who really wanted to see everybody,” he said. “We wore masks and had separate rooms and met outside. I actually do a group photo every year. We shot it with masks on. That’s how important it was to us to meet.”
Helen January’s family, the Lewis clan, has visited the resort every
year for the past five decades.
“It’s a special place for all of us,” January said. “Grandparents can see everybody. You can swim or raft on the lake, and Pat and Susan are like family. It’s a pleasant place to get to know your family. It’s a way to have your family real close. It’s a special vacation for us.”
When it comes to the group with the longest legacy linked to the lodge, the award goes to the Harris family, whose members recall seeing President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Secret Service agents on the water nearby.
Chad Harris of Ralls, which is 35 miles east of Lubbock, said the first year he made the family trip to Valentine was in 1972, the year after he was born.
“From 1972 until the present day, I’ve been there every year,” he said. “Usually, I can explain things about the property to the new owners that they never knew about. The people who own it now are wonderful folks. They’re like family.”
It’s not just the owners with whom the Harris family bonds. Over the years, they’ve made friends with other guests.
“There’s a retired couple from Indiana who sent my kids coloring books,” Harris said. “There are tight-knit families at Valentine. Pat and Susan have rekindled that more so than the other owners have.”
Before they check out, many of the families book for the following year.
Muller said she feels honored to be entrusted with Valentine Lakeside’s legacy, one that has been defined by joy and survival.
“Since the day Bob and Dodie Schlagel opened for business, this dirt has offered a place of peace and happiness,” Muller said. “As the sixth owners, we are proud to build on its traditions and temperament. We’ve survived a flood, a pandemic, and an epic snowstorm, and we’re still here for families to make memories. That’s an occasion to celebrate.”