There's a lake in Southwest Oklahoma that gets low enough that you can explore the remnants of an old ghost town that normally lies beneath the water line.

The story is a little odd, but these are the facts.

As the story goes, The town of Lugert was founded on that spot in the mountains in 1901. It was little more than a rural townsite that supplied the area farms with a place to experience small amenities like a general store, post office, and a handful of other essential rural businesses.

In 1912, a tornado came through the area, destroying most of the town, and that was pretty much the end of that town. Not to say people didn't still live and work there but they weren't in any hurry to rebuild the damaged parts. Some moved away, others stayed, and life went on.

Sometime in the late 1920s, since SWOK is such a drought-stricken place so often, the City of Altus decided to damn up the North Fork of the Red River there in the mountains, right on the doorstep of Lugert. Not only would it provide a reliable water source for the area, Lugert instantly became a destination lake town on the shores of Lake Altus.

A Bridge Not Far Enough For The Dust Bowl 

As the region entered the Great Depression and the infamous 1930s Dust Bowl, it was apparent that Lake Altus wasn't big enough to be the reliable water source the growing area needed. Needed not only for household living, thirsty SWOK crops like wheat and cotton, plus the added population of the newly constructed Altus Army Corp Airfield (now Altus Air Force Base), that lake continually ran dry.

Sometime during The New Deal, with so many public works projects happening in SWOK, someone thought it would be a good idea to raise the height of the Lake Altus dam to obtain a bigger reservoir for the area.

A plan was talked about and outlined but then Pearl Harbor dragged the entire country into the second great war.

It wasn't until after WWII that Lugert was all but deserted and nothing stood in the way of progress. Crews added an additional fifty vertical feet to the dam, and the lake swallowed up what was left of the tiny turn-of-the-century boom town of Luggert.

Now, the larger abundance of water could not only provide for the population of people South in Altus but there was also enough to sell farmers water to irrigate their crops. Mainly cotton as is still the case today. The new lake was dubbed Altus-Lugert.

Since then, the lake has grown into one of the hidden gems of Oklahoma. Like most mountain lakes, even though the river is known for its reddish muddy color, the water above the dam is surprisingly clear most of the time. There's a little color for sure, it looks like tea in wet and average rainfall years.

When it's dry and the area succumbs to a deep drought, algae often cast ugly and potentially deadly blooms, but the old townsite once again emerges as water levels drop. Granted, it's mostly foundations, granite stone stem walls, and portions of sidewalks you can still walk around, but it's a neat place to explore alongside the lodge, campgrounds, and the kid's zone we all loved growing up.

If this sounds like a solid day-trip idea to you, believe me, it's cool... directions and a map of the townsite are in the gallery below.

Lake Altus-Lugert and SWOK's Underwater Ghost Town

Like most rare things, conditions have to be just right to see one of Oklahoma's hidden gems. In years of good and average rainfall, the lost town of Lugert stays buried beneath the waves... but in dry years, especially those stricken by drought, you can walk around this pre-statehood townsite while enjoying one of Oklahoma's prettiest areas, Quartz Mountain State Park.

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If you were looking to get pretty far from the hustle and bustle and had $3.5million burning a hole in your pocket, this Yellowstone-looking massive cabin home might be just the place for you.

Unlike most lake homes, this one looks very lived in full-time. The stocked pantry and full workshop really scream "Retirement Home" in my mind.

With just over 5300 square feet of living space, five well-appointed bedrooms, five bathrooms, two stories, a detached shop, plenty of lakefront, and your own personal dock... this looks like a dream out in the middle of nowhere. Unlike a lot of Oklahoma's most expensive homes, this one actually looks really well put together. Everything matches, one theme, etc... It's a rare case of the wealthy having good taste.

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10,000 square feet of total living space. Six bedrooms, seven baths, walls of glass offering panoramic views of picturesque Lake Texoma. A huge beachfront on four and a half acres. Add in the gourmet kitchen, screened sunroom, legit theater, and game rooms, an 80-foot observation tower, plus an elevator to ensure everyone can catch a vista-view, this would be a fantastic place to call home or have available for a weekend or two each year.

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