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Crater That Gobbled House Named Lake Rose in Homeowner’s Honor

November 25, 1987

WINTER PARK, Fla. (AP) _ Mae Rose Owens lost her home to the Great Winter Park Sinkhole six years ago, so she thinks it only fitting that the giant water-filled crater that was created from it be named Lake Rose.

The property ″belonged to me when it was whole, so I think I should have that recognition,″ Mrs. Owens, 72, said after the City Commission officially adopted the name Tuesday.

The ground collapse on May 9, 1981, swallowed not only Mrs. Owens’ pink three-bedroom home, but also chunks of two streets, part of a municipal swimming pool and park, six cars, trees, power lines and other items.

The designation puts to rest the question of whether the cavity, 260 feet at its widest point, is a lake or just a water-filled hole.

The sinkhole cost the city more than $1 million, with much of the money going for filling and partially restoring the property, landscaping and security. It is now a park - with a lake called Rose.

Mrs. Owens said she still misses the old house and her possessions.

″I had been there for 40-some years. ... I try not to even go that way if I can help it.″

Residents of this Orlando suburb quickly began a fund, and with the help of insurance and $15,000 in donations, Mrs. Owens soon moved into a new home.

″Since the memories are fading, I would like for it to fade,″ she said. ″Every time you dig it up, that just makes it fresh.″

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