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2001 Castaway Island Road
Eclectic, AL 36024

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The History of Anchor Bay

Anchor Bay Marina is a small, quiet marina on Lake Martin, better known as “Alabama’s Crown Jewel.” Our location is in a sheltered cove that provides us with unprecedented wind and boat wake protection. On March 1, 2006 an affiliate of Vinings Marine Group acquired Anchor Bay Marina, a 14 acre facility with a 240 dry stack storage building and 51 wet slips, a ship’s store, restaurant, boat sales, fuel dock, and full service center with certified technicians.

Lake Martin is a 44,000 acre lake with 180 miles of shoreline located in East Central Alabama. Lake Martin was created in the 1920’s when the Tennessee Valley Authority built Martin Lake dam. Prior to the VMG acquisition, ABM was owned by Don and Martha Seibert. In 1999, upon the purchase of Castaway Island, the name was changed to Anchor Bay Marina. A 1959 Advertiser article reported that “Idle Ground Developed into a Tiny Coney Island” at Lake Martin.

Castaway Island became a favorite lake spot. The newspaper said it had been “just a 300 acre idle hunk of real estate, jutting out like a massive three-pronged fork into the waters of Lake Martin until Cooper Crossley realized its potentialities and transformed it into the miniature Coney Island it is today.” During the 1950’s, Crossley and his family moved cottages, built a bathhouse and docks, and set up a miniature train ride, concession stand, and a dance pavilion that had a “mechanical waterfall” that operated when the juke box played. The Crossley’s pets, including ponies, turtles, a monkey, and a bear, which later worked as a television stand-in for “Gentle Ben,” entertained visitors. People could rent paddleboats and inner tubes as well as boats. Residents of Lake Martin thought “Castaway was Lake Martin.”

“The Making of America Series” Lake Martin Alabama’s Crown Jewel by Elizabeth D. Shafer.