The Oberhelman name has been a big one in Park Hills since the 1930s, when the family ran Chappie’s Tavern on Dixie Highway’s original “gourmet strip.” But William Oberhelman had dreams of starting a pay-to-fish lake instead of joining the family business. In 1950 he purchased a 30-acre tulip farm in Florence and built several lakes on the property, including local icon Chap’s Lake, which is still a pay-to-fish lake today.
Thirty years later, William sold 10 acres to his son and daughter-in-law, Kenneth and Bobbie. The only structure on the property when Kenneth and Bobbie purchased it was a small cottage fronting Dixie Highway, so in 1985 the couple built the current home on a wooded, nine-acre lot. The transitional ranch home includes a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace in the family room, walkout French doors to the pool in back, and a heavy-duty “speakeasy–style” front door. Bobbie and her daughter Amy Zern, now a Chicago-based interior designer, decorated it themselves. The real charmer here is the property, which includes a gated entry, a 50-foot-deep private lake, and a picnic shelter. Part of the Oberhelman family estate for more than 80 years, today it’s for sale for $1.1 million. Interestingly, it is also being pitched to potential industrial buyers. Though the house is sited in such a way to maximize privacy, its nearest neighbors are warehouses and light manufacturing companies.
But about that lake. Avid anglers will be interested to know this fish story: According to Bobbie, it’s inhabited by a 125-pound shovelhead catfish. “It was put in there in 1990,” she says. “It surfaces every once in a while…it’s coal-black-looking and I’d say it was at least six feet long.” Sounds like quite a fish tale to us.
Photography by William Manning
Originally published in the January 2012 issue.