Welcome to Bloomingpedia! Thanks for a nice job starting the University Lake article. I had seen this on aerial photos and was curious about it. Do you have any citations by chance? We're looking forward to reading more contributions from you. Chris Eller 23:26, 25 November 2008 (EST)
Hi Chris, I'm not sure if this is how you send a message, but here goes.
I have only the link to the photo and another to the former trail system that includes a description of the lake area (that will be harder to find, but I can get to it), but unfortunately, most of the information is word of mouth, though by seemingly reputable sources:
Recently I had the opportunity to clear some non-native plants from a Griffy Lake trail as part of my masters orientation program and one of the first things I asked the person in charge (who was the plant/landscape manager for the City of Bloomington Parks Department) was how to get to University Lake. We got to talking and he told me about how it was originally a reservoir that came into being because of droughts in the 1950s. Later I went to this website:
and found that there were indeed droughts in the mid-1950s, which is coincidentally just after Griffy Lake was built. It would seem to make sense, therefore, that the the city had some form of contract with the university, like he said, and decided to have the university build their own reservoir given the conditions.
Also, I've been there myself and I could see how that would be true. I could also see Bob Knight fishing there (the assistant, whom I also asked about the lake, told me that tidbit when I asked him about the place), as there appeared to be some large fish in the lake. You can actually stand out on the dam and see pretty far into the water on a good day...but then, the other side of the two-and-a-half-foot wide platform (which is pretty wet) is a 50+ foot drop down sheer, seven-foot incremented steps, so I can see why it's closed off. There's a small dock with six row-boats and a plastic shed for research, and signs everywhere that tell you it's a nature preserve, but do not really tell you that you shouldn't be there.
Anyhow, sorry I can't find anything else to corroborate, but still, interesting if true.
Kudos on this site. I loved this city so much as an undergrad that I came back as a grad student, and applied nowhere else!
Ok, so now I've found a book online that COMPLETELY refutes everything I've been told. I guess history is lost with time...or I'm just gullible, one or the other. Anyway, I'll post my findings soon (they weren't TOO far off, though).