• 02/18/11 Golden Gate Park Lakes - posted by Dennis

02/18/11 - posted by Dennis
Did any of you ever go swimming in the lakes in Golden Gate Park? I did.
How about ice skating on them when they got frozen. I did. Don't laugh, they did, at least once. I think I have a clipping from the paper to verify it. Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes KevB ktbrady2626@msn.com 1297998510 0 We waded out to the island at Metson Lake to catch turtles; portaged a Matey plastic boat (who remembers Matey bubble bath?) from 30th and Lawton to Bamboo Island on the Chain of Lakes and launched ourselves. The mounted policeman informed us that wasn't allowed. We caught crawdads at Speckel's Lake, but no, I never SWAM in any of the lakes of Golden Gate Park. Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes Ken 1298022879 0 If "swimming" in a GG Park "lake" includes falling face-first into the pond under the arch bridge in the Japanese Tea Garden, then I would like to nominate by late pal, Nelson Shuman.
We were probably about twelve when we blew all our cash well before we had experienced all the wonders of the Steinhart, the De Young and the Tea Garden. Pausing at the arch bridge, Nelson thought it would be easy-pickings to snatch some coins out of the pond. Nellie leaned a little too far and fell in. The crowd liked the show and that performance qualified for the first five of Nelson's fifteen minutes of Fame. Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes Myron Tessler 1298045101 0 Swimming in the lakes was for wusses. I used to climb the water falls that emptied, when they had water, into the lake- more of a challenge than falling into the lake. Especially liked the falls at Portals of the Past lake. When I got tired of that, you usually found me in some tree that challenged me to climb it, served as a look-out post for the many games we all played in the park. Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes John Paul jpsant@aol.com 1298057321 0 Myron's post reminded me of the 'cave' we discovered one summer behind the falls on Strawberry Hill. Several of us discovered that there was only a thin veneer of cement or stucco over the chicken wire forming parts of the falls, and that were deep 'caves' behind the falls. We were never discovered in our 'hideout' behind the falls.... Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes patrick patricknbetty@earthlink.net 1298059837 0 Myron, At Prayer Book Cross Hill there were falls and Stow Lake had Huntington Falls. They were the only cascades in the Park. Portals of the Past only had a about a three foot drop from the artificial creek. Yep, as a little critter I paddled, swam and even hid my smokes and stuff in a jar on the Isl. in Mallard Lake. We used our secretly hidden leaky raft with poles to get out there and puff away. After one swim in Stow Lake we came down with funny red bumps on parts of our body. I recall the Huntington Falls fake cave hideouts and the lakes freezing over. I have seen news photos of folks ice skating on some of the lakes. We never had ice skates. So we just skidded rocks across the frozen lake. What a great back yard I had. Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes Myron Tessler 1298066617 0 Paul you too reminded me of a tragic event that occurred sometime around 1948. A small girl, Cathy Fiscus, somewhere in the mid-west, fell down a very small shaft into a well and was trapped for days. We guys found such a hole in the falls that you described and tried to "feel" what it was like to be trapped like Cathy. We very quickly got out of that hole and never did that again. Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes Kevb ktbrady2626@msn.com 1298089938 0 Patrick, I'd forgotten the 'defenders of Metson Lake island' (does that island have a name?)
We identified with Humphrey Bogart in 'African Queen' when we rose out of the green water with wee leeches on our legs.
AND y'all know that Portals of the Past sits at Lloyd Lake, right Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes Sitton 1298135535 0 I'm loving these stories of GG Park. Lots of the places I hadn't remembered the names of if I ever knew them. As far as I was concerned the swimming in the lakes was for the ducks and swans. One year on a trip back to GG Park I took several pictures of a turtle sitting on a log. Then I discovered that the turtle was dead. No wonder he was so still!
I'll add more later, but I'll send this tidbit on now guys. Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes patrick patricknbetty@earthlink.net 1298179658 0 Kevb, Metson Lake never had an Isl. It is south of Middle Dr. and east of the Polo Field. I think it was always pea green in color. I don't know why. We wouldn't swim in that one. I remember the turtles there and the fun exit stream where we raced our teeny tiny homemade boats down the creek. Mallard Lake has an Isl. and is by 27th Ave. and south of MLK Dr. It was called South Dr. when we were kids. Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes KevB ktbrady2626@msn.com 1298221665 0 OOPS!
I stand corrected.
MALLARD Lake Island was the turtle habitat defended by leeches. Metson Lake overlooks Speedway Meadows and the Polo Fields. My dog and I hiked that area daily. Colorwise I always thought of split pea soup.
thanks Patrick Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes Steve skruft@comcast.net 1298243808 0 I don't think I ever swam in any of them, but I did fall into one at some point and climbed a waterfall when it was not running.

No one mentioned Spreckels Lake as I'm sure it is too shallow for swimming. But I have often wondered how it got full of fish and, when I was a child, crayfish, if it was designed for model boating. Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes patrick patricknbetty@earthlink.net 1298247987 0 One reason few if any kids swam in Spreckels was because the entire shoreline was visiable and used for model watercraft. Hence it was easy to be noticed and nabbed. Other park lakes had hidden ares. Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes Nick & Tanya 1298302395 0 Many happy memories of model yachting at Spreckels Lake with my dad in the 70s and early 80s, sailboats and then radio control speedboats when those first came out.

Took a header into a pond off one of those rock slab bridges in the Japanese Tea Garden when I was about 4. Panicked like mad because after watching too many Tarzan movies with my grandfather and thinking the Koi fish were Piranha. That was the extent of my GG Park swimming.

Great memories of the old wooden electric powered boats on Stow Lake too. That was an annual excursion with the folks on a warm Spring day around Easter time! Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes patrick patricknbetty@earthlink.net 1298315070 0 A tidbit. The model yacht club there is beieved to be the oldest (since 1898) organization of it's kind in our nation. Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes Mary-Ann anniespl@accessbee.com 1298333288 0 I just can't imagine anyone swimming in any of the park lakes. Spreckels Lake was nearest to our house - also the one at 43rd and Fulton. I don't know if they were ever chlorinated or treated - I don't believe so. So that water must have been full of all kinds of bad stuff.

My two brothers were born in the late '40s and my mother took them regularly to Spreckel's Lake and to the Loop (Cabrillo playground). There were a few regulars who walked over to the lake on pleasant mornings to sit on the benches and visit with each other. Not too many model boaters on weekdays - occasionally one or two. Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes patrick patricknbetty@earthlink.net 1298335516 0 On the very uncommon super warm days in the Outsidelands young kids did stupid things. Anyone recall anythings they did? Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes John K keeonejohn@yahoo.com 1298504522 0 After watching Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn on The Walt Disney Show we built a raft and tried to launch it at the lake around 39th ave or so I cannot remember the exact avenue. It immediately sunk. We ran home a bit wet and unsure why it did not work like on TV.

Fun day

Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes Dennis 1298696481 0 Well it's not like I swam in the lakes all the time. I might have done it 2 or 3 times at the most. Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes patrick patricknbetty@earthlink.net 1298741934 0 Yep Dennis very few of our gang ever swam regularly in the park lakes. The weather was just not conducive for swimming or hanging out after. The water a bit yucky also. Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes John Freeman freeman@igc.org 1299286013 0 Surprising as it may sound, Spreckel's lake was once used for a major swimming competition! The Portola Festival of October 19 -13, 1909 had a series of athletic events they scheduled at the New Stadium in Golden Gate Park (later called the Polo Fields). The track & field events were at the Stadium, but the swimming events were held at Spreckel's Lake, near by. The water level in 1909 wasn't any deeper than it is today, so there must have only been stroking events, because no way could they have done diving there. Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes John Martini 1299296109 0 Very basic question, but just how deep ARE those GG Park lakes?

I was always under the impression you could wade across them without getting wet much above your knees. Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes John Freeman freeman@igc.org 1299392727 0 We built a raft and hauled it in parts to Stow Lake when we were kids in the '50s. We reassembled it and paddled around the east end of the lake. One of the guys slipped off and next thing we knew, he wasn't paddling, but standing there, feet on the slippery bottom, with water up to his waist. Stow Lake seemed about 3 feet deep. Chain of Lakes had major leakage problems for years, and once was about a foot deep in some places. it's deeper now, but I don't know how deep. Spreckel Lake might also be about 3 feet, but am only guessing since I don't know anyone who's tested its depth. Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes Jo Anne Q. lapichon2@yahoo.com 1299714849 0 Aha! Depths of the various lakes???

I think I see a very fun subject for a SF History Minute...or maybe more...one Minute per lake... David and Woody, get out your waders!!! Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes Paul pleland1@comcast.net 1476902234 0 Swim, not unless you fell in while traversing the muddy slopes of the Chain of Lakes. In the 50's we fished the lakes, caught a few carp but never thought of eating them.
We rode our bikes everywhere in the park and would build a ramp next to the edge of Spreckles Lake...get up speed on the pathway and launch ourselves into the lake. The person that went the farthest out into the lake Won! Maybe not great for my three-speed Raleigh and a wet ride home to 47th Ave, but great thrills.

Who remembers the peacocks and the gardener that protected them?
Who remembers the family that lived in the house at the base of Murphy's Windmill?
Who climbed the waterfall at Stow Lake and didn't squish a banana slug sitting on the rock you were reaching for? Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes Angus Macfarlane aamacfarane@earthlink.net 1476936249 0 Has anybody seen the pathetic state of the lakes in the western part of the park?

Chain of Lakes would be better named Chain of Weed-choked puddles. Middle Lake is like the Aral Sea--totally gone.

Both North and South Lakes of the former Chain of Lakes are so weed-choked that most of the surface is weeds. This isn't a recent phenomenon. It's taken at least a decade for Middle Lake to disappear and the other lakes have been neglected for years.

Metson Lake is at least 75% weed covered. You could probably walk on them.

So sad. Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes Skipper turnerwinder@icloud.com 1477765975 0 Paul...I'm an eye witness to that ramp.

Had forgotten till your post.

Thanks. Re: Golden Gate Park Lakes Skipper turnerwinder@icloud.com 1477766189 0 Do you remember a hill the park rats called Old Smokey?
I bent the forks of my bike hitting a tree on that one.
😊

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