Mirror Lake Restoration
Cherished memories of young love and school spirit are essential to the vibrant history of Mirror Lake.
According to university legend, Ohio State’s Columbus campus sits where it does today thanks to Mirror Lake, and the refreshing spring waters that once fed it. Years before it was The Ohio State University, trustees charged with finding the perfect home for the new Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College visited the property of William Neil. Touring his land, they stopped to enjoy several long, cool drinks from a small spring.
After drinking his fill, a German trustee by the name of Keller is alleged to have taken a seat next to the water and said, “It’s hard to get a Dutchman away from a spring like that.” And so the decision — and Buckeye history — were made.
As the university has grown and evolved over the years, so has Mirror Lake. When construction caused the spring to go dry in the 1920s, the classes of 1927, 1928 and 1930 stepped in to create and install Memorial Fountain. During the 1930s the mud bottom was paved over with bricks for easier cleaning. Chlorine was added in the 1960s to eliminate the sulfuric smell of water pumped in from the Olentangy River.
Islands, bridges, trees, grottoes, and even traditions have come and gone, while the iconic nature of Mirror Lake has endured — allowing each new generation to leave its mark.
The Mirror Lake District is now open and features modern learning environments for students and faculty while retaining its significance, ambience and appearance as an early and iconic area of campus.
If you purchased a brick or paver, locate it here.
Thank you for supporting the restoration of Mirror Lake.