College Lake and Spoonholder
Muskingum students as they prepare to ice skate on the College Lake
Muskingum students jumping off the Spoonholder into the lake
View of the College Lake from the Southeast. Patton Hall, the original women's dormitory, is visible on the hill north of the Lake.
A wooden diving board once provided opportunities for student use in their leisure time.
Students enjoying their time on the lake with swimming and boating. View from the western side of the Lake.
Tug of war tournament on Scrap Day, taking place at the College Lake
The College Lake in 1985 after it had been drained the Spoonholder was temporarily removed and rebuilt.
Muskies enjoying a swim in the lake
Backstory and Context
The College Lake has been the site of many campus activities throughout the years. In the winter months, groups of students have used the College Lake for ice skating and informal games of ice hockey. A Works Progress Administration mural, painted by the noted Ohio artist Clyde Singer, which still decorates the wall of the New Concord Post Office, depicts a winter recreation scene on the College Lake. In the warmer months, the College Lake has been the site of various water activities, including swimming, canoeing, fishing, and kayaking. In recent years, the College Lake has become the site of new Muskie traditions, including a fishing derby and the Cardboard Boat Regatta, held annually in the spring semester.
The College Lake has also been the focal point of campus urban legends, including one that claimed that John Glenn (astronaut and Senator) accidentally drove his car into the lake while a student, and that the car still resided in its depths. According to faculty member Ken Blood, when the College drained and dredged the Lake in 1985, the entire community of New Concord came to watch the draining, anticipating the recovery of the legendary American astronaut's car. Alas, the draining of the lake proved the story to be false, as no car appeared at the bottom of the lake; just an immense amount of silt. Ken Blood remembered the dredging and refilling of the lake taking “approximately 4 or 5 months”; not including the process of restocking the fish population. Professor Blood described the experience of the lake draining as an exciting experience for the entire New Concord community.
The gazebo known as the Spoonholder, located on the eastern end of the College Lake, holds a romantic history for the Muskingum University community. Campus legend holds that if a couple share a kiss on three separate occasions at the Spoonholder, they will end up marrying each other. This Muskingum story has been around for decades and is still told to the new incoming classes of Muskies. The Spoonholder has also been the site of marriage proposals throughout the years.
Fisk, William L. A History of Muskingum College. New Concord, Ohio. Muskingum College, 1978.
Blood, Ken. Personal interview. 12 September 2018.
Muskingum University Archives. Box 161.
Muskingum University Archives. Box 1, Photographs A to D3.