Welcome to the Kenneth Spencer Research Library blog! As the special collections and archives library at the University of Kansas, Spencer is home to remarkable and diverse collections of rare and unique items. Explore the blog to learn about the work we do and the materials we collect.
Check the blog each Friday for a new “That’s Distinctive!” post. I created the series because I genuinely believe there is something in our collections for everyone, whether you’re writing a paper or just want to have a look. “That’s Distinctive!” will provide a more lighthearted glimpse into the diverse and unique materials at Spencer – including items that many people may not realize the library holds. If you have suggested topics for a future item feature or questions about the collections, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page.
This week on That’s Distinctive! we visit University Archives again and share some photos of Potter Lake at the University of Kansas. In 1910, the Kansas Board of Regents decided to construct a water source for in case of a fire on the north side of campus. That water source became Potter Lake, named after state senator T.M. Potter. Up until Lawrence built the public pool in 1927, the lake served as a swimming hole. According to the Historic Mount Oread Friends website, swimming, skating, and sledding have been prohibited since the 1970s. KU’s online places directory notes that “today, the lake is used as a storm water retention pond, and swimming is prohibited. Some classes and academic research occur at the site, and canoes and non-motorized boats are permitted in those instances. State fishing laws apply.”
There’s only light patchy snow on Mount Oread right now, but the cold weather means that Potter Lake is frozen enough for ice skaters.
Ice skating on Potter Lake, 1926. Notice the diving board on the far side.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 0/24/1 Potter Lake 1926 Prints:
Campus: Areas and Objects (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).