Washington Park Lake

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Washington Park Lake
Washington Park lake looking north towards the pedestrian bridge.
Location Albany, New York
Coordinates 42°39′26″N 73°46′23″W / 42.657302°N 73.773118°W / 42.657302; -73.773118Coordinates: 42°39′26″N 73°46′23″W / 42.657302°N 73.773118°W / 42.657302; -73.773118
Type Artificial
Managing agency City of Albany
Built 1873
Max. length 1,600 ft (490 m)
Max. width 140 ft (43 m)
Surface area 5.2 acres (21,000 m2)
Average depth 6.6 ft (2.0 m)
Max. depth 11 ft (3.4 m)
Water volume 1,588,400 ft³ (44,978.5 m³)

Washington Park Lake is a body of water in Albany, New York located in the southwestern corner of Washington Park. It has a surface area of 5.2 acres (21,000 m2) and a mean depth of 6.6 feet (2.0 m). The deepest sections of the lake are just over 11 feet (3.4 m) deep.[1] The lake is roughly 1,600 feet (490 m) long and 140 feet (43 m) wide. [2][3] Next to the lake is the Washington Park Lakehouse and an amphitheater where the Park Playhouse performs musicals in the summer. A wrought-iron pedestrian bridge spans the lake at its narrowest point. The footbridge over Washington Park Lake is the only remaining original structure in Washington Park. Erected over the lake in 1875 the lamps on the bridge were originally gas burning but were electrified in 1881.[4] Ice skating is permitted on Washington Park Lake, though swimming is prohibited.[5]


In 1986 after years of the lake being two to three feet below its normal depth the city repaired cracks and leaks in a concrete spillway.[6] After the lake continued to be approximately one foot below normal level, the next year another leak was found where a 70-foot-tall (21 m) beech tree had grown on top of a 19th-century brick sewer pipe that was along the southern shore of the lake. The break in the 5-foot-tall (1.5 m) sewer pipe created a sinkhole that allowed water from the lake to flow into the sewer.[7] The same pipe caused more problems in 1995 and more repairs occurred.[8]

In 1991 two days after copper sulfate was applied to the lake to kill algae a fish kill occurred due to a lack of oxygen in the water. Hundreds of fish died with many experiencing hypoxic conditions near the surface. The city hooked up a 200-foot (61 m) pipe to two compressors that pumped oxygen into the lake similar to an aerator in an aquarium. This raised oxygen levels quickly and fish returned to their normal behavior.[9]

Washington Park Lake House, site of the Park Playhouse
Washington Park Lake Bridge during Capital Holiday Lights


  1. ^ "Washington Park Lake" (PDF). New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources. Retrieved 2010-06-06. 
  2. ^ Arthur James Weise (1884). The History of the City of Albany, New York. E.H. Bender. p. 482. Retrieved 2010-06-03. 
  3. ^ William S. Egerton (1892). The Public Parks of the City of Albany, N.Y. Weed, Parsons & Co. Retrieved 2010-06-05. 
  4. ^ Diana S. Waite, ed. (1993). Albany Architecture. Matthew Bender IV-Mount Ida Press. p. 155. ISBN 0-9625368-1-4. 
  5. ^ "Playgrounds and Recreational Facilities" (PDF). City of Albany. Retrieved 2010-06-05. 
  6. ^ Carol DeMare (April 9, 1986). "Plugging the Leak Lake in Park Gets First Aid". Albany Times Union. p. B2. Retrieved 2010-06-06. 
  7. ^ Gary Sheffer (June 16, 1987). "Albany Moves to Plug Leaks in Washington Park". Albany Knickerbocker News. p. 3A. Retrieved 2010-06-06. 
  8. ^ "Lake to be Drained to Fix Old Sewer Line". Albany Times Union. November 18, 1995. p. B4. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  9. ^ Yancey Roy (June 24, 1991). "Compressed Air Ends Crises for Fish in Park Lake". Albany Times Union. p. B2. Retrieved 2010-06-07.