The Lakes

As the cemetery began to encroach on the east side of the ravine, the City, which entered the property, suspended operation of that quarry and it filled up with water. In 1891, Superintendent Campbell drained the quarry pool and enlarged it into a lake- 25 feet deep in the middle. About 1925, the quarry lake was fenced in and its cliffs were planted with trees and shrubs so as to be an improved part of the cemetery grounds.

The Springs Branch of Beargrass Creek transects the cemetery into east and west, old and new. Fed by a half dozen good springs, it ran through what was called the ravine, which was the dividing line between the western sections opened earlier and the new sections that were developed after the city functions and farming operations moved way. The grading and filling that took place to form the beautiful series of lakes after 1890 had been part of the original concept.

Edmund F. Lee had also proposed using a hydraulic ram to pump water from the cave spring to a 1,000-barrel reservoir on high ground. When city water was introduced from Crescent Hill, several basins were made into ponds. The old brickyard pond in Section A was converted into a lily pond, and a small lake was made in Section 10. The latter would not hold water and was puddled with crude oil, which was covered with dry cement; but, that remedy did not hold and the lake was abandoned in 1941.

The most exotic pond was established in Section 15 to harbor Egyptian lotus plants imported from Philadelphia in 1907. The plants, once revered in Egypt, India, Japan, and China, survived well in the protected depression. The large white flowers, which sat on stems some six or seven feet long, opened and closed each day. As the pond began to fill in naturally, the lotuses began to succumb in the shallow water. In the early 2000’s this entire area was filled, graded, and opened as burial sites.