Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Campus lakes

Click on image titles for larger views.
Institution Name: Mount Union College
Original/Historic Place Name: Campus lakes
Location on Campus: NE corner of campus
Date(s) of Construction:
1916original construction Ellet, Walter
1983renovation; cleaned
Designer: Walter Ellet
Type of Place: Landscape site
Style: (Glossary)
Significance: history, landscape
Narrative: see below
References: see below
1916-present (2006)outdoor space (scenic)

The campus lakes, created in 1916, are located across from Cope Music Hall and Elliott Hall. Former member of the Mount Union Board of Trustees Walter Ellet inspired the College to construct the lakes to mirror the beauty of Elliott Hall. Shaped by shovels, wheelbarrows, and horses using slip scrapers, the lakes were originally formed in the shape of an "M."

The lakes suffered much erosion during the next sixty-some years, so in 1983 the lakes were cleaned and renovated. Through the installation of a retaining wall, much of the damage caused by the erosion was corrected. The lakes were also restored to their original depth of eight to ten feet. Other repairs included the addition of new drainage pipes and renovation of the pedestrian bridge. Further renovations were made in 1997.

A bridge connects the two sides of the lake and is a Mount Union legend in its own right. According to campus lore, you will eventually marry any person that you kiss on the bridge. Thus, the bridge has earned the nickname "the kissing bridge."


Osborne, Newell Yost. A Select School: The History of Mount Union College and an Account of a Unique Educational Experiment, Scio College. Alliance, OH: Mount Union College, 1967.

Saffell, John E. Wake the Echoes: An Updated History of Mount Union College. Alliance, OH: Mount Union College, 1996.


Contact us / About Site / About CIC
© 2006
Council of Independent Colleges
Washington, DC
All rights reserved
Last update: November 2006