- IU Historical Marker (2019)
Indiana University dedicated a historical marker in 2019 about University Lake. The marker text follows:
It was feared that the University would have to be closed for lack of water.
Due to frequent droughts and dependence upon Bloomington’s municipal water supply, the Indiana University campus suffered recurrent water shortages beginning in 1899. To counter threats to move the university to Indianapolis, IU president William Lowe Bryan obtained state funding to construct a reservoir in 1909. IU selected a suitable site along a side valley of Griffy Creek. In July 1911, workers completed a 29-foot concrete arch dam, along with waterworks to pump the water. Two years later, IU increased the dam’s height to 40 feet so it could hold more water. Although this ensured an adequate water supply for the campus’ physical plant, city residents and students continued to suffer from water famines. After a protracted process marred by political corruption, the city of Bloomington dammed the main channel of Griffy Creek in 1924, creating Griffy Lake, which supplied water to both the city and IU. University Lake, now redundant as a water supply, serves as a site for recreation and research.