School News Breadcrumb

The History of the Ponds by Mr. Ed Miller

I want to share with you the quaint story of how our two ponds had their unusual beginnings in 1964. Most of us, at one time or another, have enjoyed a memorable experience at one of the two sites. The late John Buppert was frequently seen with his biology students gathering “specimens” from his canoe. I was invited to share with them the tricky art of fly fishing. For the fresh water enthusiasts, neighbors and students, many a bass, bluegill or crappie has provided a thrill and good eating. And, oh yes, there is pond hockey. After fifty years +, it is still as alive and well as ever. Just ask our prefect of studies, Gary Scholl. And lastly, our ponds are home to the ever-growing Canada geese families. It wouldn’t be the same without them!

But now, let the story be told by Ray Wanner, John Carroll’s youthful first President…

“It was a fall afternoon in 1964, as I recall. School Architect, Tom Gaudreau and I were sitting on a rise near the Sisters of St. Joseph Convent, now called St. Joseph’s Hall. With the exception of the classroom building on the far side of the property, the rest of the school (gymnasium, auditorium, cafeteria, library and chapel) was a worksite, as were the playing fields directly beneath us. We were discussing final design details.”

“Tar, Tom’s black Labrador retriever, was exploring the far reaches of the property and had just splashed through a muddy puddle when Tom said ‘Ray, wouldn’t it be great to have a lake on the property? Tar could swim in it and you could bring your Lab up here and teach him to retrieve! But more than that, it would enhance the beauty of the property if we can work it out architecturally. I would need a careful study of the water run-off and drainage patterns, but I think a good-sized pond could go here, just beyond the convent. And, as I look down the hill, we could have a lake fill in that depression at the lower end of the property to the right of and below the running track site. We can put a little rowboat on it, stock it with fish and use it to gather specimens for the biology classes. And we can design a little island in the middle where you can escape from everybody! I think we can do it! The cost would be modest and can be rolled into the grading budget.’ ”

“A lake,” I said, “Two lakes! I thought lakes were natural things. One didn’t just sit on a hillside with a friend and casually say ‘Let’s create a lake!’, or better yet, ‘Let’s create two of them!’ “What will the Cardinal say?” ‘Ray’, Tom said, ‘The Cardinal will say nothing because we won’t tell him! And we most certainly won’t tell him that we will name the larger, lower lake “Lake Wanner”! It would be wrong to burden him with details like lake-building!’

“And so, gentle reader, this is the story of the John Carroll lakes. Two young guys in their 30’s, one an architect, the other a priest, saying 45 (now 53) years ago, ‘wouldn’t it be cool to build two lakes! Do you really think we can get away with it?’”

 “It was cool! And we did get away with it!”

Ray Wanner – 5/26/2008