Meadow Lake

Landmarks, 2.36382
May – September 1959 created
Meadow Lake, located on the East Side of The Morton Arboretum and adjacent to the Visitor Center, was established in 1959. Digging for this man-made body of water began in May 1959 to serve the need for gravel for the widening of Route 53 from two lanes to four lanes.  Prior to the excavation of this area, a meadow occupied this stretch of land. Its formation and plantings date back to 1939-1941, when its irregular boundaries (and now shoreline) were defined.

Clarence Godshalk, The Morton Arboertum's first director, was responsible for the naming of this lake. Meadow Lake was chosen since, before its excavation, the area was often referred to as the Administration Building Meadow. This particular land development held special significance to Clarence Godshalk.  In a letter to The Morton Arboretum Board of Trustees in 1959, Godshalk wrote:

The new Meadow Lake has given me more of a thrill in its creation than anything I have done in the Arboretum development... The first thing in the morning and the last thing at night I find great pleasure in looking at this body of water as it grows, now that the lake is being filled.

  1. Godshalk, Clarence. 1959. Letter to the Trustees of The Morton Arboretum. The Morton Arboretum records. Sterling Morton Library, The Morton Arboretum.
  2. Godshalk, Clarence. Outline of The Morton Arboretum Development. The Morton Arboretum records. Sterling Morton Library, The Morton Arboretum.
  3. Hootman, Richard and Patrick Kelsey. 1990. Landscape Features of The Morton Arboretum. The Morton Arboretum Quarterly 26: 35-45.