Lake Jopamaca

Landmarks, 2.53001
Alternate Name
Lake Ozark
1921 – 1922 created
Like Lake Marmo, Lake Jopamaca is a man-made lake surrounded by artificial hills. O.C. Simonds, The Morton Arboretum's advising landscape architect, referred to the area as "the Ozarks" as he supervised its excavation in 1921. Completed in 1922, the lake was created from an old meander from the DuPage River, left behind when the river was channeled by local farmers. Its unique name derives from the first two letters of the four Morton brothers' given names: Joy, Paul, Mark, and Carl. J. Sterling Morton, Joy Morton's father and the founder of Arbor Day, devised the name for a man-made lake at the family's home, Arbor Lodge, in Nebraska in 1887. Due to several dam breakages, the lake at Arbor Lodge did not succeed, so Joy Morton constructed his own Lake Jopamaca at The Morton Arboretum.

In order to raise the water level in Lake Jopamaca, there was a small gated dam built in the East Branch of the DuPage River. Below the river dam, there was a stone and concrete ramp constructed to look like rapids and allow fish to get over the dam. The bridge built over the inlet leading to Lake Jopamaca held sentimental value to the Arboretum's first director, Clarence Godshalk. He stated that it always impressed him that "we could take a piece of flat farmland with no water and create a picture like that, and that's why I had to put that [bridge] in."