Manzanita Lake, UNR's Iconic Landmark, Passes 100

RENO, NV - One of Reno's most scenic features and a historic icon for the University of Nevada is marking its centennial this month.

Manzanita Lake was completed in November of 1911, just in time as planned to offer ice skating.

The project was funded by Clarence Mackay, son of Comstock legend John Mackay and a major donor to the university in its early years.

The lake was created by damming the Orr Irrigation Ditch, expanding what had been a small pond into the lake we see today.

Over the years it has doubled as a backdrop for Hollywood movies set on Ivy League campuses, for raft races and other Mackay Day frivolity and countless picnics and quiet moments in between classes.

Donnie Curtis, a librarian with the university's Special Collections, says when the lake was completed the university sought to add a pair of swans, but couldn't find any. A benefactor donated a pair of Canada geese.

Today the geese are drop-ins and semi-permanent residents, along with ducks and graceful swans.

An island was added to the lake in the 1960's to provide the waterfowl with a safe refuge.

The lake's centennial is being marked by an exhbition in the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center through February.

The attached slide show provides a sample. Historic photos are courtesy of UNR's Special Collections.


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