Somewhere in the forgotten history of Beebe Lake is a group of well-meaning Ecology House residents who took on restoration of the trails and banks around the lake one warm spring weekend in 1978. We moved a lot of rocks, gravel, and stone to rebuild some eroded parts of the paths and to shore up the launching pad of the Outing Club’s building in the corner near the dam. A look at the site via Google Maps shows some of those boulders we moved might still be there, unless the site was re-done again during the 1980s dredging and cleanup.
Rick VanVranken ’81, MS ’83
Mays Landing, NJ
Beebe Lake holds many memories for me. My mother, Elizabeth Alward Kilbourne 1918, used to tell me about tobogganing on Beebe and what fun it was. I was disappointed when I arrived not to find it. My husband, Bill [John William Hosie ’49], used to dive off Sackett Bridge. He was a diver for the Cornell swim team and undefeated in dual competition for two years. On Sunday afternoons we would go to the Johnny Parsons Club and order a grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of coffee and dance the afternoon away to the music on the jukebox.
Sylvia Kilbourne Hosie ’48
When I arrived on campus in 1955, Saturday of Spring Weekend included elaborately decorated floats on Beebe Lake. This soon devolved into inter-float battles to see whose would be the last floating, leaving the lake a mess. Sometime around 1957, the University banned them. The brothers of Alpha Chi Sigma (the “Chem House”) decided to protest the ban. We got twenty pounds of fluorescein, which we dumped into the upstream end of the lake early on Saturday morning, turning the whole lake a bright green. This, too, was banned after several years.
Stephen L. Rosen ’59, PhD ’64
I was an entomology major, and several courses had collection requirements. Beebe Lake and its surroundings provided me with a wealth of material. I could combine an enjoyable walk around the trail with work; in other words, goof off with justification! Even in the 1970s the lake was full of cattails and water lilies, so I’m not at all surprised that dredging was required.
Jack Speese ’77
North Augusta, SC
Thank you for the honor of representing all the Cornellian couples who walked around Beebe and were married and are enjoying wedded bliss. A toast to you all. We were able to comply with another tradition—that to do with the old Suspension Bridge. In our day, if you walked your date across the bridge, stopped in the middle, and asked for a kiss and she declined, the bridge would fall. Let the record show that during our tenure the bridge never fell. “Oh, to be twenty and back at Cornell.”
Bob Everson ’61
I have skated on Beebe Lake, watched hockey games on it (remembering that games could only be played if it was cold enough for a good freeze, but there wasn’t so much snow that they couldn’t clear the rink). Hard to imagine hockey with no glass walls circling the rink so the pucks were flying everywhere! The toboggan slide was still there also, but I think use was very restricted—I never went down it. Johnny Parsons (Japes) was still operating in the 1940s, though we swam in the gorges rather than in Beebe. I do remember swimming once in Beebe under the bridge, but that was at an early Reunion, maybe 5th or 10th. Even the hydroelectric power lab, in Sibley I think, was still running for MEs back in the 1940s.
Ray Tuttle ’48
Hilton Head Island, SC
A very interesting article, but what about Stan Kenton’s concert in 1951? To use a phrase I picked up at Myron Taylor Hall, Inclusio unius est exclusio alterius!
Matt Rita, JD ’92
The list should include performances by Ella and the Duke on campus in the 1960s. Not sure of the exact year, but likely ’67 or ’68 for both.
Curt Smith ’69
East Saint Paul, Manitoba
Duke Ellington played in summer 1968.
Frank Millerd, PhD ’72
I attended an Ellington concert and broad- cast the Gillespie concert for WVBR.
Jack Richard ’50, MD ’53
New York, NY
Benny Goodman played in summer 1966.
Roberta Ward Walsh, MS ’70