Potter Lake is the setting for many picturesque photos taken by KU students who study or relax on its banks. In 1910, the Kansas Board of Regents decided to construct a reservoir on the north side of campus to be used as a water source in case of fire. The two-acre lake was named Potter Lake for state Sen. T.M. Potter, and until 1927, when Lawrence built a public pool, it served as a swimming hole.
Today, the lake is used as a storm water retention pond, and swimming is prohibited. Some classes and academic research occur at the site, and canoes and non-motorized boats are permitted in those instances. State fishing laws apply.