Thursday declared official ice-out day for Fountain Lake
Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 14, 2001
Visual proof of a winter with somewhat colder temperatures came on Thursday, April 12, when all of Fountain Lake was declared ice-free by the city’s official lake observer, Bill Malepsy.
Saturday, April 14, 2001
Visual proof of a winter with somewhat colder temperatures came on Thursday, April 12, when all of Fountain Lake was declared ice-free by the city’s official lake observer, Bill Malepsy. He’s continuing a local tradition of recording ice-out dates for this lake which is now in its 89th year.
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The earliest ice-out date since 1912 was recorded last year on March 7.
Malepsy said the last remnants of winter ice finally melted away about 3:30 p.m. in the small bay at the west end of Wedge Street. He felt the ice-out date this year was &uot;about normal.&uot;
Malepsy has observed and recorded the ice-out dates for Fountain Lake since the spring of 1969. He’s continuing a local tradition started 89 years ago by John Edwin &uot;Pop&uot; Murtaugh.
Murtaugh started recording the ice-out date in the spring of 1912. He was then the operator of the Casino, a lakeside dance hall and canoe and rowboat rental service located at the north end of Newton Avenue.
The melting of the ice cover on Fountain Lake was a prime business concern for Murtaugh. He would reportedly paddle a canoe all the way around the lake’s shoreline, including the bays, to check on the status of the ice cover.
Murtaugh recorded these ice-out dates in a small notebook. This notebook, incidentally, is still being used by Malepsy.
The rule used by both Murtaugh, and later by Malepsy, since 1912 to determine the actual ice-out date is based on the day. when there’s only water visible on all parts of the lake, including Dane and Edgewater Bays.
&uot;Pop&uot; Murtaugh died in 1969. His friend, Bill Malepsy, then took over the local tradition of establishing and recording the yearly ice-out dates.
Malepsy bases his yearly observations on reports from several friends, plus driving around the lake to check several places where remnants of ice like to linger on for just a few more days.
The latest recorded ice-out date for this lake is April 27, 1951.
Bill Malepsy and his son Mark operate Bill and Mark’s Barber Shop on East Clark Street.