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Archive for Tuesday, May 8, 2012

100 years ago: Engineering student drowns in KU campus lake

May 8, 2012

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for May 8, 1912:

"Potter's lake on the University campus last night claimed its second victim when Ernest H. Van Dyke, a freshman in the engineering school, sank beneath the cold waters to his death. Not more than five minutes elapsed from the time the young man sank until physicians began their efforts to resuscitate him but after two hours of work gave up and admitted that life was extinct and that the waters had done their fatal work. Van Dyke and a number of other students had been bathing in the lake for some time and were about to leave when the tragedy occurred.... Potter's lake has been open but one week this spring. During this time the physical education department of the University has been keeping an instructor at the lake in the afternoon from 3:30 to 6 o'clock and swimming has been permitted between those hours. Mr. George Babb, an assistant in the University gymnasium, was on duty at the lake yesterday afternoon when the accident occurred and it was he who recovered the body.... A little less than a year ago a similar tragedy was enacted there and also on that occasion it was an engineer who lost his life.... Prof. C. B. Root stated last night that it was nothing but what had been feared ever since the lake was opened. 'It is a large lake and one man cannot watch all the swimmers. I have always been afraid that something like this would happen here again. It may mean the end of swimming in the lake and I certainly hope it does!'"

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