Lake Matoaka, Constructed circa 1700-1750

Prior to the founding of William & Mary in 1693, Lake Matoaka was an open watercourse of streams and wetlands known as Archer's Hope Swamp. Sometime between 1700 and 1750, this original section of property was sold to a private landowner who soon dammed the main creek (now known as College Creek) to create a mill pond, making Lake Matoaka the oldest man-made lake in Virginia and one of the oldest in the New World.

The mill, known as Ludwell's Mill, was located just south of the current dam on Jamestown Road. Presumably, grain shipped to College Landing could be transported upstream to the mill and the milled flour transported downstream.

Over the next two centuries, the mill was owned by several parties before being destroyed. It wasn't until the 1920s that William & Mary reacquired the mill pond and surrounding College Woods. At that time, the pond was renamed Lake Matoaka--after Chief Powhatan's daughter who many know as Pocahontas.

Images

Lake Matoaka, 2015

Lake Matoaka, 2015

A 2015 image of Lake Matoaka. | Source: University Archives Photograph Collection, UA 8. | Creator: College of William and Mary. View File Details Page

Students Rope Swinging, 2015

Students Rope Swinging, 2015

A 2015 photograph of students rope swinging near Lake Matoaka as part of the popular Adventure Games course. | Source: University Archives Photograph Collection, UA 8. | Creator: College of William and Mary. View File Details Page

Lake Matoaka, undated

Lake Matoaka, undated

An undated image of Lake Matoaka with fall colors. | Source: University Archives Photograph Collection, UA 8. | Creator: College of William and Mary. View File Details Page

Lake Matoaka Boathouse, 1935

Lake Matoaka Boathouse, 1935

Students in front of the boathouse on Lake Matoaka in 1935. | Source: University Archives Photograph Collection, UA 8. | Creator: College of William and Mary. View File Details Page

Lake Matoaka snow scene, undated

Lake Matoaka snow scene, undated

A snowy view of Lake Matoaka. | Source: University Archives Photograph Collection, UA 8. | Creator: College of William and Mary. View File Details Page

Boathouse, 2015

Boathouse, 2015

A 2015 image of the boathouse on Lake Matoaka. | Source: University Archives Photograph Collection, UA 8. | Creator: College of William and Mary. View File Details Page

Lake Matoaka, 2015

Lake Matoaka, 2015

A 2015 image of Lake Matoaka. | Source: University Archives Photograph Collection, UA 8. | Creator: College of William and Mary. View File Details Page

Lake Matoaka, 2015

Lake Matoaka, 2015

A photograph taken in 2015 of Lake Matoaka. | Source: University Archives Photograph Collection, UA 8. | Creator: College of William and Mary. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary., “Lake Matoaka, Constructed circa 1700-1750,” TribeTrek, accessed June 23, 2017, http://tribetrek.wm.edu/items/show/41.
Tour navigation:  Previous | Tour Info | Next
comments powered by Disqus

Share this Story