By U.S. ArmyApril 12, 2019
The since-removed artificial lake on Arsenal Island was originally located just south of the Confederate Prison Camp. The drainage basin emptied out just south of where the RIA Golf Clubhouse is today. The lake was fed by a reservoir system located just north of Building 64. The present-day 18th hole of the Rock Island Arsenal Golf Course intersects a portion of the headwaters, and a portion of the driving range runs along the north edge of where the main body of water was located.
The original plan for the Rock Island Arsenal consisted of the ten stone shops at the center of the island, with adjacent supporting buildings. The commandant's quarters, along with other officer's quarters, were situated on the north shore of the island overlooking the Mississippi River. The fire and police station, barracks, headquarters, and other ancillary buildings were situated to the west of the main manufacturing complex.
As a means to create a natural divide between the manufacturing center and the officers, living space, a lake was dredged out in the prairie between the two areas. This lake spanned from approximately the half point of where the stone shops were constructed to just west of West Avenue where it drained. A bridge on West Avenue allowed traffic to pass over the drainage area towards the commandant's quarters.
A second bridge was built near the head of the lake for officers to use to avoid the inconvenience of walking around the lake on West or East Avenues. The bridge was just over 120 feet long and was built with stone. Lion's heads flanked the ends of the bridge, owing to the name of "Lions Head Bridge." The bridge completely collapsed sometime in 2015 and has since been condemned.
The lake bed is now the site of the first and last holes for the Rock Island Arsenal Golf Course, and the driving range.