Flashback Friday: Rope swing over Mountain Lake

Rope swing over Mountain Lake. Photo by Dennis O’Rorke.

Dennis R. shared these photos on Facebook group recently of the infamous rope swing that used to be on the east shore of Mountain Lake. It was a popular hang out for adventurous kids in the 1970’s and 80’s.

Looks like fun! Unless you fell in and met up with the lake’s elusive alligator

Sarah B.

Photo by Dennis O’Rorke

Photo by Dennis O’Rorke

Photo by Dennis O’Rorke


  1. Last 2 photos have the short-lived chain link fence the Army put in. Had signs posted “Keep out by order of post commander”.

  2. Lived on the 1000 block of Lake St in the sixties as a kid. That rope swing was a challenge. Some daredevils would climb up that huge eucalyptus tree and take the swing from there and, during warm weather, let themselves be lauched into the lake. That fence in one of the photo’s was meant to keep people from entering the polluted lake. But they put up the fence when the water level was low, leaving the fence half submirged during most of the year. I’m glad they’ve restored the lake to a more natural state but we’re generations away from a new rope swing tree on the lake shore !

  3. Grew up on 7th ave btw Calif and Lake — spent lots of time in the park and as KB mentioned, the swing was there in the 60s for sure. I think the alligator story came later but back in the day we all swore by the story that the bottom of Mountain Lake was all quicksand — panic and laughter the day one of our buddies fell off the rope into the water!

  4. Our family grew up at 106 7th ave and 4444 California between 6th and th and spent many hours at Mt Lake Park including the annual easter egg hunt sponsored by King Norman. About 1954, a neighbor boy disappeared and neighbors were on alert and the kids also alarmed. The next morning someone walking by Mountain Lake saw what appeared to be a small animal at a distance stuck in the quicksand mud of the Lake. When the fireman and police arrived they discovered it was the missing boy, cold and starving, but alive and soon to recover. I still stroll by my grandparents home at 106 7th ave where they raised 7 kids and over to Mountain Lake to revisit great childhood times and think about the child who survived the quicksand. Now along with my wife we sell properties throughout the Richmond filled with many memories from Arguello to La Playa.

  5. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I grew up on 14th and California and remember the rope swing with fondness. It was as close as you can get to wilderness back there. There are trails that would take me all the way to the beach. So many good times…except for once when I was spying on a couple getting serious and accidentally sat in some poison ivy.

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