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.

  6. spent a great deal of time there with my friend Danny Sooy fishing for carp with dough balls. we even climbed trees to use as bow fishing spots. I wish we could go back 60 years and do it again…… oh well, Oregon has not been bad to me.

  7. Thanks for the photos! We spent a lot of time over there growing up, but no pictures. Started when we were 1st grade, when the day Care center at Sutro would march us down there, and we had to sneak through”The Swamp” to get around the Army’s chain link fence across the road. Thought we were super sneaky ;-).

  8. We lived on California St. and 15th Ave. and my friends and I spent many a summer day swinging out on that rope over the lake. We started our swinging adventures in the late 60’s and on through the early 70’s. I can’t remember when it was taken down. Mountain Lake Park, the Presidio, Golden Gate Park and Bakers Beach were our playgrounds and I feel I had the best childhood ever for a City boy.

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