John Manke is an active former Bay View resident who is involved in numerous neighborhood organizations, including the Bay View Historical Society, the Humboldt Park Fourth of July Association and the Shore Shore Farmers Market. He believes Bay View has a fine tradition in its past that we do not want to lose in the future.
When I was younger, I and others would go to Humboldt Park and rent a row boat and ride on the park lagoon. We would ride between the islands and watch the ducks and turtles resting on the islands. The water is not that deep. It was once fed by a branch of Deer Creek. The lagoon is man made. At one time it was smaller. The park was expanded and the lagoon now had two islands instead of only one. They used to set off the fireworks on one of the islands on the 4th of July, but were forced to move this operation further away from neighboring houses. When we went boating, we used the old park pavilion to rent our boats. Upstairs in the pavilion, you could buy popcorn and other snacks. When the park was not busy, the ducks used to go inside of the pavilion looking for popcorn. At night the row boats were tied up on one of the islands. While you were rowing your boat, you had to listen for the boat attendant shouting out your boat number to return to the pavilion dock. In winter, we used the same area as the boat rental for putting on our ice skates to skate on the park lagoon. The old pavilion has been razed and replaced by a new one. The row boats are now gone. All we have left is some happy memories of the past.