Mason City Quarry,
Mason City, Iowa.
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Big Blue, Mason City, Iowa
the hometown of "Music Man" composer Meredith Willson is a quarry
called "Big Blue," a 14-acre lake formed after the Mason City
Brick and Tile ceased operations sometime in the late '60s or early '70s.
Big Blue is in the southwest part of town in Lester Milligan Park. The
swimming beach is the best spot to enter the water, says Mark Suby, Mason
City's superintendent of parks. Gas-powered motors are not permitted on
boats. Local emergency personnel frequently use the lake for training.
Underwater is a training platform in 13 feet of depth, old cars and trucks
on the lake's east side, and a 25-foot sailboat. At its narrowest point
the Big Blue is 750 feet (227 m) wide.
Depths: 34 feet
5 feet in the spring to 50 feet in the winter, according to one diver.
temperature: 70-76 degrees Fahrenheit (21-24 degrees Celsius) in the summer,
and 45-70 F (7-21 C) in the spring.
Largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, northern pike, and twice each year the
lake is stocked with trout.
amenities: Shelter house with electricity, water and restrooms, swimming and
playground equipment for the kids.
More info: Call
the Mason City Parks and Recreation Department at (641) 421-3673. For other
information, call the Mason City Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800)
Open: 6 a.m. to
11 p.m. daily
The quarry is part of Lester Milligan Park, in the southwest part of Mason