Our City’s most scenic park is also our most historic, with a rebuilt War of 1812 fort site, Zumwalt's Fort, and the restored Heald Home (circa 1884), all overlooking beautiful Lake Whetsel. Enjoy fishing, picnicking, playing on the playground, teeing off on "The Fort" disc golf course, and walking through this shady, 48-acre park.
In the 1970s, a spring on the property was dammed to create Lake Whetsel. The 3.5-acre lake was named for Parks Board member and early champion of the lake, Ed Whetsel.
2019 Lake Whetsel rennovation and upgrade
Lake Whetsel in Fort Zumwalt Park was created in the late 1980s when the City created a dam on the property forming the lake. Over the years the lake has filled with excessive amounts of silt, making the lake shallow and hard to manage. This year, park goers can expect a major reconstruction of Lake Whetsel, which will address these issues. This project will begin in early spring with a controlled release of the lake. As part of this process, all of the fish will be removed from the property. In cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation, the City will host a fish salvage for the public to remove the fish from the lake as the lake drains. The dates for this event will be announced soon. Stay tuned to the City website or follow Visit O’Fallon on Facebook for updates.
During construction, two forebays will be installed where the tributaries enter the lake. These forebays are designed to prevent trash and silt from entering the lake through its two tributaries. Additionally, the lake will be dug out to reach the original depths and three deeper sections for fish habitat will be placed in the lake. A new concrete ADA-accessible sidewalk will be installed surrounding the entire lake with boardwalks and scenic rock outcroppings. In addition the lake will include a fountain and aeration system to promote aquatic plantings and wildlife growth and survivability. The roadway also will be resurfaced during this time.
The timeline for this project is tentatively set for early spring through late fall. The lake will sit empty for several months as the silt is dried and removed from the site. Tentatively, the lake will be allowed to fill back up in late summer or early fall. The lake will take some time to fill back up and likely will not be completely full until early 2020. As the lake refills, Staff will be starting a new fish population. Following Missouri Department of Conservation guidelines the lake will not be fishable for 2 to 3 years while the fish mature and show they are reproducing at proper rates.
Points of Interest and Events
- Celebration of Lights
- The Fort Disc Golf Course
- Founders' Day & Garden Expo
- Heald Home
- Operating Model Railroad Display
- Zumwalt's Fort
- Trails and Walking Paths
Plan a route to Fort Zumwalt Park
1000 Jessup Lane, O'Fallon, 63366
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