East Lake is a 45-acre artificial lake filled with water pumped out of Village Creek. The creek flows through the park property between the lake and 1st Avenue North. A dam holds back the lake’s water on the southwestern margin of the lake. When it is not raining, most of the water in Village Creek that passes through the park comes from Roebuck Spring and Wilson Spring, both of which are less than 1.5 miles away (learn more about springs and karst topography here). Spring water is usually less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. When swimming was allowed in the lake, bathers often complained of the water’s chilly temperature.
From East Lake Park, Village Creek flows west through Birmingham and then travels north to join the Locust Fork near the Jefferson County line. A few miles downstream from this junction, the Locust Fork and Mulberry Fork converge to form the Black Warrior River. The Black Warrior heads south and enters the Tombigbee River. These waters continue south, eventually entering the Gulf of Mexico at the mouth of Mobile Bay.
When Birmingham was first settled, Village Creek provided water for the city. But as the city grew, much of the creek’s watershed was paved over, and it was used for disposal of industrial waste. Eventually, other sources of water were tapped to supply drinking water.