What is now Mirror Lake began as a muddy saw mill run off pond in the late 19th century. The Bellingraths had hundreds of tree stumps cleared and dammed the northern end of the lake to create a mirror-like surface to reflect the azaleas planted around its edges.
Walter Bellingrath, always the fisherman, had the lake stocked. A rustic bridge was constructed to create a walk that encircles the lake and includes a secluded summer house. The small stone landing below the far edge of the bridge has been dubbed the “Honeymoon Terrace.”
The view across Mirror Lake has drastically changed over the years since most all of the original tree canopy around the lake was virtually eliminated during Hurricane Frederick in 1979. Rather than to replant what was a hammock forest, this area was redesigned to have open turf areas surrounded by plantings of azaleas and annual color.
The Mirror Lake Bridge is seasonally adorned with plantings: from spring geraniums to summer tropical alamandas to colorful cascading chrysanthemums each November. During the Christmas season the lake is surrounded by thousands of twinkling lights and displays while illuminated swans appear on the lake’s surface. Without question, the view from this Overlook is probably the most photographed spot in the Gardens.