The first San Diego Lake I ever visited was Chollas.
(My family lived just one mile away from the lake).

Chollas was built around 1901 by Fletcher or Spreckels,
then taken over by the City of San Diego. 
It was named after the many clusters of Cholla Cactus
that used to cover the hillsides and torment 
all of us foolish kids who played in the canyons.

 In 1966 the lake was turned over to the Park and Recreation Department, 
and designated for youth fishing (ages to 15) in 1971,
although rumor had it kids had been fishing there before it was legal.
Of course, I can neither confirm nor deny those rumors. 

Today Chollas is a 16-acre youth fishing lake with a trail encircling it,
suitable for walking, jogging, and bicycling. 
The park has picnic tables, BBQs, play structures and ball fields. 
I was given an official tour from the Ranger who runs the park.

Just north of the lake was the Naval Radio Transmitting Station.
My neighbor’s dad was the base commander. 
Red spot marks the location of my house.
As you can see, it's not far to the lake.

At the time this facility was completed,
it was the most powerful radio transmitter in North America.
The Navy used it to keep in touch with ships and overseas facilities.
For example, Chollas was the first mainland station to receive word
of the Pearl Harbor attacks in December 1941.

The lake water was used to help cool the giant amplifiers

which powered the transmitters.

The huge towers stood for 80 years,
holding a 3-cornered antenna 600 feet above the lake,
from 1916 until they were knocked down on Veteran's Day, 1995.