Lake Nokomis is one of several lakes in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The lake was originally named Lake Amelia in honor of Captain George Gooding's daughter, Amelia, in 1819. Its current name was adopted in 1910 to honor Nokomis, grandmother of Hiawatha (legendary Indian hero of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, The Song of Hiawatha). It is located in the southern part of the city, west of the Mississippi River and south of Lake Hiawatha. The lake is oval in shape, with a long axis running southwest to northeast. Because the lower part of the lake is crossed by Cedar Avenue running north-south, the impression from the ground is that the lake is shaped like an L. The lake has an area of 204acre.When purchased in 1907, the lake was very shallow, only 5ft deep in the deepest spot. Much of it was actually marshland or slough—a drainage area for the neighborhood. It was deepened by dredging to produce the current lake.In 1940, Dr. Chris Lambertsen performed about 12 Scuba dives in his Lambertsen Amphibious Respiratory Unit (LARU) prototype in Lake Nokomis. The LARU was the first rebreather designed and built in the United States and these dives are the first closed-circuit oxygen dives in U.S. history. On one of these dives, Lambertsen experienced an episode of oxygen toxicity but managed to surface without assistance.
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