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Pikes/Pines | The secret goldfish pond below Stevens Elementary

It’s a peaceful, mostly quiet existence. And friends seem to drop enough granola bar bits from above to augment whatever goldfish chow exists naturally in the storm drain of a Capitol Hill elementary school.

It’s not exactly clear when or how they arrived, but two fish continue to make the Stevens Elementary campus near 19th and Galer their home.

It seems unlikely the fish are related to the “unsustainable koi” removed from the Volunteer Park lily ponds. For one, that was years ago. For two, these appear to be goldfish, not koi. Goldfish, fortunately for this duo, don’t require the same amount of aeration and filtration the more finicky koi must have to thrive.

At Stevens, the drier than usual October, counterintuitively, has also helped. The water level in the cistern has remained below a large drain pipe with the fish swimming seemingly without a care below. Once the rains arrive, it’s likely the mossy fish pond will drain to the sewer.

For now, the Stevens goldfish are a curious kind of campus mascot and playground legends come to life. Some kids say there used to be a third. Others say they stop to drop in nibbles from their lunches. Most adults probably aren’t aware of the aquarium below the blacktop.  When your kindergartner tells you she saw fish in the storm drain, “Of course you did, honey,” is a reasonable parental response.

UPDATE 10/19/2018: Rescued!

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2 years ago

Great job on the intel gathering. 6 years there as a parent/volunteer and I had no idea!

Garrett Kelly
2 years ago

Are there any known plans for a rescue effort??

2 years ago

Seems like someone dumped the fish there. I hope they rescue it and give it a proper home.