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BEAVER POND ... AND HOW IT GOT ITS NAME

   

BeaverPond





 

 

Beaver Pond is located on high land above the flood plain of Presumpscot River, between Spring ad Church Streets. Because the land falls away in all directions there is no watershed feeding it that could cause serious changes to water level. Because it was on the outskirts of town and wasn’t affected by the uncertain water conditions of the river, it was used as a waterway by the Cumberland & Ohio Canal.  The canal towpath horses used the north bank of the pond and then crossed the south bank by means of a horse bridge.  Now, that was an overview of the pond but how did it come by its name?

Years before white settlers came to Saccarappa  (later called Westbrook), hunters and trappers from Massachusetts and New Hampshire often came to the area hunting for beavers.  The beaver was the most plentiful and valuable of all the fur bearing animals in this area. White traders trapped the beaver or bartered with the local natives for their valuable pelts.  It is reasonable to assume that in the long-ago past, the beaver built its dam upon the little rill that emptied into the pond near 55 Spring Street.  Therefore, the resulting large pond probably received its name from the plentiful beaver found in the area by these early visitors.
See ‘People, Places and Events’ page for a poem dedicated to memories of the pond.
For many years an annual Fishing Derby was held at Beaver Pond. The Westbrook Rod and Gun Club stocked the pond and provided prizes.  In 1948 there were 1,192 young fishermen participating. 
The following poem was written to commemorate the event.


BEAVER POND
Westbrook, ME 
by William Jacobs, 1996

An ancient rite of spring occurred
I’ve seen it here today.
They’re fishing on the Beaver Pond,
The ice just went away.
March winds are still blowing cold,
but it’s April third today.
The trees are bending from the wind
and water’s rippling spray.
They’re fishing off the point of land
Where tow path bridge did cross,
and Canal boat were towed along
by the plodding of the horse.
It seems the local “Rotary”
would stock the pond with trout,
and a thousand kids with fishing poles
went scurring (sic) about.
They called it “the fishing Derby”
and prizes were to be won.
The people came from miles around
Just for a day of fun.
Close by is Saccarappa hill,
A cemetery by the pond
where lovely ancient fern did grow
with long and pointed fronds.
And Sunday’s picnic baskets
brimmed with delights galore
spread out on the banking
along the Beaver’s shore.
Yes, they’re fishing on the Beaver Pond,
the ice just went away
and memories, and thoughts of youth
come back for one more day!

 
   
BeaverPond2

 
References: Fabius Ray’s Story of Westbrook, Highlights of Westbrook History, Scrapbook Collection, Westbrook Historical Society NEWSLETTERs
All photographs and information taken from Westbrook Historical Society archives, unless otherwise noted.
Comments welcomed at info@westbrookhistoricalsociety.org
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