My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wyoming, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I learned to Swim at Walden Pond Before Thoreau was Cool

The idea to write about swimming and Walden Pond came about in late winter, when blogger, John Tew of the Filiopietism Prism blog and I had an email conversation that somehow led to the Pond. I said I would go and take photos to incorporate into my blog post and share with him on this site. John, who lives in Virginia, has driven by the area, but never stopped and always wished he had.

The above photo shows where the road was to the parking lot of "Camp Hart," a former day camp, located between Lincoln and Concord. In the late 50s, I attended that camp, right across the road from the Pond, and all the campers had their swimming lessons there. John thought it was interesting that I learned there, and that is how I decided to write about both. Recently, my husband and I drove 45 minutes to my old camp and to check out the area. We don't go often because of the crowds of tourists, so we chose a very overcast day when we knew it would be quiet. There were no original buildings standing on the private land.

An article in the Boston Globe stated, "The reservation will open for swimmers this year starting May 24." It seems there was a possibly of banning open water swimming this year. Often, people have their strong opinions about swimming in the well-known Pond. They also have strong thoughts on water, as in drinking water. A little over a year ago, the town of Concord banned the sale of plastic bottles of water! So, when I went into their gift shop, I wasn't surprised to see water, but it was in a square box. I really should go back and take a photo of it. They don't mind you drinking water, just don't want plastic containers thrown around their town. I don't know their thoughts on Pepsi.
There is so much I don't remember about the camp. Was it co-ed, I don't know. How many weeks did I go, no idea. However, I do remember walking around the left side of the Pond to the railroad tracks and picking up bottles, cigarette butts and other trash. A happier thing was picking berries, perhaps raspberries on the property. Never did we go to Thoreau's now famous hut site.
WALDEN POND STATE RESERVATION
ESTABLISHED 1922
To preserve the Walden of Emerson and
Thoreau. About eighty acres of land were
given the commonwealth by deeds from
Edith E. Forbes et. al. and C. Fay Heywood et. al.
Other purposes of the gift were to allow
the public to enjoy the woods and nature
including bathing, boating and fishing.
The Middlesex County Commissioners
constitute the reservation Commission
and expenses of care and improvement
are borne by the county.
As we walked down the hill, we saw the same old bathhouse. Now used for staff and lifeguards. Below, there is sand on two sides, however, it wasn't always like that. During the camp, the only beach was in front of the bathhouse.

Yes, it did rain on our parade. Below, you can see how easy it is to get to Thoreau's hut site.
We decided to walk around the Pond, little over a mile. They have made nice improvements to the walkway, as it used to be very hilly, with rocks and tree roots everywhere.
 The Pond from the opposite side of the Bathhouse.
Plenty of students, having a history lesson. Yes, we had Walden to ourselves, except for a large group of students who surprised us at Thoreau's hut.
"I went to the woods  because
I wished to live deliberately,
to front only the essential
facts of life
and see if I could
not learn what it had to teach
and not, when I came to die,
 discover that I had not lived." Thoreau

(Note: During this time, he walked home, ate there, washed his clothes and met with friends.)

The large stones show the outline of where the hut was, and the smaller ones in the back were where the shed was.
  Raindrops and a few seconds of sunlight, changed the color of the water to this lovely shade.
 Near the parking lot is a reconstructed hut, and his wood shed.

4 comments:

Lisa Wallen Logsdon said...

Loved this post Barbara! What beautiful photos. Especially love that photo of the pond after the rain!

Barbara Poole said...

Thanks Lisa for noticing that one. I was so lucky with the lighting at that moment.

Carol said...

LOVED this! Well done. Like the mixing of your memories and today's version of the area. Photos great.

CLAP CLAP CLAP!

Barbara Poole said...

Thank you Carol. I know it's on your bucket list, so when you come East, I want to see you at that site!