Did you know that Spy Pond was once used
to supply ice for much of Boston? That's right, the cutting of ice on Spy
Pond was a major business with Spy Pond ice exported to all parts of the
world! With the shipping of ice to as far away as India, Spy Pond needed
infrastructure and equipment. This led to the development of the
local railroad and large-scale manufacture of ice tools.
But the story of Spy Pond started long
ago back during the official ice age (no cutting and shipping then).
Fifty thousand years ago when Arlington
was covered by glaciers almost a mile deep Spy Pond did not exist. As the
glaciers receded, starting about 15,000 years ago, they left "kettle holes",
depressions that filled with water. Spy Pond is thus a classic kettlehole
pond which was first filled with water from the Wisconsin Glacier which
also formed it. Spy Pond is now fed partly by groundwater and partly
by surface runoff from the surrounding area. Spy Pond has an average
depth of 12 feet and a maximum depth of 36 feet.
Real time history buffs may want to take
a deeper dip into recent Spy Pond history. During the Revolutionary War,
six Redcoats fleeing their captured supply train were corralled thanks
to Mother Batherick, an elderly woman gathering dandelions by the pond.
A few years later, in 1850 to be exact, the Spy Pond Water Company pipes
water to West Cambridge. Then, in 1867, West Cambridge is renamed
Arlington and the Spy Pond Water Company is renamed the Arlington Lake
Finally, the Wetland Protection Act Regulations
were passed classifying Spy Pond as a Great Pond under Massachusetts law.
We certainly think the legislators are right and hope that you visit the
pond for yourself to find out!