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A Good Walk Made Better

Farrar Pond Place Names

If you like to walk along the Farrar Pond trail on our south side of the pond, you may enjoy this reprint and update of an article first published in the October 1999 issue of the Farrar Ponder, the Farrar Pond Village newsletter.  The article points out certain landmarks from the dam to the eastern end.  The place names were given by various members of the Winchell family who owned the land now occupied by Farrar Pond Village and Lincoln Ridge, and the surrounding conservation land.

Farrar Pond Dam and Gut

We begin our walk at the dam (Site 3 on the map of Farrar Pond) at the western end of the pond. Ed Farrar, who then owned the land, constructed the dam in 1900 from dirt dug out of a hillside near the dam site. He constructed a spillway of oak boards in the northwest corner of the Gut (Site 4), the cove in front of the dam. It is so named for its shape and its function as the outlet for water and detritus from the pond to the Sudbury River.

The dam washed out during the winter and spring of 1946-1947. The Winchells installed a saddleback spillway of boulders and concrete in the present location. In September 1978, with the development of Lincoln Ridge and the deeding of the continuous lakeshore property to the Farrar Pond Conservation trusts, the Farrar Pond Association accepted responsibility for the dam. In 1992, a level-control tank was added near the dam to draw down the pond for weed control. In 1993, the first spillway was replaced by a gunnite structure that washed out in the spring of 1994 and was repaired to form the present spillway.

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Heading east along the Gut, you see the skived-out hillside on your right where Ed Farrar got the earth used for the original dam. Guilbert Winchell says earth was also taken from that hillside to repair the dam in 1946, and foxes had a den there for many years.

Well Point

Further along the trail, very near the opening to the Gut, the Town well building stands on the right. The point just beyond it at the opening of the cove is called Well Point (Site 5).

Pincushion Island

From Well Point, the trail goes right. After going down and up hills, you see a small island close to shore. Mrs. Winchell, the family matriarch, named it Pincushion Island (Site 6) because its tall pines reminded her of a full pincushion. Last Memorial Day, my wife and I counted 113 Lady Slippers along this section of the trail!

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 Birch Point

Continuing along the trail, you come to Birch Point (Site 7) at the entrance to the large cove halfway down the pond. The point gets its name from the white birches extending out at a steep angle over the pond. At the inner shore of the large cove, you pass by the Farrar Pond Village dock and canoes belonging to residents.

Perch Point

Perch Point (Site 9) is on the eastern end of the large cove and was named not for the fish, but because of its location halfway between Pine and Birch Points. Further east, you pass a small swamp on your left where the trail goes by a large stand of sweet pepper bushes and another trail joins from Hemlock Circle. In July and August, the pleasant aroma of the blossoms — like the odor of honeysuckle, only spicier — is quite noticeable.

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Pine Point

Further east, you come to Pine Point (Site 10), named for the giant pine tree leaning out over the pond. This pine grows over the remains of an even older tree, whose branches are still visible in the water.

Flying Squirrel Hollow

The trail widens and is covered with pine needles and bordered by high bush blueberries and red pines. After a long stretch, you go by the Winchell’s toboggan run and reach the southeast corner of the pond, where water leaches in from the hillside on the right leading up to Hemlock Circle.  Skunk cabbage and ferns grow in profusion at the pond’s edge. The elder Mrs. Winchell named the corner Flying Squirrel Hollow (Site 11) after skiing down the hillside trail at dusk long ago and seeing a flying squirrel.

 

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Winchell Cove

Turning left you come to Winchell Cove (Site 12) at the eastern end of the pond. Take another left at the fork and continue past the dock and boathouse still used by the family.

Pole Brook

A short way after the boathouse, the trail turns left and goes along in a meadow onto a boardwalk built by the Winchells to cross the newly formed beaver swamp and across Pole Brook (Site 14), the main feeder to the pond. Gordon Winchell relates “When Esther Wheeler, the eldest of an old Concord family, was in her nineties and a patient at Rivercrest, she told me that the brook was called Pole Brook because farmers used to harvest hay in the surrounding meadow and haul it up along the brook on poles dragged by horses. The Wheelers owned the field on the eastern side of the river and had a camp at the Gut. They planted the mountain laurels you can still see along the trail. They sold a four-acre piece to Ed Farrar, including the Gut, in the late 1800’s.

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Pole Brook begins in the wetlands in the field opposite the Codman House and behind the Police Station. It runs down the western side of a rocky esker located close to the end of Hillside Road. Then it runs near the gas station on Route 117, crosses under 117 and flows down Meadowbrook Road into a wetland pond in the woods. From there, it turns right, flows under Route 126, and down the slope.  Beside Gordon Winchell’s home, the brook tumbles over rocks before it levels out and flows into the pond.

The next time you walk the trail, try to find the key spots again and remember their names!

By Harold McAleer, assisted by Kathy Garner