Lakes and Ponds

Acton is well watered, having within its borders more fresh water than any other town in the county.

 

  • Great East, originally called North East and is partially in NH
  • Mousam, originally called Long and is partially in Shapleigh
  • Square Pond, originally called Crystal is partially in Shapleigh
  • Wilson, originally called Garvin
  • Horn Pond is the source of the Salmon Falls River
  • Balch Pond
  • Loon Pond, originally called Lone & flows into Lower Mousam
  • Hansen Pond
  • Moose Pond
  • Swan Pond

 

Shapleigh also has several 

 

  • Mousam Lake, home of the G.A.R. Camps
  • Square Pond, originally called Crystal Lake
  • Pine Springs, originally called Shy Beaver
  • Silver Lake, originally called Poverty Pond
  • Granny Kent
  • Little Poverty Pond, which feeds Silver Lake
  • Goose Pond
  • Little Ossipee in North Shapleigh
 

    There are lakes of every size and shape in Shapleigh, and this is what was said about them in the "History of Shapleigh," published in 1985, as the town celebrated its bicentennial. The statistics in the article are as of 1985. An update will appear later in this column.

    "Pine Spring Lake (formerly called Shy Beaver) is a lake fed by Syms Spring and became a fish hatchery about 1925-26. It is located on the road from Ross Corner to Newfield. Pine Springs was developed in 1969 and the first structure was built shortly thereafter. At the present time (1985) there are 54 homes around the lake.

    "Silver Lake (previously called Poverty Pond) is a lake on the Shapleigh/Newfield line. It was first developed in 1945-46. There are now (1985) cottages on the Shapleigh end of the lake.

    "Granny Kent Pond. There were three camps on this pond at the time of the 1947 forest fire. Granny Kent Pond is located between the Mann Road and the Ross Corner to Newfield Road and now (in 1985) has 104 camps on it, some of these having either been built as year round residences or winterized for this use.

    "Little Poverty (formerly Little Kent) is located a bit south of Granny Kent Pond. This pond feeds Silver Lake and has 12 camps on it (1985).

    "Goose Pond, located at the northern end of Mousam Lake, is connected to Mousam by a large culvert. In the spring of the year overflow from Square Pond runs into Goose Pond via a canal which was engineered by Good Sanford Mills. This pond has a number of year round residences and more camps. Square Pond, at one time called Crystal Lake, is situated in the town of Shapleigh and Acton, about eight miles from Springvale. It is 522 feet above sea level and covers an area of 910 acres.

    "The general opinion is that before 1900 Square Pond was considerably larger than it is today. After the Goodall-Sanford Mills bought the water rights and put the dam on the pond, the water level was lowered by the mill's need for water. In the early 1900s the water from Square Pond, Mousam Lake and the Mousam River was used many times over by the mills along the river. At times the sand bar near Treasure Island landing was completely out of water and was used to drive a horse and buggy between the island and the mainland. Libby's Island was part of the west shore.

    "Much of the land on the west shore was bought up by the Goodall-Sanford Mills when they needed lumber to make pine shipping crates and hardwood rollers for the dye house. The mills in turn sold the shore frontage to mill supervisors at very reasonable prices. The Shapleigh shore line was owned by individual farmers whose deeds ran to the lake and by the town itself when they inherited the Town Farm property.

    "One of the earliest camps on Square Pond on the south shore was owned by Joe LaPorte. Laporte owned considerable frontage on the southwest side of the lake. Just north of his property was a camp owned by William Batchelor and the next camp was William Bodwell's.  Mr. Bodwell owned a steam boat and he also had two daughters. The steam boat was used often for fishing and picnicking parties.

    "On the Shapleigh side of Square Pond at the north end were two camps owned by Ramsey and Chick. The camps are now owned by Ramsey and Fiske, formerly Dunnells). There was also a camp on top of the hill near the dam owned by the Clark family of Sanford and thought to be still owned by descendants of the original owners.

    "The large island at the south end of the lake was owned by the mills and sold or given to a Mr. Lesher of New York. Mr. Lesher was owner of a large store named Lesher-Whitman in New York City. He also became the selling agent for the Goodall Worsted Mill for dress goods and worsted lining material for overcoats. He and his wife wanted their large family to experience country living so they came by train, trolley and wagon every summer to their lodge on Blueberry Island. They had a windmill to pump water for washing but their drinking water came from Lesher's spring which is up in the Owls Nest area. The children used to walk to Shapleigh Corner every day for the mail and penny candy. They also walked to the church at the Corner. One of the Lesher boys married Marion Bodwell whose father owned the steam boat and a camp on the Acton side of the lake.

    "The next camps built on the Shapleigh side were Asa Pratt's (owned by Sammy Carll in 1985) and Raymond Doe's (1927-28), both built about the same time. In 1934 the so-called Town Farm lots were put up for sale and Earl Libbey built his camp in 1935. Many places from the town beach down to the point were built by friends and relatives of the Hawkes family of Wakefield, Massachusetts. A camp belonging to Arthur Powell was built on land in Indian Village leased from Mr. Smart. When Mr. Smart refused to renew the lease the camp was moved over the ice one February day to its present location where it is now owned by Michael Bonetti, Sr.

    "Mr. Lesher's store was a victim of the depression of the 1930s and heavy overcoats went out of style so he sold the island to as Mr. Bond, who sold to a Mrs. Quinn. Mrs. Quinn used the lodge as a girls' camp called Camp 'Kick-a-Wa' and she changed the name of the island from Blueberry Island to Treasure Island. After a few years it was sold again to Clifford and Mary Whiting who ran a boys' camp called 'Jon-Care.' The Whitings sold to Mr. Bowron who divided the island into lots and developed Treasure Island as it is today about 65 camps served by a ferryboat, central water supply, electricity and all the modern conveniences, each camp being privately owned.

    "Square Pond now has about 400 summer residences with 40 or more families living on or near the lake year round."

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