Popular New Milford pond recognized for its history
A popular New Milford pond has officially been named to honor its history.
A plaque bearing the name “Bostwick Pond” was recently placed on a large boulder in front of the small, popular Route 202 pond known for ice skating in the winter and fishing in the warm months.
The plaque was installed July 9 at the pond located about a quarter-mile north of the New Milford Police Department, between Elkington Farm Road and Taylor Terrace.
Bette Lou Emmons, who lives just north of the pond, spearheaded the effort. She was present for the plaque installation.
“It’s a victory,” Emmons said. “I’ve been pushing for this.”
Emmons’ great-grandfather, Edwin Northrop Bostwick, dug Bostwick Pond by hand for ice harvesting for his family and friends in 1880.
“It’s a wonderful endeavor to keep history alive in town,” said Mayor Pete Bass.
The mayor said he appreciates Emmons’ efforts to have the pond recognized for its history “and heritage ... so people in the future can understand the making of the pond.”
It is listed as Bostwick Pond on a 1928 map Emmons located.
“It’s impressive to see the map and to see the properties the Bostwicks had owned all through that area,” said Dan Calhoun, director of New Milford Parks & Rec, who helped coordinate the plaque installation.
The pond’s name is recorded as Bostwick Pond in Roger Sherman Town Hall in town. However, the pond was frequently called Canterbury Pond because Canterbury School purchased it in 1951.
In more recent times, the pond has been referred to by many locals as Conn’s Pond due to its close proximity to the former Conn’s Dairy just up the road.
The Conn family owned the restaurant across the street and just up the road from the pond up. Emmons was one of the first soda jerks employed there in 1951.
Before Walter Conn, who served as the 67th District's representative in Hartford from 1973 to 1985, and who died in 2007, Emmons said Conn, referring to the name of the pond, asked her, “Will you please get this straightened out?”
Emmons, who has long wanted to restore the pond’s name, began the quest in 1992 when she presented a letter to then-mayor Liba Furhman.
The idea was brought before the Town Council which “unanimously voted” to have the pond called by its original name but, over time, the project fell flat, she said.
“We need to let people know that one person can get something done if they consistently persist and persistently consist,” Emmons said of her perseverance. “I use that line with all my students in (horseback) riding. It does stick with them.”
The boulder on which the plaque was installed is from Emmons’ great-grandfather’s farm at 43 Park Lane Road. It was moved family farm, where Emmons lives, and taken to the pond.
Townspeople have long used the pond even though it is owned by the private school. The town leases the park and helps to maintain the one-acre lot on which the pond is situated.
Bass cited the “collaborative effort” between Emmons, the mayor’s office, Parks & Rec and Public Works to get the plaque installed.
Public Works moved the boulder from Emmons’ property to the pond.
Emmons recalled childhood memories of skating on the pond and the stern warnings her father gave about safety on the ice.
Emmons said there’s quicksand at the bottom of the pond and related a family story of how a horse and wagon went through the ice once and all were lost.
“I know two things for sure,” Emmons said. “Under the water is total quicksand, and no one should ever go in the water.”
Families of snapping turtles make their home in the water and are known for sunning themselves on boards that float in the water in the warm months.
In 2016, a drought emptied the pond, killing the fish that lived there and forcing the frogs and turtles to relocate. The pond eventually refilled and wildlife returned to the pond.