Ice harvesting on Lake Massasoit (1898)
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This photograph shows people harvesting ice and walking out on Springfield Massachusetts' Lake Massasoit. The lake is covered in snow. There are two open spots with people on the edges with these areas with other devices used to harvest ice. There also appears to be horses pulling blocks out in the middle of the lake. The picture was said to be taken on March 3, 1898. In 1809, Lake Massasoit was formed by the army by damming the Mill River. The purpose of the dam was to ensure a constant flow of water downstream for the Springfield Armory “Watershops.” The Springfield Armory was America’s first and last National Armory, formed in 1777 and continuing production up until 1968. The formerly named Watershops Pond has 7 miles of shoreline and covers 186 acres. From 1892-1900, the buildings of Springfield College began to come about, and the name was changed to Lake Massasoit by Springfield College officials. The name came from a local hotel, the Massasoit House, owned by Marvin Chapin, a generous benefactor of the college. In 1920, the college purchased a large area of land on the upper end of the pond, and called it the “Freshman Camp.” Since the college was formed, students, faculty and visitors have used the Pond for sailing, swimming, ice skating and fishing. However, the lake was officially closed for swimming in 1984 when the lake was said to be unhealthy. Ice harvesting on the pond was a large industry for many decades. The Springfield Ice Company was formed in 1858, and maintained ice houses on the shores of what is now Lake Massasoit. Two large stables were built along the shoreline to house 60 to 80 horses. These horses, along with wagons, were used for ice harvesting up until the early 1930’s, in which trucks took over to make all of the deliveries. Cutting the ice on the pond also ended at this time, as the building of an ice house took place to manufacture ice. This image reads "March 3, 1898. Looking East from the Library." It also contains the name John Nesbitt (Class of 1900) who presumably photographed the scene
|Nesbitt, John A|
|Springfield College Archives and Special Collections|
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