Friday, January 18, 2008

Scarboro Pond at Franklin Park

Richards, L.J. 1899 (copyright © 2000 by Cartography Associates)
David Rumsey Collection.

Boston Daily Globe September 26, 1891

Ponds For Pleasure.

Three of Them Already Commenced in Franklin Park.

The work of constructing a chain of three artificial ponds has commenced at Franklin Park with the view of affording recreation, both winter and summer,for the children of Boston.

The ponds will be situated in the valley south of Scarboro hill, extending in a southwesterly direction, the third pond lying west of the circuit drive south of Rock Morton.

About six and a half acres will be covered by the ponds. Their depth will be eight feet in summer, but in winder the water will be drawn off so that the depth will be but four feet, and so prevent danger of drowning accidents, and allow skaters to pass under a rustic bridge situated between the second and third ponds.

Over the northerly shore of the largest pond a boathouse will be built where boats and canoes will be kept for hire. The ponds are so laid out as to add greatly to the beauty of the park.

January 30, 1902

Hockey Players Barred.

English High - Dorchester Game Postponed.

Schoolboys Indignant Over the Delay at Franklin Field.

Supt Pettigrew Will be Appealed to for a New Rink at Franklin Park.

The ice hockey game scheduled for yesterday afternoon at Franklin park between English high school and Dorchester high was postponed indefinitely, notwithstanding the fact that both teams were on the ice and ready to play.

Capt Hamburger of English high got his men ready to play at 3:30, but was notified by the officer on duty at Scarboro pond that he had received orders from Supt Pettigrew to prevent playing between the bridges, as it interfered with the other skaters.

The schoolboys were then allotted space above the westerly bridge, but when they went there, it was already taken possession of by the curlers from the Boston curling club, and as there was no possibility of playing without interfering with the curlers, the hockey players had to give up the idea of having a game.

The schoolboys now propose, if possible, to find out how things stand and they are indignant over the way they have been treated regarding Franklin field, and blame the park authorities for not insisting upon the contractor finishing his work so that the field may be flooded.

The also claim that the superintendent some weeks ago stated that a hockey rink would be provided for the boys at Franklin park, and that everything would be done to make up for the loss of Franklin field.

It is understood that a complaint has been made to the authorities that the hockey players monopolize the ice along with the curlers. Such is not the fact, as the rink, 180 by 80 feet, takes up comparatively small space and allows plenty of surface for the young people who are not interested in the game to enjoy themselves.

Hockey is exceptionally popular this year, and many teams practice at Franklin park whenever the ice is in good condition. Supt Pettigrew will be asked to provide a new rink by the school teams.


Not all was beauty and fun when Scarboro pond was laid out and filled.

At about 3:30 on the afternoon of June 18, 1896, a canoe capsized on Scarboro pond. While W.T. Irving was pulled from the water by boatman in charge Herbert Stiles, P.M. Benway drowned in spite of the efforts of Patrolman George Riley.

On the evening of September 12, 1902, Mrs. Ellen A. Donovan was found drowned in Scarboro pond. Mrs. Donovan, a resident of Roxbury, had been an inmate at the Austin farm hospital just up Morton street, and had escaped from the institution in the morning.

On May 20, 1918, Miss Hansea Larson, 24, disappeared from the Boston State hospital, and committed suicide by drowning herself at Scarboro pond.

Sadly, whether through accident or intent, on rare occasions Scarboro pond became a scene of tragedy.

Note: I followed the spelling of the article, but you may see Scarborough as well.


  1. Hi, Mark! Really interesting blog—thanks for sharing your research! I work for a design firm that's working on a series of exhibits for the Olmsted National Historic Site in Brookline, and we're trying to track down a couple photos we spotted of the Scarboro Pond site and construction in/around 1891. In your searching, have you seen anything like this, or do you have any advice about where to look? Thanks!

  2. Try Images of America; Franklin Park, Arcadia Publishing.

  3. in 1958 or 59 2 young girls drowned when they fell through the ice ar scarboro pond, Mary McFrarland and Ellen krauthamer. I went to school with them