Ponds Were Too High in 1899

Footnotes to Long Island History

Ponds were too high in 1889


Thomas R. Bayles


        Pine lake in middle island is pictured as it looked in 1908. It was originally named half mile pond because it was a half mile from middle country road, Today, due to lack of rain, many ponds in area are drying up.


       There is much concern about the lack of  rain during the past year, and the way the lakes and ponds in the mid- island area have been drying up. The following Middle Island news in the Advance for September 1899 gives a different picture of conditions at that time:

     "There are a number of ponds here, and when the water is high in them as it has been this summer, they encroach upon the highways so much as to make them almost impassable. A few weeks since, two ladies from the north side were thrown into the water and drenched from head to foot, by the condition of the road near Victor Edwards. The ponds there had risen over the road, and a narrow causeway had been built up through part of the submerged portion. The horse became frightened and sprang out into the water where there happened to be a buckthorn wire fence, which cut the horse so as to endanger his life.

       "On the upper Swezey town pond some narrow escapes from serious results by narrow and high causeway being built up to raise the road out of the water. (note: at the present time this pond is completely dried up) At the lower Swezeytown pond, Pine Lake) the public highway around the pond is impassable and has been for months. There is no way of passing the pond without trespassing on private property. (The road in those days went around the north shore of the pond, so later a new road was built on the hill to the north of the pond, which is the road in use today.) At Horace Randall's (Pfeiffer's) pond the Miller's Place road  has been passable only by a long plunge through water. On the northeast side of Artist lake it has been impossible to travel the road with out going through water from one to two feet deep.

        "There is no real need for these deplorable conditions existing, as there is land enough for roads clear of the ponds, and the market value the land is not more than $10 to $50 an acre. Roads were originally laid out close to the ponds to facilitate watering stock, but this necessity does not exist now and there is no reason why the public should not have roads convenient to use clear of the ponds.

       "The experiment of reducing the height of the water in Artist lake by a canal leading to Carman's river across the farm of George Prosser is progressing. Ten men were at work all week digging the canal but most of the way it had to be dug through marshy ground, where but little depth could be gained with out working in the water .The men were not provided with rubber boots and objected to standing in the cold water bare footed so the work stands incomplete until some means can be devised for digging out the earth beneath the water." (This was completed later on)

        As we enter the year 1966 we find that the ponds throughout this section are lower than they have ever been according to one of the oldest men now living, Mr. Lewis Ritch, who is 96 years of age. He recently said he never saw Bartlett's Pond so nearly dried up. Pine Lake, Pfeiffer's Pond and Artist Lake are all very low, and in the Ridge we find the ponds on the State Game Farm completely dried up, as is the pond Smith estate at Longwood.

        The springs that feed the Carman's river in Middle Island are so much dried up that there is hardly a trickle of water in the river for a couple of miles from its source. Perhaps the snow storms we are having will turn the tide once again and the beautiful ponds and lakes that abound in the middle of the Island will regain their normal size. 

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2022 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.