History of Chandler Pond

 
 
William C. Strong

William C. Strong

Did you know that Chandler’s Pond is a man-made pond?

That’s right, it was excavated by local horticulturist William C. Strong. Strong, who was extremely knowledgeable on the propagation of fruit-bearing trees, was at one time the president of the Massachusetts Horticulturist Society. Strong was also an entrepreneur and he excavated Chandler Pond for ice-making purposes. In the days before refrigeration, as we now know it, ice was harvested in large blocks from ponds and other bodies of water. Kept insulated, the ice was preserved for all-year for delivery to residential and commercial customers with ice boxes for cold food storage. Strong created other bodies of water as well, but Chandler's Pond is, for all practical purposes, the last survivor of nearly twenty ponds, which once dotted Allston-Brighton.



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The Ice Business Heats Up…


Strong first leased and then, in 1858, sold the more easterly of these ponds and its adjacent ice house to Malcolm Chandler, an experienced ice merchant who had previously owned and operated an ice cutting business at Hammond Pond in Newton. Chandler built an imposing Greek Revival style mansion for himself at 70 Lake St overlooking the Pond, a building which still stands.

Once refrigeration was introduced, however, a fierce competition developed between the two local ice-dealers for the remaining business in natural ice. Following a destructive fire at Strong's ice-house in 1872, Chandler was arrested and charged with arson. However, he was eventually found innocent of the crime. Strong gradually sold off his Brighton property in the 1880s. Long interested in real estate development, he moved to Beacon Street in Newton's Auburndale section in 1875, where he proceeded to develop a new suburb which he called Waban.

Chandler's Pond was acquired by Phineas B. Smith in 1883. When the Chandler family failed to meet the mortgage payments, Smith took possession. In 1912 the Chandler's Pond acreage passed into the hands of local contractor John H. Sullivan, who lived in a stucco mansion at the southwest corner of Undine Road and Lake Street, a structure designed by renowned architect Guy Lowell, whose distinguished works included Boston's Museum of Fine Arts on the Fenway. In the following year, Sullivan sold the Chandler's Pond acreage to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

Development begins…

The archdiocese sold the Chandler's Pond acreage to developer George W. Robertson in 1925, whereupon Robertson proceeded to subdivide the property into lots for residential development. House construction along the pond's northern shore (Kenrick Street) began in 1925. Lake Shore Road, on the southern edge of the Pond, was put through in the mid-twenties, and the first houses were constructed shortly thereafter.

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The city of Boson acquired the Chandler's Pond acreage from various owners in the late 1930's, some it in lieu of unpaid real estate taxes. In 1941, at the urging of City Councilor Maurice Sullivan, Boston established the Alice Gallagher Memorial Park on the southern western rim of the pond. The wife of long-time Boston City Councilor Edward Gallagher, Alice Gallagher had long been active in charitable work in the Allston-Brighton community. In creating Gallagher Park, the city provided the Allston-Brighton community with an outstanding visual amenity that its people have now enjoyed for over a half century.

 Now this ecological and beautiful resource is a special location for all who “discover” it.  Covering an area of just over 10 acres, the unique green space offers wonderful opportunities for strolling, wildlife observation, and relaxation.

The city of Boson acquired the Chandler's Pond acreage from various owners in the late 1930's, some it in lieu of unpaid real estate taxes. In 1941, at the urging of City Councilor Maurice Sullivan, Boston established the Alice Gallagher Memorial Park on the southern western rim of the pond. The wife of long-time Boston City Councilor Edward Gallagher, Alice Gallagher had long been active in charitable work in the Allston-Brighton community. In creating Gallagher Park, the city provided the Allston-Brighton community with an outstanding visual amenity that its people have now enjoyed for over a half century.

Now this ecological and beautiful resource is a special location for all who “discover” it. Covering an area of just over 10 acres, the unique green space offers wonderful opportunities for strolling, wildlife observation, and relaxation.

This article of excerpts by Allston-Brighton historian Dr. William P. Marchione appeared in the Allston-Brighton Tab or Boston Tab newspapers in the period from July 1998 to late 2001, and supplement information in his books The Bull in the Garden (1986) and Images of America: Allston-Brighton (1996).

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