Gene Chague | Berkshire Woods and Waters: The Richmond Pond Book is a Pearl | Sport

In a joint project, the Richmond Pond Association and the Richmond Historical Commission produced a book entitled The Gem of Richmond: A History of Richmond Pond. The editor was Ken Kelly from Lenox and Richmond, the attractive cover is designed by Valeri Reynolds and Jennifer Coughlin. Many authors contributed to the book, and it was published by the Troy Book Makers. Although the 160-page book is a soft cover, it and the subsequent pages are top-quality, glossy paper that can be passed on from generation to generation.

The Gem of Richmond: A History of Richmond Pond.  (copy)

There is something in this book for everyone, especially if you are a local history fan. It covers the period from the Holocene Glacial Retreat, about 12,000 years ago, to today. Richmond Pond (formerly known as South Pond) began as a 98-acre glacier pond, scraped from the limestone and marble grounds of advancing glaciers thousands of years ago. At the time, it was about 30 feet deep near the center. Over the years, a dam was built, breached, raised and rebuilt a few times, reaching the point where it is today, covering 218 acres and over 50 feet deep. About 120 acres of what was first-class agricultural land now form part of the lake floor.

It is believed that the first inhabitants of the area were Paleo-Indians, and later Mohicans. According to the book, by the end of the 18th century the pond would have been in mesotrophic state (medium amounts of nutrients present). As nutrients, temperature changes and oxygen levels all functioned in balance, the pond became a great habitat for fish and wildlife. In the 18th century, the settlers arrived and built the first dam for industrial use, and the eutrophication process (increasing plant growth) began.

The book covers everything that happened after that – agriculture and later the sale of surrounding agricultural land, the construction of nearby railway tracks on the western side of the pond, the conversion of various parts of the land into camps, living areas, beaches and a boat ramp, and the people who were directly involved along the way.

Chapter 3 of the book deals with fish and wildlife. In the mid to late 1860s, large catches of picks took place, and “most of the fish were of good size.” Around that time, black bass (storm mouth) and white bass (white perch, perhaps) were in stock. At more than 50 feet deep, the lake and its cold water in some areas caused rainbow, brown, and brown trout to thrive there. Now, 10 species of freshwater fish have been found in the pond, most of which were legally stored at some point.

But not all. In 1979, a 20-pound 42 1/2-inch northern pike was caught out of it by Lois Kelly (Ken’s mother). According to Ken, it was probably the result of “sleuth private stockings” or “bait bucket introductions.” The book illustrates a few pictures of other successful anglers.

It refers to The History of the County of Berkshire, Massachusetts published in 1829, which contained a list of animals, fish, birds, reptiles and plants that existed near Richmond Pond in those days. With the exception of the wolf, the pilot and the mountain lion, everyone is still there. Wild turkeys had disappeared by that time, but as you know, the state has reintroduced them and they are thriving at the moment. The book shows an impressive array of migratory waterfowl that visit the pond annually.

There are chapters entitled “Old Times” and “Early Settlers.” They mention in some detail the early inhabitants (Mohicans) and how they were displaced by European colonization, and what they in turn did to the land. One chapter dealt with the expansions of the dam over the years, another with the effects of the railways.

fishermen hold up a pike

Lois Kelly holds the 20-pound, 42 1/2-inch Northern Pike she pulled from Richmond Pond. Her husband Tom Kelly helps her. Lois and Tom’s son, Ken Kelly, is the editor of a new book on the history of Richmond Pond.


The chapter on harvesting ice cream is quite interesting. Gray-haired people like myself well remember the ice blocks provided by the iceman who put them in our “ice boxes”. That was before Frigidaire entered the scene. There are pictures of people hand-sawing ice blocks, of ice shafts used to load the blocks on the nearby railroad, and of ice houses, one of which is Shaker Village Ice House.

About eight summer camps existed on that lake at various times, starting in the 1890s, and the book covers each one. Ah! The memories of local teenage boys fishing and swimming in the lake at the time, and always trying to plan a plan to penetrate the perimeter of the girls’ camps.

The book covers the various community associations that currently exist there, as well as some of its notable business neighbors.

There is so much more I could mention about the book, but I do not want to give away all the secrets in it. Suffice it to say it is a good read and I can highly recommend it. Ken and his team did a great job.

I understand that the book is already in its third printing. It can be purchased at Bartlett’s, Balderdash Cellars, Shaker Mill Books, Hancock Shaker Village and The Bookstore in Lenox.

For $ 20 it has been stolen.

Spring Fishing Derby

The Stockbridge Sportsmen’s Club is sponsoring a spring fishing village on Sunday 22 May at the Stockbridge Bowl Boat Ramp. It runs from dawn to noon. 15. $ 100 cash prizes will be awarded to the lucky anglers who catch the heaviest trout or salmon, pickerel, bass and bullhead. There will be free lures for all children under 12 years. Pre-registration fee is $ 10 and post-registration is $ 15.

Tickets are available from: Minkler Insurance Agency at 31 Main Street, Stockbridge or (w) 413-644-3590, (h) 413-298-4630 or contact a club member. Official rules can be picked up at the boat ramp.

Trout release

I was away last week and was not able to get a list of local waters before I left. To find out the latest waters, click on:

The day for endangered species is approaching

Join MassWildlife on May 20 to recognize the 432 plants and animals considered rare in Massachusetts. These rare species play an important role in keeping the Commonwealth’s natural community flourishing. MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program (NHESP) focuses on conserving rare species and their habitats throughout Massachusetts.

On the day of endangered species and every day of the year, you can make a difference in the conservation of rare species. Here’s how you do it:

Report Rare Species – Help MassWildlife monitor rare plants and animals by telling them when you see the species. If you have information about the location of a rare species or vernal pool and would like to help NHESP keep its database up to date, submit your observations through the Heritage Hub.

Donate to support rare species – You can make a big impact by donating directly to NHESP. You may want to consider donating $ 4.32 on May 20 to honor the 432 animals and plants on the MA Endangered Species Act List. All donated money goes to preserve the rare animals and plants that call Massachusetts home. Your donation goes to equipment and services needed to give these species a chance to fight.

Massachusetts Pistol License Course

Sunday, May 22 from kl. 8.30 to kl. 13.30 Lee Sportsmen’s Association sponsors a Massachusetts Pistol License Course (LTC-020), which qualifies participants to apply for a Massachusetts FID or LTC plus gun licenses in Connecticut, Florida, etc. This comprehensive one-day course includes information on federal and state firearms laws , operation and safe handling of firearms, firing bases, care and cleaning, concealed carrying methods, a live four session on the LSA Indoor Pistol Range, and more.

The course fee is $ 160, payable in cash on the day of the course. State license application fees and processing are not included. Participants will receive a course certificate, application forms, other resources and supporting documents. Participants will also receive new Walker hearing protection and safety goggles, which they will need to keep. Applications for club membership will be available on the course.

To register, visit and use the contact form; provide your full name including middle letter, date of birth, course date, course selection, address, phone and email contact information. For questions or concerns, and if you need assistance enrolling in a course, contact Robert McDermott at 413-232-7700 or email

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