Walden Pond

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For Walden Pond located in Lynn, Massachusetts, see Lynn Woods Reservation.
Walden Pond
Walden Pond.jpg
Location Concord, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°26′21″N 71°20′23″W / 42.4392°N 71.3397°W / 42.4392; -71.3397Coordinates: 42°26′21″N 71°20′23″W / 42.4392°N 71.3397°W / 42.4392; -71.3397
Type kettlehole
Basin countries United States
Surface area 61 acres (25 ha)
Max. depth 102 ft (31 m) or 107 ft (33 m) [1]
Shore length1 1.7 miles (2.7 km)
Walden Pond
Nearest city Concord, Massachusetts
Area 250 acres (100 ha)
Built 1845
Governing body State
NRHP Reference # 66000790[2]
Added to NRHP October 15, 1966
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Walden Pond is a lake in Concord, Massachusetts in the United States. A famous example of a kettle hole, it was formed by retreating glaciers 10,000–12,000 years ago.

The writer, transcendentalist, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau lived on the northern shore of the pond for two years starting in the summer of 1845. His account of the experience was recorded in Walden; or, Life in the Woods, and made the pond famous. The land at that end was owned by Thoreau's friend and mentor, Ralph Waldo Emerson, who let Thoreau use it for his experiment.[3] Concord Museum contains the bed, chair, and desk from Thoreau's cabin.

Boston's "Ice King", Frederic Tudor, harvested ice yearly on Walden Pond for export to the Caribbean, Europe, and India. In his journal, Thoreau philosophized upon the wintry sight of Tudor's ice harvesters: "The sweltering inhabitants of Charleston and New Orleans, of Madras and Bombay and Calcutta, drink at my well ... The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges."

Now managed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Walden Pond State Reservation is a popular swimming destination in the summer.


Walden Pond in 2010

At one point there was an amusement park built at the western end of the pond, but it burned down in 1902 and was never rebuilt.[4]

In 1961, the Middlesex County Commissioners, then managing the land, proposed leveling a significant portion of the preserve for a parking lot and other "improvements". They had already leveled an acre of woodland for access to the public beach. The Commissioners were sued to stop the destruction of the existing environment. Judge David A. Rose, sitting in the Massachusetts Superior Court, ruled that Walden’s deed donating the property to the Commonwealth required preservation of the land and barred further development.[5] This decision achieved national recognition and Judge Rose received hundreds of letters from school children across the country thanking him for saving the land.

In 1977, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts installed a porous pavement parking area at Walden Pond as a special Technology Transfer demonstration project, following methodology generated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1972. The porous pavement still looks good and works well decades later, despite more freeze-thaw cycling than most other parts of the world.[6]


In 1990, Eagles member and solo artist Don Henley initiated The Walden Woods Project to prevent the area around Walden Pond from being developed.


Walden Pond inspired the naming of the American film company Walden Media.


The pond and reservation are located to the south of state highway MA-2 / MA-2A. Highway MA-126 passes through the reservation. The Fitchburg Line of the MBTA Commuter Rail passes west of the pond; however, the nearest actual station is in Concord center, 1.4 miles northwest of the reservation.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ as measured by Thoreau; the actual depth is variable as the pond rises and falls over a range of at least five feet (also according to Thoreau; see Walden)
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  3. ^ George Loper: The Woods at Walden Pond
  4. ^ Walden Pond: a First Visitation
  5. ^ Sullivan, Ronald (May 5, 1995). "David A. Rose, 89; Massachusetts Judge Headed Rights Panel". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  6. ^ "Porous Pavement - Pavement That Leaks". Millermicro.com. Accessed August 2011.

External links[edit]