Walden Pond is a 31-metre-deep (102 ft) lake
A lake is a body of relatively still fresh or salt water of considerable size, localized in a basin, that is surrounded by land. Lakes are inland and not part of the ocean and therefore are distinct from lagoons, and are larger and deeper than ponds. Lakes can be contrasted with rivers or streams,...
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...
(USA). It is 61 acres (246,858.5 m²) in area and 1.7 miles (2.7 km) around, located in Concord, Massachusetts
Concord is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 17,668. Although a small town, Concord is noted for its leading roles in American history and literature.-History:...
, in the United States. A famous example of a kettle hole
A kettle is a shallow, sediment-filled body of water formed by retreating glaciers or draining floodwaters.-Overview:...
, it was formed by retreating glaciers 10,000–12,000 years ago.
The writer, transcendentalist, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist...
lived on the shores 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 spot famous. Concord Museum
The Concord Museum is a museum of local history located at 200 Lexington Road, Concord, Massachusetts, USA, and best known for its collection of artifacts from authors Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. It is open daily except major holidays; an admission fee is charged.Founded in 1886,...
contains the bed, chair, and desk from Thoreau's cabin.
Boston's "Ice King", Frederic Tudor
Frederic Tudor was known as Boston's "Ice King", and was the founder of the Tudor Ice Company. During the early 19th Century, he made a fortune shipping ice to the Caribbean, Europe, and even as far away as India from sources of fresh water ice in New England.The Tudor Ice Company harvested ice in...
, 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.
At one point there was an amusement park built at the western end of the pond, but it burnt down in 1902 and was never rebuilt.
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. 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 best-practice 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.
In 1990, Eagles member and solo artist Don Henley
Donald Hugh "Don" Henley is an American singer, songwriter and drummer, best known as a founding member of the Eagles before launching a successful solo career. Henley was the drummer and lead vocalist for the Eagles from 1971–1980, when the band broke up...
initiated The Walden Woods Project to prevent the area around Walden Pond from being developed.