History of Farrar Pond

Oaky Bottom, a section of lowland that would later be flooded to create Farrar Pond, was originally part of a 666-acre grant to colonists Thomas Stow and Henry Woodis. In the 17th Century, Daniel Dean and Thomas Goble purchased the property, and in 1684 the land was divided. George Farrar, who had been apprenticed to Daniel Dean when his father was killed, bought the land from the Goble heirs.

At that time and until the flooding, Oaky Bottom was a hay meadow with a stream running through it. The stream was called Pole Brook because wagons could not enter the swamp when hay was harvested, so the hay was drawn on poles behind horses. The area was known to Thoreau, who mentioned Pole Brook in his journals.

In 1900, Edward R. Farrar, who owned some of the land, decided to flood Oaky Bottom to create an 88-acre pond. Some of the land to be flooded was no longer in the family, so he acquired rights to flowage from abutters. He then build a dam in the brook at a narrow channel near the Sudbury River called the gut on the western edge of the meadow, resulting in a long, shallow pond.

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Ed Farrar worked with a helper named Charles Foreman, who was a Cherokee Indian born in Indiana. In the same era, Mr. Foreman was also the model for the rider in the Appeal to the Great Spirit statue by the sculptor Cyrus Dallin that stands in front of the Huntington Avenue entrance of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Major, the model for the horse in the statue, was also from Lincoln.

By the early 1970’s the land along the southerly side of Farrar Pond was owned by the Winchell Family. The Winchell family wanted to develop 80 acres of their Farrar Pond land while saving as much of the beautiful landscape as possible, including the pond, the public trail along its shore, its banks, and the open field next to Kettlehole Drive that had been farmed for generations. Town planners worked with the Winchells to come up with an arrangement that would save what needed to be saved while allowing the family to realize the fair market value of their property.

To enable the first 80 condominium units to be built, the land was rezoned into an Open Space Residential District, an arrangement allowing more housing units on the land than would have been permitted under two-acre zoning. The structures had to be clustered on a specified portion of the land, leaving the rest for open space.

Mason and Frey were selected as the landscape architects. Their job was to lay out buildings, roads, and retaining walls by working with the contours of the land and the requirements of the zoning law. As Mason and Frey developed their plans, they worked closely with housing architect Henry Frost, who created a housing design that was in harmony with these goals.

And so Farrar Pond Village and Lincoln Ridge were built, nestled amid the woodlands surrounding Farrar Pond. Access to the surrounding trails are available throughout Farrar Pond Village, so you can stroll down to the pond for a panoramic view of the woodlands and wildlife. These trails offer access to the many miles of trails in neighboring Mt. Misery, Adams Woods, and throughout the Lincoln trail network.

(The information on this web page was adapted from a brochure produced by Ginny Lemire and articles by Kathy Garner that appeared in past issues of The Farrar Ponder.)

Trail map

Links to more information:

Farrar Pond Association – a wealth of information about the pond: nature, history, geology, maps.

YouTube video of a walk and talk with Gordon and Will Winchell and Harold McAleer