Carpenter’s Pond is many things to many people. It is a place to walk and keep fit, to catch up with friends, watch for birds, fish, and even serves as an inspiration for local artists. The vegetation there is lush, and beaver and muskrat make their homes along the banks of the dike. Whatever your reason for visiting, while sitting on one of the benches at the water’s edge, it is often difficult to remember that you are only a single block away from bustling Albany Street in Cazenovia Village. It may seem to you as you sit that you have been transported back to a simpler, quieter time in the town’s history. Of course, you have.
The canal was constructed in the 1850’s by the State Canal Commission to help control water flow into the Erie Canal system. It also provided added power to the local mills, but it was not until the 1890’s that the pond was dug out by Jesse Fairfield Carpenter. Carpenter’s Pond was separated from the higher waters of the canal by the dike then as it is today. The excavated soil from the pond site was used to provide fill for Lakeland House and for Carpenter Street, which was a wetland.
The pond was gifted to CPF in 1987 by Nanny Hubbard Oakman so that it could be preserved and enjoyed by the public in the future. Although many local groups have helped CPF to maintain the trail around the pond, drainage has been the largest maintenance problem. Water enters the pond through springs, storm water runoff, and inlet from the canal, but exits only through a small 100 year-old pipe. On Easter weekend in 2010, aided by beaver and muskrat, canal water broke through the dike beyond what the outlet pipe could manage. CPF worked with the Village to minimize flooding and patch the holes in the dike until repairs were made by the New York State Canal Authority, the owners of the dike.
In 2011, CPF planted native seedlings around the pond and added new benches and a sign with historic information at the corner of Willow Place and Carpenter Street. Volunteers help CPF maintain the trail and dike vegetation and there are plans to improve the pond’s outlet with grant funds through the Central New York Community Foundation.
Notes: This history was compiled using CPF’s Upland Journal and Cazenovia: The Story of an Upland Community by Russell A Grills.
“Carpenter’s Pond” (2009) – by Henry Drexler. Acrylic on Canvas. Click here for more Central New York scenes by the artist.