At least two dams in the city are in such condition that they might possibly be removed. Just who is responsible for the necessary repairs or possible removal is not so much my concern as the fact that these dams, one next to Alumni Field on Arch Street and the other on the Ashuelot River on West Street, at one time played a major functional part of the city’s industry.

In its final days before retirement, the dam on the Ashuelot River supplied water for power and other necessary functions required by a textile mill. Before it was filled in, the “Mill Pond” was an active skating and hockey rink throughout the winter. The dam near Arch St. held back the water widely known as “Bent’s Ice Pond.” For many years before the electric refrigerator appeared, the Bent family harvested ice there that went to the many homes displaying an “ICE” card in their window for a 25 cent or 50 cent piece of ice for their “ice box.”

Regardless of which city department pays for it, repairs should be made to retain these two historical structures. Let’s not repeat the mentality that prevailed during the 1950s and 1960s that saw the destruction of many of our historical buildings, as everything had to be new.


677 Court St.