History/Travel

Arlington Mill Reservoir

There are two ponds that flow into the Spicket River that helped supply the Arlington Mills in Lawrence with its water.  Each pond has a unique history worthy of a closer look.  Arlington Mill Reservoir, or today just Arlington Pond, and Big Island Pond, which borders Derry, Atkinson and Hampstead, New Hampshire.  Big Island Pond flows into Arlington Pond, which then flows into the Spicket River, which powers the Arlington Mills before eventually flowing into the Merrimack River and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean.

Arlington Pond occupies 269 acres and is located in Salem, New Hampshire.  In 1919, 100 years ago this year, Arlington Mills purchased the land surrounding and underneath what is now the pond.  The next year they began construction of a 48 foot tall dam, which they called the Wheeler Dam, after the Wheeler Mill that once occupied the site.  In 1923 they completed the dam and filled the reservoir.  In doing so a stretch of Old North Salem Road and the foundations for the original mill buildings were submerged.  That would be an interesting dive site.

People bought the land around the lake.  According to the Arlington Pond Protective Association, “The land surrounding the lake was owned by Thomas Kittredge, Sr. He owned a coffee shop in Haverhill, Massachusetts and sold parcels of the land to his customers; the lots were nicknamed “Coffee Pot Lots”.” – APPA

I don’t see Arlington Pond often, but I hear it.  Boats, fireworks, snowmobiles and ATV’s are loud enough at night that the sound travels to where I live.  I’m roughly halfway between Arlington Pond and Big Island Pond.  And while Arlington Pond is much more accessible from a viewing standpoint, I’ve spent much more time on and in Big Island Pond.  Where Arlington has built up around the entire  shoreline, Big Island Pond has a more rural feel thanks to the protected land at Governor’s Island.  But Arlington has it’s charms too.  At some point I’d like to get on the pond and go for a swim there. Then again, you might say that I’ve already swum in the water before it gets there.

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2 Comments

  1. Never been to Arlington pond and didn't know it fed the spicket River which bisects Methuen. There is much history on those banks. As it crosses under rte 28, we found an old dump that we called the 1928 dump because da, we found license plate with that date on iit.Later that summer, it got renamed to the 1926 dump when I found a plate from 1926. Johnny found a case of old snap traps that you could fit your whole fist in. We call him 'Lefty' now. Just kidding, he eventually got his hand out! Thanks for sharing.

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