Friday, June 24, 2016

Summer, Camps Pond and the history of today's Hatch Lake..

This first week of summer has brought some wonderful weather to our area.  The summer folks who gather around our many lakes and reservoirs have arrived and camp cleaning and summer dinning are evident in the area near the ponds, lakes and reservoirs. From Leland's Ponds in the east to Hatch Lake in the west the Town of Eaton still sparkles in the summer sun!

The history of these bodies of water are an interesting reminder of what was accomplished by men who did not have earth moving equipment... only rudimentary tools and horses.  Some of these are a marvel when you think about the years they were engineered and the success of the idea of a canal feeder and its feeders materialized.  One such pond, which was just that a pond, was expanded to be one of the most beautiful summer get-a-ways for the old days it was called Camp's Pond and today we call it Hatch's Lake.  Have been a bit under the weather this week but figured you might enjoy a trip into history!

Camps’ Pond

Today’s Hatch’s Lake, in the corner of the Town of Eaton, once fed the historic Chenango Canal but dates its original name, Camp’s Pond, back to the late 1790s.

Dr. Abner Camp was an early resident of what he named Camp’s Hill, a man of great humor and interest in the local community.  Tales of his adventures hunting and with his efforts to stop the local Native Americans from peering into his cabin at all hours still exist in the area.  He once set about to scare the local intruders by threatening to raise a company of men to run them off after they threatened a war party to get even with him.  He won when he and two other men shouted about like a troop of men and put a bullet over the head of a sleeping old Indian, scaring him almost to death.  The man ran away back to his village thinking a whole troop of men was after him.

Camp’s Pond gave way to Hatch’s Pond when Peter Hatch took the property over in the early 1800s.  By 1833, and the opening of the Chenango Canal, the pond was enlarged as part of the feeder system of canal reservoirs and is today named Hatch Lake.

At one point, the lake’s outlet at the southwestern end was dammed so that the water would no longer flow to the south over the Tioughnioga River and instead would flow to another man-made reservoir, Bradley Brook Reservoir.

Today, the level of the lake and its outlet are controlled and summer camps dot the shores, a great fisherman’s paradise.  This part of the Chenango Canal’s feeder system still feeds the Erie Canal far to the north, at its end starts a man-made reservoir called Bradley Brook. Bradley Brook Reservoir, constructed also in 1835 and '36, covers an area of 134 acres.

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