The creation of Ponderosa Pond

This is a place in St. George that people drive by on a regular basis but know little about. To some of us long-time residents we still remember when this was a marshy area similar to the area on the easterly side of Turkey Cove Road across from the entrance to Otis Point Road—an area that would flood during heavy rains, but was home to a meandering stream the rest of the time.

This pond was created in the fall of 1963 by the Town of St. George when it rebuilt the section of road at the head of Watts Cove at a cost of $3,000. A 1965 news article tells us that prior to 1963, when the culvert under the road was down at the level of the brook draining out of the marsh area, this section of road was so dangerous that school buses were not allowed to cross over it.

The idea of flooding the marsh came from Harold Watts. He was a dairy farmer who lived just up the road and had a great interest in preserving things of nature. The 10-acre marsh was part of a larger piece of land owned at the time by Alfred Leppanen, who joined in the idea of creating this beautiful spot. So in 1963 the town built up the road, effectively damming the brook to create the pond. The new road culvert was placed at a higher level to drain the excess water from the new pond. Rebuilding the base of the road made it much safer.

Harold Watts passed away in 1964, a year after the project was completed, and in May of 1965 the area was dedicated to his memory. The weekend of the dedication the local Boy Scout troop planted on the site a grove of red pines that were donated by the State Forestry Department. On the same day more than 1,500 young trout were put into the lake. The plaque to Watts’ memory was also placed on the site. —John Falla

PHOTOS: Top, Dawn Leppanen Gauthier, bottom, John Falla


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2 thoughts on “The creation of Ponderosa Pond

  1. Carrie B Gorman

    I read each issue of the Dragon eagerly, thank you so much for your wonderful publication. This article was my favorite so far. I grew up on the curve on Wallston Road, and considered the Ponderosa my very own playground. I spent so many hours here, skating, watching the beavers, even swimming a few times. My sister and I would walk there and just hang out for hours. I believe the pond gave me my lifelong love of the outdoors. I never knew the history of this amazing spot. Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. Dawn Leppanen Gauthier

    Thank you so much for this history lesson. I only knew a part of this story and am thrilled to read this. I feel like one of the luckiest people on the peninsula to be able to be a part of the Town’s legend.


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