Freese’s Pond
originally published in the Communicator, November, 2009
by Mel Graykin

You’d hardly believe it now.  The silting in Freese’s Pond has made it so shallow and marshy that you can hardly get a canoe across it.  But once it was home to the Lone Tree Boy Scout Camp, where they had a dock with boating, swimming and diving.  Although, admittedly, they had to get permission to dredge part of the pond to do it.

As a child, I had the notion it was “Freezer’s Pond,” and it had something to do with people harvesting ice for their freezers.  But the pond is named for the Freese family whose farm the Lone Tree Boy Scout Camp of Amesbury, Mass. purchased in 1928.  The pond was created early in the town’s history by the damming of the “Lamper Eel River”, what is known today as the Lamprey River.  The dam was built by the Freese family to power a saw and grist mill on the site.

The Freese family home on the pond (still there on 107 right after the bridge) passed through generations of Freeses until it was turned into a boy scout camp.  The dam was maintained by the Freese family even after the mill was discontinued, so that they could enjoy fishing and boating.  Had they allowed the dam to fall into disrepair, the pond would have drained to become little more than a marshy stretch of the Lamprey once again.

The Lone Tree Camp ceased operations in the early 1940s, and the land passed into private ownership.  Lot owners around the pond formed an association to keep the dam repaired and keep Freese’s Pond a pond.  But by 1980, decay had caught up with it and there weren’t the private funds to rebuild it.  The pond drained with dismal results.  The town took over and voted to rebuild the dam in 1987, restoring the Freese’s Pond to what we see today, minus the accumulated silt of the intervening years.


Deerfield's own Boys of Summer, the Scouts of Lone Tree