Sunday, May 18, 2014

Acadia National Park's Forsaken Lakes
In the northeast section of Acadia National Park near Hulls Cove are two idyllic bodies of fresh water named Lake Wood and Fawn Pond, which oddly the Park does not promote to the public.

Lake Wood
Fawn Pond
Lake Wood was once a favorite summer swimming venue and it has an interesting history. From the early 1890s Lake Wood provided a supply of "pure and wholesome water" to the village of Hulls Cove.*1  In the late 1890s a pavilion and dance hall were built, where at least on one occasion an orchestra performed at a dance and a dinner of steamed clams, sandwiches and coffee was served.*2  In the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corps rehabilitated the lake by making its road passable, building a parking lot for 35 cars, removing snags and debris from the lake's bottom, anchoring a float for bathers, and cleaning and cutting the woods surrounding the lake making it "a veritable gem in its wooded setting."*3  After the Fire of 1947, which devastated eastern Mount Desert Island, the burnt trees were cut down and thrown into the lake and cordoned off about 100' from the beach. In the 1960s a lifeguard was employed at the beach. Lake Wood has been noted for such other amenities as male and female changing rooms at the beach and a diving board secured to a granite ledge.*4  These today are among the fading memories of an enjoyable era. Nevertheless, those who know of Lake Wood still enjoy its sandy beach, granite ledges and refreshing water.

The 17-acre Lake Wood was last privately owned by the Schermerhorn sisters, descendants of an old New York City Dutch family. They donated the lake to the Park. At the north end of the lake is a memorial to them, completed in October 1929, which states: In memory of Annie Cottenet Kane and Fanny Schermerhorn Bridgham who gave the lake and the surrounding land to Acadia National Park. Perley Pond, a granite cutter who operated a quarry on MDI and had a shop on Cottage Street in Bar Harbor, built the 26x5-foot granite bridge and inscribed the nearby boulder. Renowned landscape architect Beatrix Farrand designed the bridge, a plan approved by Park superintendant George Dorr in November, 1928.

                                                                                                                                            NPS-Acadia NP
Schermerhorn Memorial bridge
In 1990 a Bangor, ME newspaper ran a story about the Schermerhorn memorial being "recently uncovered by volunteers working on trails in the park."*5 
                                                                            Bangor Daily News
FOA volunteers at Lake Wood - 1990
The photo caption reads: Discussing the clearing of the Lake Wood trail are (from left) volunteers Ken Sergeson, George Buck and Friends of Acadia Director Duane Pierson. (NEWS Photo by Kathy Harbour)


The Schermerhorn memorial is the largest and was once the grandest in the Park. Sadly, due to neglect it is in disgraceful condition.

Schermerhorn Memorial today
An unmaintained path along the lake's west side has stepping stones in front of a granite outcropping at the water's edge. They are walkable at low water level and are similar to the stepping stones along the west side of The Tarn, south of Bar Harbor. That path was constructed from funds donated by Annie Schermerhorn in memory of her late husband John Kane.*6

Fawn Pond is near Lake Wood's southeast corner. It perhaps was another local swimming hole. The 4-acre pond was owned by Charles How, a Bostonian who came to Bar Harbor in 1870. He saw the potential to attract others to MDI and began acquiring land for development. He was among the incorporators in 1891 of the Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association, an organization founded to help ensure the safety, health and beauty of the village. In 1904 How gave Fawn Pond to the BHVIA. Two years later the BHVIA installed a bronze memorial plaque in his honor on a granite face at the pond's north edge. It reads: This tablet commemorates the gift by Charles T. How of the Fawn Pond and forty acres of land to the Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association 1906. Secluded Fawn Pond is a short walk from Lake Wood by way of two converging unmaintained paths.

How Memorial
Lake Wood and Fawn Pond are accessible via Lake Wood Pond Road off the Crooked Road 0.7 miles west of Route 3 at Hulls Cove. Parking and restrooms are available. The Schermerhorn memorial lies about 250 feet northwest of the beach. The How memorial is to the southeast, less than half a mile from the beach.*7

Note: As of this date, the Park has not yet opened Lake Wood Pond Road to cars.

1 Bar Harbor Record, December 1, 1892, p.4.
2 Bar Harbor Record September 21, 1898, p.5.

3 Bar Harbor Times, March 28, 1934, p.7.
4 I am thankful to Mike Alley, once a nearby resident and youthful swimmer, for his Lake Wood recollections.

5 "Lake Wood monument, foot bridge echo a forgotten past." Bangor Daily News, October 2, 1990.
6 In addition to the Lake Wood donation, Annie and John and Fanny and her husband, Samuel Bridgham, also donated 467 acres of Acadia NP's Kebo Mountain to the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations, the seminal organization that created the Park from such donations.

7 GPS locations of the Schermerhorn memorial (N44° 24.648' W068° 16.246') and the How memorial (N44° 24.416' W068° 15.890').