287 Tobey Garden St, Duxbury, MA 02332, USA
Owned By: Town of Duxbury
Small wooded park with access for canoes and kayaks to Island Creek Pond. Seasonal ice skating.
Island Creek’s herring fishery has long been viewed as an important resource — first by the Native Americans who resided in the Duxbury area prior to European colonization, and later by the colonists themselves. In 1702, when the first dam was constructed on the creek, it was required that the builder ensure passage for herring. In the decades to follow, the town appointed individuals to keep the waterways clear, and to restrict the days and times when herring could be caught. However by the mid-1800s, after industry had come to Island Creek, the herring fishery was forgotten. Dams from a grist mill, a sawmill, a foundry and a tack factory restricted passage and the fishery died out.
Fortunately this lapse did not last long. In 1877, the pond was restocked with alewives and salmon, and the work of keeping the brook clear recommenced, with a fish ladder constructed below Mill Pond in 1907. Efforts to keep fish ladders in working order have continued sporadically since then. For example, the county fire authority constructed a control dam on the creek in the 1930s to increase the size of the pond for water supply, effectively shutting out migratory fish. But in the 1960s and early 2000s, fish ladders were repaired and sluice ways were constructed to allow fish to pass through. There is now an additional fish ladder diagonally across the street. Please not that it is on private property, and not open to the public.
The park is named for Charles R. Crocker (1878-1958), who worked and served on board in the town for decades in many capacities, including the School Committee, Selectmen, and Assessors.
Immediately adjacent to Crocker Park is the Marietta Russell Wildlife Sanctuary, owned by the Duxbury Rural and Historical Society. This 10.6 acre parcel is rich in historic value, and features a herring run and a quarry, as well as 600 feet of frontage on Island Creek Pond. There are no trails. The Russell Sanctuary was given to the DRHS by the Russell family in 1963, and designated as a bird sanctuary.
Both properties are located within the Tinkertown village of Duxbury. Tinkertown derives its name from a former resident, Jeremiah Dillingham, who was a tinker (he repaired pots and pans). Tinkertown was also a hub for local shoemakers. Click here for more information on Russell Sanctuary.
This land is within the region of the Patuxet Wampanoag tribe, who for centuries have inhabited the area around the Jones River now known as Duxbury, Kingston and Plymouth.
Habitats and Wildlife
This 35-acre pond, in the village of Tinkertown, is the headwaters to Island Creek. It is about 0.75 miles in length and 0.5 miles in width, with a depth no greater than 8 feet. Fed by natural springs, Island Creek flows south for two miles through Mill Pond, under Route 3A (Tremont Street), and into Kingston Bay at Hicks Point. There is a sluice way downstream of Elm Street and a fish ladder downstream of Tremont Street to facilitate the migration of anadromous fish. Alewife and blueback herring, as well as rainbow smelt, swim upstream to spawn in Island Creek Pond. Other fish commonly found here include largemouth bass, pickerel, yellow perch, sunfish, shad, and crappie. The forest surrounding the pond is primarily oak and pine, with some cedar.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: Yes
Size: 43 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk.
Parking: Large on-site parking lot on Tobey Garden Street.
Trail Difficulty: No trails.
Benches, picnic tables, informational kiosk, trash receptacles. Launch your canoe or kayak from the shore of the pond. Please note that the fish ladder across the street is on private property, and not open to the public.
Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash. Scoop the poop!
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Island Creek