Furnace Pond Beach, Furnace Colony Drive, Pembroke, MA, USA
Owned By: Town of Pembroke
Large pond in neighborhood setting, ideal for fishing, paddling and seasonal ice skating.
Furnace Pond was once known as Herring Pond. It gets its name from one of Plymouth Colony’s first blast furnaces, which was located nearby c. 1702. Bog iron raked from the pond and nearby bogs was smelted and cast into pots, kettles, nails, anchors, cannonballs, and fittings for shipbuilding. Later Furnace Pond became a seasonal destination, with a children’s summer camp on its shores, a handful of bathing beaches, as well as a community of vacation cottages. Its 2.7 miles of shoreline is now developed with year-round homes. Its depth averages 5 feet, with a maximum depth of 9 feet.
Before European colonists arrived, the Pembroke Ponds were home to a settlement of Mattakeesetts, a division of the Native American tribe known as the Massachusett. They named their settlement Namassakeesett, or “Place of Much Fish.” Primarily during the summer months, Native Americans would come to the Pembroke Ponds to fish and grow food. They set up a fishing weir at the outlet of Furnace Pond.
Wampatuck (also known as White Goose and White Deer) was a sachem of the Mattakeesett tribe. He was born in 1627, and became sachem in 1672. He maintained a lodge just off the pathway between Furnace and Oldham Ponds. This spot — on a promontory jutting into Furnace Pond — was later named Sachem’s Point in his honor. The restaurant Lucky Dawg (formerly Hosea’s), is now located there.
Wampatuck began selling his lands to European settlers in the 1640s or 1650s (although “selling” is a relative term, since the Europeans and Native Americans held distinctly different views on the notion of land ownership vs. use or stewardship). The area known as Mattakeeset — today’s Pembroke and Hanson — was transferred to the Europeans in 1662. However 1,000 acres of this area, directly abutting the ponds, was retained as property of Wampatuck and his descendants. Queen Patience, granddaughter of Wampatuck (sachem of the Massachusetts tribe), retained significant acreage on Furnace Pond, but sold it to European settlers before her death in 1788.
Habitats and Wildlife
Some of the fish commonly found in Furnace Pond include largemouth bass, white and yellow perch, black crappie, chain pickerel, brown bullhead, bluegill, pumpkinseed, golden shiner, American eel and alewife. Alewife herring spawn here and at Oldham Pond. They swim all the way upstream from the ocean to mate, returning every year. There is a fish ladder at the Furnace Pond Dam and a fishway between Furnace and Oldham Ponds, to facilitate their passage.
Furnace Pond is used as a secondary water supply for the City of Brockton. In the winter, water is pumped from the pond to refill Silver Lake. Water from Oldham Pond and various cranberry bogs flows into Furnace Pond. It continues downstream to Herring Brook, which flows into the North River and out to sea.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: Yes
Size: 107 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Limited on-site parking on Furnace Colony Drive.
Trail Difficulty: No trails.
Fishing pier, launch site for canoes, kayaks and small motorized boats.
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: North River watershed