Furnace Pond Beach

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 and operated by Lambert Despard. Bog iron raked from the pond and nearby bogs was smelted and cast into pots, kettles, nails, anchors, cannonballs, and fittings for shipbuilding. The first cannon ever cast in the U.S. were made here.

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.

For centuries, the Pembroke Ponds were historically home to the Mattakeeset, a band of the Native American tribe known as the Massachuseuk (or Massachusett). They named their settlement Namassakeesett, or “Place of Much Fish,” and set up a fishing weir at the outlet of Furnace Pond.

Wampatuck (also known as Wompatuck, White Goose and White Deer) was Chief Sachem of the Mattakeesett. 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 Towne Tavern 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, retained significant acreage on Furnace Pond, but sold it to European settlers before her death in 1788.

Please bear in mind that Native American cultures often favor oral histories to written ones. Much of what’s recorded about the history of the South Shore is from the perspective of European settlers. It’s not the whole story. To learn more about our local tribes, we encourage you to interact with their members. The Mattakeeset band of the Massachusett and the Massachusett tribe at Ponkapoag also share information on their websites.

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.

Furnace Pond Beach, Furnace Colony Drive, Pembroke, MA, USA

Historic Site: No

Park: No

Beach: Yes

Boat Launch: Yes

Lifeguards: No

Size: 107 acres

Hours: Dawn to Dusk

Parking: Limited on-site parking on Furnace Colony Drive.

Cost: Free


Fishing pier, launch site for canoes, kayaks and small motorized boats.

Dogs: No

Boat Ramp: No

ADA Access: No

Scenic Views: Yes

Waterbody/Watershed: Herring Brook/North River watershed