183 Wampatuck Street, Pembroke, MA, USA
Owned By: Town of Pembroke
Large pond for fishing, swimming, paddling, and small motorboats. Winter activities here include ice skating and ice fishing.
Oldham Pond is also sometimes known as Monument Pond. It takes its name from a prominent Pembroke family who built a home on its shores in the late 1690s. in the early 1900s, one of the town ice houses was located on Oldham Pond. Summer cottages sprang up around the pond in the 20th century, but now its 2.8 miles of shoreline is heavily developed with year-round houses and a summer camp. Monument Island and two smaller islands stand within the pond. The depth of Oldham Pond averages 10 feet with a maximum of 15 feet. Motorboaters: be advised that numerous rocky shoal areas within the pond are not marked on depth maps. Jet skis are prohibited.
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.
Habitats and Wildlife
Some of the fish commonly found in Oldham Pond include largemouth bass, chain pickerel, pumpkinseed, white and yellow perch, bluegill, white sucker, banded killifish, brown bullhead, golden shiner, black crappie, American eel and alewife. Alewife herring spawn here and at Furnace 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.
Water flows into Oldham Pond from streams, cranberry bogs and wetlands. From there, it continues south into Furnace Pond, then downstream to Herring Brook, which flows into the North River and out to sea.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: Yes
Size: 235 acres
Hours: 5am to 8pm (Memorial Day to Labor Day), or Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Paved on-site parking lot. No trailer parking.
Trail Difficulty: No trails.
Concrete boat ramp, fishing piers, seasonal swimming beach with lifeguards, picnic tables, playground, porta-potty.
Boat Ramp: Yes
ADA Access: Yes
Scenic Views: Yes