Ponds and Bridges


Laurel Pond, as it was originally called, was dug by hand in the winter of 1897 with the labor of over 100 workers. The smaller pond was once known as the Lily Pond because it was covered with water lilies. Wallace Stevens, a great American poet who lived on Westerly Terrace near the Park, used to walk here and wrote about the Lily Pond. The ponds are connected by a narrow neck of water with a bridge overhead. Visitors can look over both ponds from the bridge.

The pond attracts a large waterfowl population, which hurts the water quality. The City has approached this problem by digging out and relining the pond in 1991, making it deeper, and by adding artesian wells that have just now started to flow into the pond over a rockfall at the east end of the pond. There is outflow at the stream east of the rose garden. The city has also added 3 sprayers to the pond.

Stone Bridge

Originally, there was a rustic wooden bridge over the pond’s narrow neck. It was made of cedar, the same material as the Rose Garden gazebo. The Stone Bridge, built in 1905, replaced the deteriorated Rustic Bridge. This bridge is often seen in paintings at local art shows. Alongside the gazebo and the Rose Garden arches, it is another favorite landmark in the Park for artists and photographers.

Boulder Bridge

When the Boulder Bridge was built, there were few trees to obscure its interesting construction. Today it is surrounded by trees and shrubs, making it barely noticeable to the visitor’s eye. The bridge is an arched stone structure that has miraculously held up since 1900. Though small in scale, it is an engineering feat combining mass and grace.

To appreciate the bridge fully, you need to walk down and investigate it. The stream had been damned up in the early 1990s, but it has since been released to flow into its streambed. The City’s gardeners are now restoring the landscape along the streambed, which had become wild. It was built to provide a walkway over the man-made stream from the pond.