A group of residents is working to preserve the history of Winter’s Pond, and to try to revitalize what was once a community center of the township.
According to township Historian Carol Greene, the pond began as a millpond in the 1700’s, and belonged for most of its history to Mahwah’s Winter family. “Winter’s Pond does have an industrial history,” Greene said. “But, even heading back to its early days, there was a sense of community built around this pond. This area was the heart of the old town.”
The pond, she said, began being used solely for recreation after it stopped serving a mill purpose, around 1900. “It was huge for ice skating, and families used to congregate around the pond. People even used to have their wedding photos taken here.”
The pond began to decline in the 1980’s, she said, after it stopped freezing over and could no longer be used for ice-skating.
Recently, following a 2011 dredging of the pond and subsequent township clean-up effort, Greene and fellow members of the Mahwah Museum, like Tom Dewan, have been working to revitalize this once township center. Greene called the area a “hidden treasure.”
“Our idea is to bring the pond back to what it used to be,” Dewan, who recently compiled a bunch of historic photos to make a display about the pond, said. “We’ve been working with the township, sharing ideas about different things that we could put here to attract residents to use it more.”
According to Greene, the revitalization of Winter’s Pond is important because it will bring back to Mahwah something the township has lost. “We don’t have a Main Street,” Green, the author of The Ramapo Chronicles: A 300-year History of Mahwah, New Jersey and its Surrounds, said. “But there is a sense of community in Mahwah, and a lot of that started with Winter’s Pond. I think we can, and should, get that back.”
Greene and Dewan submitted pictures to the Mahwah Patch, along with a brief history of the pond. Click the dots on the timeline above to see the photos and read some of the pond’s history.