'Jew Pond' earns unwanted scrutiny
For decades, the little lake in a rustic New England town has been called ‘Jew Pond,’ after a family that owned a nearby hotel. Is it time to change the maps?
One could say it was bacteria that caused Jew Pond to emerge from the miasma of history. In the summer of 2010, an algae bloom forced the closure of a small swampy pond near the center of Mont Vernon, a storybook New Hampshire town of 2,400 people. And so it was that “Jew Pond” was splashed across the headlines of the local papers.
The name wasn’t news to longtime residents; that’s what they had always called the pond. As best as anyone could remember, it was because a couple of Jews had briefly owned a nearby hotel back in the 1920s.
Newer residents, including a Jewish couple living in town, were aghast at what they considered a slur. A well-meaning town health officer petitioned authorities to change the name.
“I don’t care if they continue to call it Jew Pond. By all means, make yourself happy,” said resident Frank Weber, whose father was killed by the Nazis. “I just want the damn name changed. It shouldn’t be on any maps.”