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Watershops Pond  (aka Lake Massasoit)  

Last Updated: 9/2014
Description
        This pond brings back childhood for me.  I spend many hours paddling, fishing, rowing, and swimming on this urban pond.  Since my childhood, this pond has become increasingly polluted.  The city of Springfield has done little to curb this problem.  Increased construction has reduced the little bit of woods that remain.  These urban pressures continue to this day.  Promotion of recreation would help awareness to this precious public gem.
         The pond was originally formed by damming the Mill River, which flows out of the westernmost end and continues 1.25 miles until its confluence with the Connecticut River.  Two main streams feed into the pond from fairly dense neighborhoods in Springfield, Hampden, and Wilbraham.  The North Branch Mill River enters into Lake Lookout that borders Saint Michaels Cemetery.  The South Branch Mill River enters into Dan Baker Cove from under Plumtree Road.
 
Lower Basin
        Start paddling at the put-in paddling southwest.  Springfield College is all along the shoreline until you reach the old railroad bridge.  On the other side of this bridge is the Watershops built originally for the Springfield Armory (see below) and was later used during Vietnam War for testing the M60 machine gun.  The water is quite deep here.  Use care when approaching the building near the dam/outlet.  Continue back northeast under the railroad bridge again.  There is the small Sylvan Cove.  Much of the area, on both sides, was affected by the tornado.
At about 2.0 miles you will approach the General Edwards Bridge (see below) where Roosevelt Avenue crosses.
 
General Edwards Bridge to Dan Baker Cove
      Following along the South side that is characterized by year-round homes.  As you approach a split in the pond, bear to the right, westward, toward Dan Baker Cove.
 
Dan Baker Cove
      The cove is lined on the north side with year-round homes and the south side by open parkland (formerly wooded before the tornado).  Here is an alternate put-in but there is no designated parking or formal boat launch area.  At the end of the cove is wetland where the South Branch Mill River enters and marks the halfway point of the paddle.
 
Pease Cove
      As you come out of the Dan Baker Cove on the north side, there is a small cove on your right.  A small point of land was know as Sandy Beach by the local kids in the 1960s.  Continue following the homes into Pease Cove.  As a child I would launch my boat at the end of Walsh Street.
 
Main Body and Springfield College Camp
     Continue along the north shore side.  There are homes but also woods.  At about 5.0 miles there is a small beach and launch owned by Springfield College.  Follow the shore that contains both conifers and deciduous trees to a point of land.  Turn right, north, and follow the woods to the causeway of Wilbraham Road.
 
Wilbraham Road Causeway and Lake Lookout
        The causeway is a busy road with culverts that allow water to pass from Lake Lookout/North Branch Mill River.  You cannot pass under the road but it is possible to carry over.  It is possible to add as much as a mile to your trip if you wish to paddle this small lake and into the river.
 
        Follow the lake on the west side southward along Alden Street back to the General Edwards Bridge.  Paddle under the bridge to the Take-out.
    
    
STATISTICS

Skill Level:            Class 1 - Flat water
Estimated Time:    2.5 to 3 hours
Total Distance        6.8 miles (1.0 Lake Lookout)    
USGS Map: Springfield South, MA (7.5’x15’)
Launch Address:   1 Northumberland St, Springfield, MA 01109

Position: 42-06.35 N 73-32.9 W    
Boat Launch: Car top launch near side of road. No motors allowed.
 
Physical Features:
  • Area:               186 acres
  • Max depth:         21 feet
  • Average Depth:    feet
  • Transparency: 
  • Terrain Type: Wooded, Year Round Homes, City Streets
Fish Population
  • Last survey 1979
  • 15 species: largemouth bass, chain pickerel, rainbow trout, brown trout, white perch, bluegill, pumpkinseed, black crappie, killifish, golden shiner, white sucker, white sucker, channel catfish and carp. Annual spring and fall stocking of trout.    
   
   
Put In and Take Out: 4.5 miles, 10 min.
  • Take Exit 6 on Route 90, Mass. Pike.
  • After paying toll, at the light turn left on Route 291
  • Go one mile and take exit 5 to 20A West and keep right.
  • After merging on to 20A keep on left side.
  • Turn left on to Roosevelt Ave at stoplight.
  • Travel 3 miles on Roosevelt Ave.
  • Turn right on to Alden Street at stop light just before stone bridge over the pond.
  • Go about 500 feet and pull over opposite Northumberland Street.  Unload here and park on side street.

    
State Pond Map
Springfield Armory Water Shops
      The Water Shops Armory was part of the Springfield Armory buildings in Springfield, Massachusetts. The original Armory stretched over two city blocks in what was known as the Hill Shops (where the Historic Site now is accompanied by the Springfield Technical Community College which occupies most of the 22 original buildings). In addition, a city block a mile south on a tributary river, the Mill River, is the Water Shops where the heavy metal forging & machining was done as well as gun stock shaping. It is now a privately owned industrial site. The building was originally a two-story building until Friday June 17 1988 when a fire destroyed part of the top floors. The building was built in two different sections the first was built as an armory in 1858 the second section which paralleled Allen Street built in 1901 is where the fire happened.
    Learn more about the Springfield Armory over the Centuries at the National Park Service website:
Springfield Armory National Park Service
Wikimapia
Watershops Armory Post Card
Springfield College
Birthplace of Basketball
The General Clarence R. Edwards Bridge
             Dedicated to the distinguished service of Major General Clarence Ransom Edwards, U.S.A., D.S.M., A.M., LL.D., commanding officer during the Great World War and beloved "Daddy" of the 26th Yankee Division, A.E.F. made up of National Guard Units of New England. The first American Unit organized as a division in the United States and transported complete to France. Due to the inspiration the General gave his men they became an outstanding division of the American forces. Awarded the Croix de Guerre with palm, made commander of the Legion of Honor by the French Government and presented the Grand Cross of the Order of Leopold, by the King of Belgium.​​

​​ For more information click below:
General Edwards Bridge
Car top Launch in this small park area