Friday, February 13, 2009

not THE Crystal Lake

Happy Friday the 13th! With the release of the new Jason Voorhees movie this week, I wanted to celebrate the day with a little research (because I am just that weird). In this vein, I discovered that Maine not only has its own Crystal Lake, it in fact has TWO of them, one in Gray, and one in Harrison. One of them was formerly named "Anonymous Pond." Why does this make me laugh? I don't know, but there it is.

According to Maine's Lakes Environmental Organization, one Crystal Lake "is the only lake completely within the borders of Harrison. Mill Stream, which is the outlet of the lake, provided early village settlers with power to run both a grist and saw mill." [Source] The second Crystal Lake is has its own Crystal Lake Association, formed in 1970, whose website has some beautiful photos.

Back in 1963, the New Yorker, of all sources, reported on how Anonymous Pond (now Crystal Lake in Harrison) was about to lose its anonymity: "Incidental Intelligence: In Cumberland County, Maine, there is a body of water that has the arresting name of Anonymous Pond. Now some spoilsports are trying to have it officially called Crystal Lake, and it may become anonymous." [Source: John McCarten, Incidental Intelligence, The New Yorker, March 2, 1963, p. 24, read abstract here]

Anonymous Pond, though quiet in recent years, has a lively history, including one of Maine's first alligator captures. Yes, I said alligator! To quote Chris Dunham, over at All Things Maine, "The first [recorded alligator in Maine] was probably the one shot in Owlsley Cove, Anonymous Pond (Crystal Lake) in Harrison in November of 1895." You can read a full account here, but I will tantalize you with this tidbit: "The alligator was first seen by W. M. Shaw of South Paris. In company with other members of the Owlsley club he was returning from Harrison with a load of provisions when he noticed a large black object floating on the sunlit waters of the quiet little cove, near which the camp of the Owlsley club is situated. ... During Friday and Saturday the mysterious creature was occasionally seen by various persons, and shot at several times without apparent effect."


Anonymous said...

I am looking for information on Crystal Lake in Gray (not Harrison). I am trying to track down the story that at one time the lake dried up and that is how Dry Mills (part of Gray) got it's name. If anyone has information to prove or disprove this story, I would like to hear from them.
Tricia Currie Hunt

Anonymous said...

Look for the name "Dry Pond to get more info on the dry mills area. It is officially called Dry Pond on many maps. As for the "Association," it's a bunch of flatlanders.

Kenneth Latimer said...

Back in 1971 when I was 10 years old we had a vacation house in Norway Maine so in the summertime we would go swimming Crystal Lake this particular summer in 1971 I have received a snorkel and a snorkel mask for the summer we went swimming in Crystal Lake I swam out to out to where the ropes are I looked down and saw what I can only describe as an alligator. Told that story to many people I'm sure some believed some didn't but now that I've read these stories it only confirms that my story was true and I'm just lucky to be alive and glad that alligator didn't suck me in when I was swimming at 7 to 10 feet of water