NEW GLOUCESTER — The 47-acre body of water formerly known as Lily Pond was legally and officially re-named Chandler Mill Pond by the U.S. Geological Survey on May 9.
The New Gloucester Selectboard voted in 2013 to rename the pond, said Alan Stearns, executive director of the Royal River Conservation Trust.
But receiving the official designation from the USGS took years and required a “pretty extensive application,” said Steve Chandler.
The pond’s new name honors Charles Peleg Chandler, Steve’s grandfather, who was born on Aug. 14, 1857, and died Nov. 1, 1926.
Chandler said that Charles and his family operated a sawmill at the pond from the late 1800s until the 1930s, and “he and the family have done a lot for the town of New Gloucester over the years.”
The application submitted to the USGS explained, “What has impressed us were the things he did for the business and for the community. Sawmills of that era (late 1800s to early 1900s) were often just seasonal operations. His mill was enclosed and multi-storied in order to run year round which provided a steady source of local employment.”
And Chandler did more than just run the mill.
According to the USGS application, “He also started the first telephone company here in New Gloucester … In reading old correspondence he communicated with the Department of Agriculture in Washington D.C. in the early 1900s expressing concern over the future of White Pine in Maine.”
Chandler Mill Pond is now known for being a high quality trout fishery with free public access.
Chandler said that receiving the official designation from the USGS is appreciated, “but locally it’s been called (Chandler Mill Pond) for a number of years anyway.”
“The current generation of Chandlers have done some remarkable work for land conservation in the area. With that spirit, we wanted to honor their request that the pond be named for their ancestors,” Stearns said.
Chandler Brothers transferred the 117-acre parcel surrounding the pond to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in 2016.
In 2018, Chandler Brothers donated more than two thousand acres of forestland in New Glocuester to the Maine Woodland Owners Land Trust.
Stearns said that knowing and honoring the history of the land is a crucial aspect of the work the trust does.
“The history of parcels is as interesting for many people as the ecology of parcels. So whether it’s by naming a pond or naming a parcel or learning about the history of the parcel, it’s a really valuable narrative for the work that we do,” he said.
Jane Vaughan can be reached at 780-9103 or at email@example.com.
Chandler Mill Pond, formerly Lily Pond, in New Gloucester was renamed in honor of Charles Peleg Chandler, who owned a sawmill on the pond and whose family “did a lot” for the town over the years, his grandson says.