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History of Big Island Pond Corporation

Historic sites: In the 1600’s American Indian campsites on Escumbuit Island, Derry and Conley’s Grove in Atkinson.

Governor’s Island was named for one of its first owners...NH Governor Bennington Wentworth…who purchased the island in April 1741. Several owners followed over the next approx. 130 years.

Originally there were two separate bodies of water—Perch Pond whose shore land was totally in Hampstead, NH. The second body of water according to historical records was Islandy Pond whose shore line was in Derry and Atkinson, NH. These two bodies of water were connected by two small brooks…one on each side of a mile long island separating the two ponds. In other words, there was never a lake called Big Island Pond until 1878 at which time a dam was placed in the Spicket River.

In 1878 for the sum of one dollar and other considerations Mathew Taylor bought the right from the land owners around both ponds to raise and occupy with water, eight and one half feet above the natural low water level. The method of recording the high water line for all to see was a split stone set in the dam, the top of which was eight and one half feet above the bottom of the outlet of the gate in the dam. The operation of the dam by Taylor supplied water power for five mills down river within the State of NH.

Between 1900 and 1904 Taylor had little use for the Big Island Pond Reservoir because most of the New Hampshire mills had either burned down or moved so he sold his rights to the Arlington Mills Corp. They would use the water to supply their mills down river in Massachusetts.

In 1905 the Arlington Mills Corp. built the present day granite block and concrete dam. (It was later named the Walter Stickney Dam). The dam is located on the Spicket River in the southeast corner of the Town of Derry, NH. The dam has a maximum height of ten feet and a length of eighty feet, including dual spillways of total length of twenty-nine feet.

In the early 1920’s the Arlington Mills were pressed for water supply for their industrial use and because Big Island Pond Reservoir could not fulfill their demands they constructed a dam in the Spicket River at the site of the Wheeler Mill in Salem. This dam created an auxiliary reservoir, now called Arlington Mill
Pond to supplement the water from Big Island Pond.

In the 1930’s Conley’s Grove had a dance pavilion where parties and gambling were attractions.

Mr. Walter Stickney’s family acquired the water rights in 1958 after they were no longer needed by the mills.

In 1974 the BIP Water Level Control Organization was formed by lake resident Warren Kruschwitz and others around the lake to better regulate the water levels by operating the dam in a more acceptable and consistent manner than the NH Water Resources Board was doing. This organization, with the permission of the water right owner Walter Stickney, held many meetings and laid the foundation for the Big Island Pond Corporation.

In 1978 Walter Stickney sold the water rights to the Big Island Pond Water Level Control Organization who in turn formed the Big Island Pond Corporation on January 26, 1979. Through the efforts of President Kruschwitz and Secretary Evelyn Shore, the corporation received an exemption from taxes of the flowage and water rights of Big Island Pond.

The object for which this corporation was established is to own, control and protect the water flowage rights of Big Island Pond and maintain water levels for the benefit, best interest, and enjoyment of the members of the corporation. The BIPC is made up of shareholder residents from Atkinson, Derry and Hampstead. They must own property or have a deeded access to the lake in order to purchase shares at $50 each which gives them voting rights in the corporation. The BIPC continues today with a Board of Directors and is an integral part of Big Island Pond itself.

The pond is approximately 500 acres of water and it is 85-90 feet deep at its deepest point. Named for the several islands (there are at least 15) within the pond and the large island in the center.