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Lake Boon
Lake Boon, Stow MA.jpg
Lake Boon
Location of Lake Boon in Massachusetts, USA.
Location of Lake Boon in Massachusetts, USA.
Lake Boon
Location in Massachusetts
Location of Lake Boon in Massachusetts, USA.
Location of Lake Boon in Massachusetts, USA.
Lake Boon
Location in the United States
Location Middlesex County, Massachusetts, U.S.
Coordinates 42°24′11″N 71°30′05″W / 42.40306°N 71.50139°W / 42.40306; -71.50139
Type Reservoir
Primary outflows Assabet River
Catchment area 1,690 acres (680 ha)
Basin countries United States
Max. length 1.5 mi (2.4 km)
Surface area 163 acres (66 ha)
Average depth 10.7 ft (3.3 m)
Max. depth 23 ft (7.0 m)
Surface elevation 187 ft (57 m)

Lake Boon is a lake in eastern Massachusetts covering about 163 acres (0.66 km2) in the towns of Stow and Hudson, Massachusetts. It has been an important part of the Stow and Hudson communities since the towns originated. It was originally named "Boon Pond" after Matthew Boon, an explorer from Charlestown, Massachusetts, who came to the area in 1660. He was the first of two settlers in Stow and was killed by Native Americans near the Lake on about February 14, 1676. In 1883 a monument was erected in memory of him.


Henry David Thoreau's visit

September 4, 1851, Thoreau's journal entry is titled "A Walk to Boon's Pond in Stow." It starts out "Sept. 4. 8 A. M. A clear and pleasant day after the rain. Start for Boon's Pond in Stow with C." [William Ellery Channing] Of the 2,800 word entry for that day, very little is actually about the pond: "And now we leave the road and go through the woods and swamps toward Boon's Pond, crossing two or three roads and by Potter's house in Stow; still on east of river... Part of it called Boon's Plain. Boon said to have lived on or under Bailey's Hill at west of pond. Killed by Indians between Boon's and White's Pond as he was driving his ox-cart. The oxen ran off to Marlborough garrison-house. His remains have been searched for. A sandy plain, a large level tract. The pond shores handsome enough, but water shallow and muddy looking. Well-wooded shores. The maples begin to show red about it. Much fished."


The lake consists of four basins. The first basin made up the original part of the lake. It is the largest basin of the four and stretches from "the Narrows" to the dam on Barton Road in Stow. It is the only part of the lake that is completely in Stow. In 1847 the water rights to Boon Pond were purchased by Amory Maynard and a dam was built to increase the size of the pond. The intent was to add to the water reserve needed to provide continuous water power to the Assabet Woolen Mill, in the town of Maynard. Thus, in the early years the pond would be large after the spring melt, then shrink as water was let out during the summer months. Once the woolen mill converted to coal-fired steam power the need for Lake Boon's water was ended, and a more permanent water level was established.

The expansion went into the Ramshorn Meadow and the Ramshorn Swamp. The meadow area is now known as the second basin, while the swamp area is known as the third and fourth basins. The expansion helped locals to recognize this body of water no longer as a pond, but as a lake. Boon Lake is now 163 acres (0.66 km2) in size and one and a half miles long. Maximum depth of the first basin is 23 ft (7.0 m), the deepest part of the lake. The second basin is only 10 ft (3.0 m) deep, the third basin is a mere 7 ft (2.1 m) deep, and the fourth basin is 4 ft (1.2 m) deep.

Golden age

Lake Boon became a popular summer spot towards the end of the 1800s. It was easily accessible because of two railroad lines that ran by it. These railroad lines came out of Boston, which made the lake a great summer spot for city dwellers. At this time Lake Boon had a hotel, many clubs, two post offices, churches, and local stores.

In order to get from the railroad stops to the lake's hot spots, a ferry service was put into action. The steamship Cleo created a ferry line around 1900 that went from two points: Whitman’s Crossing near the Sudbury Rd bridge in Stow, and the Ordway Station in Hudson. In 1910, a gas-powered ferry called the Princess replaced the Cleo.

The entrance of automobiles into the economy made it easier for people to travel long distances. Therefore, Lake Boon as a vacation spot became obsolete, and made way for permanent residents to live there, instead of only vacationing. With the lack of visitors and increase in residents, the hotel was shut down.


These days Lake Boon serves as a very important part of the Stow and Hudson communities. In the summer it provides a place for camps and swim lessons. The town beach, Pine Bluffs, located in Stow on the first basin, recently installed new picnic tables and grills to attract families to come and the spend the day. Use of the Pine Bluff Beach requires a pass. Residents and non-residents can purchase a season pass; only residents can purchase a day pass.

  • Halprin, Lewis and Alan Kattelle. (1998). Lake Boon, Images of America. Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN: 0-7385-6436-2
  • Halprin, Lewis and Alan Kattelle. (2005). Lake Boon, Postcard History Series. Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN: 0-7385-3758-6
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