Friday, January 8, 2010

Sears Park - 100 Year Old Gift

On Saturday January 8, 1910, exactly 100 years ago today at a Special Town Meeting, the citizens of Chatham, voted to accept a most generous gift of 3.93 acres of land from the heirs of Stephen G. Sears on Lake Pocotopaug, creating “Sears Park.”

Recently, our Park and Recreation Department has begun planning a 100th Anniversary Celebration of “Sears Park” to unfold later this year and all are welcome as volunteers to assist with the festivities. You could make a difference to our community by joining the committee and contributing valuable commodities - your time and talent.

Much more will be written documenting the centennial span of Sears Park in coming months, but today’s date, coinciding with the acceptance by the people of Chatham (our name wasn’t changed to East Hampton until 1913), served as a wonderful reminder of certain aspects here that enhance our quality of life. Many communities glare with envy at this wonderful asset, the panoramic views all can enjoy from the casino (as it was originally called) deck overlooking the seven hills of East Hampton or just lounging on the beach.
Up until the late 1960s, there were several concession stands operated along the southerly boundary line but these were demolished after an additional piece of property was acquired in 1968 from the Estate of Mary K. Nichols. The excursion boat moored here was one of several on Lake.

The outcome at that meeting in 1910 was obvious. Our forebearer’s valued the pristine waters of the Great Pond, Lake Pocotopaug, as described in the deed to the Town’s original settler, James Wright, from which this Sears plot of land emanated.

Sears Park’s value is explicably tethered to the abutting but fragile Lake Pocotopaug, which too needs our immediate attention. To once again enjoy crystal clear waters as seen in 1910, to witness a summer where the algae has not turned our Lake pea green, to once again have fresh water mussels abound and crayfish dwell along the rocky shores will take the voices and diligent efforts of us all. It will take every property owner in the Lake watershed to abate harmful fertilizers. The new “green” isn’t a lawn! It’s a way of preserving planet Earth and I for one Lake Pocotopaug.

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