Soverel Lakes

The Lakes throughout Soverel Field and Watsessing Park (once called Watsessing Plain) have changed over the years as various parts of the Second River were dammed up, and then broken up.

The map below was made in 1881, nine years after the 1872 map we have been following. In that time, the formation of the lakes has changed considerably. The red star centers on the house of Matthias Soverel.

The street names have been augmented to make them complete and clear.

The Soverel House overlooking the Skating Lake as it is named on the map. The first Soverel House was built in 1757.

The smaller body of water was more properly a pond than a lake because it was so shallow. In the winter, this pond was used for ice skating.

The Soverel House has been changed many times over the years. Alterations were made in 1840, 1864 and 1870, but it still stands beside Soverel Field on Springdale Avenue in East Orange today (as of 2014).

The more commercial (money-making) lake was called Springdale Lake. Through the trees on the left, we can just make out the old ice house where ice blocks were chopped from the lake in winter and then buried in sawdust to insulate them so they would last during the summer. Ice would have been sold in large blocks from carriages like the one in the foreground. There were no refrigerators- only ice boxes. A block of ice might last a week or more in an ice box to keep your food cold and fresh.

In 1929, Soverel Field officially opened as a playground for the children of the city.

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