by Zach Clayton • Middle Basin Resident • MPA board member since 2019 • 30+ years on the lake
Moose Pond is a beautiful three-basin lake, stretching nine miles from Denmark to Sweden and crossing through the town of Bridgton. Nestled under the shadow of Pleasant Mountain and the Shawnee Peak ski area, it entertains many visitors to its shores during all four seasons and is home to a wide variety of wildlife both in, on and around the lake.
The Moose Pond watershed encompasses over 10,000 acres and the surface of the lake covers more than 1,000 acres. These statistics would be impressive on their own, but the lake is also one of Maine’s earliest man-made lakes — no easy feat to create and no easy feat to maintain.
The dam that was used to create Moose Pond is located at the south end of the lower basin in the town of Denmark. It is made of concrete and is currently being refurbished as the last major overhaul occurred back in 2004. Three towns ‘share’ responsibility for the lake’s watershed and dam. The towns are Bridgton, Denmark and Sweden.
Today, the dam is necessary to maintain Moose Pond, but its original establishment in 1792 did not have motorboats, sailboats, kayaks, fishing, ice skating and summer camps in mind. The dam’s construction was completed by a Massachusetts born, Denmark resident named Cyrus Ingalls. Cyrus, according to a book entitled, Upper Saco River Valley: Fryeburg, Lovell, Brownfield, Denmark, and Hiram, by Diane and Jack Barnes, was one of Denmark’s earliest and most prominent residents. Not only did he establish the first mills in the area, but he also acted as a justice of the peace, and even helped to create Maine’s constitution.
The original Dam was made of wood and contained a flume. On one side of the dam was now Moose Pond, and on the other side the flume feeding into Moose Brook. The dam and flume would be crucial not only for Ingall’s mills, but to the other mills of the area, that would be built for miles along the brook and connecting Saco River.
The wooden dam would be updated as time went on, in the late 1800’s, the dam was converted from wood to stone, and in the mid 1900’s the first concrete version of the dam was built. As the dam was modified, so was its ownership. Today, Moose Pond means a great deal to its many visitors and residents, but to Cyrus Ingall, the lake was a byproduct of the next big step in his livelihood. The timber industry, which is still a staple industry in Maine, has a long history in the state, and helped to create Moose Pond as we know it today.