Letter: Warner Pond’s place in history

June 2, 2023

During present discussions about Warner’s Pond, efforts should be made to ponder broader historical significance and issues of equity, which are closely tied together here. 

When Andrew Koh started serving on the Historical Commission, it understandably focused on houses and the first half of the town’s history, but the commission increasingly made efforts to look beyond. When the circa 1829 Abiel Wheeler House was slated for demolition, it was originally considered insignificant compared to the 17th century Scotchford-Wheeler House. People highlighted the former’s significance as a part of the greater Hubbardville fabric.

Koh noted its role as the childhood home of Blanche Wheeler Williams, a pioneering Smith College graduate who co-founded the field of Aegean Bronze Age archaeology in the U.S. She features prominently in Koh’s upcoming book, “The Cretan Collection in the Penn Museum.” He continues to rely on experiences from Concord while serving as museum scientist for the Yale Peabody Museum as it undergoes transformational renovations sensitive to its original 1920s structure and surroundings.  

 In much the same way, as the third owners of the early 20th-century Isaac Beharrell House where the old Reformatory neighborhood meets Warnersville, we see Warner’s Pond as the beating heart of a historically diverse neighborhood. When our house was built, census records show reformatory wardens living near prison guards and Chinese workers living near train conductors. Despite its pragmatic and manmade origins, the dam allowed a working-class neighborhood to enjoy aquatic activities and landscapes reserved for other parts of town. Please consider these issues of historical significance and equity when deliberating the future of the pond.

Andrew Koh and Laura Labriola 

Commonwealth Ave