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Worcester, Massachusetts is well known for many things: John Adams taught school here before becoming the second President of the United States. Songwriter Cole Porter attended Worcester Academy. Before English settlers named the town after its counterpart in Worcester, England, Native Americans called it Qunnosuogamaug or "fishing place for pickerel (or long nose)". The lake that borders the western side of Worcester still bears that name, though it has been modernized to Lake Quinsigamond. Other towns surrounding the lake are Grafton and Shrewsbury.
Due to its length and shape, the lake was once called Long Pond, but since there is another lake by that name in Massachusetts, it should be noted it is not the modern Long Pond. Lake Quinsigamond is roughly 4 miles long, and less than a mile wide for most of that length. It is a natural glacial lake but it was first dammed in 1891 for recreational purposes. Four Dams now control the water level. Two are owned by the Massachusetts Commission of Lakes - Stringer Dam and Lake Quinsigamond Dam. A third is owned by the city of Grafton - Lake Ripple Dam. And finally, the Quinsigamond Pond Dam is owned by the Riley Stoker Company of Worcester.
Water sports of all types are welcome on Lake Quinsigamond. Since the lake was dammed, it has been an annual summer destination for residents of the area, as well as people from across the nation. The fishing is particularly good and several types abound. Bass, catfish, trout, panfish and salmon are readily available for sport or for supper.
Two State Parks are available for public use on Lake Quinsigamond. Regatta Point State Park, on the northwestern side of the lake, is the place to go for sailing, fishing, or swimming. Lake Park, on the west side towards the middle of the lake, has tennis courts as well as a swimming area. And either is a great place to have a picnic.
Lake Quinsigamond's claim to fame is its 2000 meter rowing course. Every weekend from March through May, the lake area is filled with rowing crews from across the nation. The first rowing association in the area was formed in the mid-1850s, and it began a craze with the sport that lasts even now. Many rowing associations have formed since. Lake Quinsigamond hosts many annual rowing regattas to include the Men's Eastern Sprints Regatta, The Big East Championship and The New England Interscholastic Rowing Association's Championship Regatta to name a few. Lake Quinsigamond currently ranks fourth among the best rowing lakes in the world.
Other historical tidbits include a now defunct amusement park that stood on the Worcester, Mass side of the lake for over 50 years. "The White City" opened its gates in 1905 to thrill-seekers and did not disappoint with its rides and attractions. It even had one act that featured high-diving horses!
Lake Quinsigamond is a water wonderland smack dab in the middle of urban sprawl. The cities surrounding the lake are taking great steps to ensure that their aqua paradise is preserved for the future. The local watershed association meets regularly to monitor and assess the state of the lake. Currently the lake is suffering from eutrophication, but steps are being taken to improve the quality of the water. The Massachusetts Commission of Lakes is making sure that several more generations will have the chance to enjoy Lake Quinsigamond.
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