Little Noticed Pond Behind Hilldale Cemetery to Receive Clean River Project Cleanup Saturday

Rocky Morrison of the Clean River Project. (WHAV News file photograph.)

A little noticed pond behind Hilldale Cemetery is getting a scrub this weekend from Rocky Morrison and his Clean River Project.

Hilldale Cemetery Trustee Thomas Spitalere reached out to Morrison for help with an abandoned washing machine, propane bottles and tires—some appearing to date back to the 1920s. Morrison agreed to volunteer his organization’s services for a cleanup this Saturday morning.

“Not too many people realize there’s a pond behind the cemetery. It’s actually between the train tracks and the cemetery and there’s a beautiful pond down there,” he told WHAV.

Another little-known fact, Morrison says, is the pond—which is as large as Market Basket’s parking lot—is tied into Little River and may be a vestige of the Winter Street dam.

“That pond is fed from Little River. There’s a pipe that goes underneath the train tracks so it’s fed and you got the fish and the turtles going in and out of that sanctuary into Little River. So, if you pull the Little River dam down, you’re going to cause that pond to drain also,” he said.

Morrison noted the pipes went in when the train track was laid. He said he is carefully watching deliberations on the dam’s future to make sure decisionmakers understand the pond’s connection. “There was a reason why they wanted water on that side of the train tracks which is a pond,” said Morrison.

Spitalere said Haverhill City Councilor John A. Michitson arranged with the city’s Public Works Department to take away the debris after it is pulled from the pond.

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