Friday, 24 June 2016 12:33

How our grandparents did it: farm ponds in 1950's America

Growing up, I spent a lot of time on my grandparents' 20-acre farm in Ottsville, Bucks County, PA.  They purchased the raw land in the 1960's and built a house on it.  The property has a pond, maybe 100 feet in diameter, and it always stays full because it is fed by an active stream.  I went ice skating on it during the winters.  They raised beef in the lower fields and watered the animals using the water from the stream that runs through the property.  It was only a sunny, but I caught my first fish out of that pond. 

My grandparents were born a few years before the Great Depression and I frequently to ask them questions about their perspective on modern society.  They lived through World War 2, Vietnam, 9/11, and Barrack Obama.   Recently, the conversation turned to water management and I brought up their pond.  It turns out that building small ponds was a popular thing to do after World War 2.  Today, who knows how many permits and inspections you need, and from which bureaucratic agency. 

My grandfather indicated that their pond was featured in LIFE Magazine in 1952.  I did some digging, and found the article itself to be very surprising.  It went into great detail the importance of building ponds, how to build them so that they properly protect the environment, and how to provide water for your livestock without contaminating the pond. 

The government even helped farmers pay for the pond's installation costs. 

The article also discusses how stocking the pond with fish will return a small cash investment many times over in the form of food for the table.  (Imagine that!  Today, everyone knows that fish comes from the grocery store, right?)

You can download a pdfPDF of the LIFE Magazine article (fair use), or use this link to see the article using Google Books.

Last modified on Friday, 24 June 2016 13:00
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    - Mark 3:25

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