Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Duck Pond

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Institution Name: Haverford College
Original/Historic Place Name: Duck Pond
Location on Campus: College Ln.
Date(s) of Construction:
1835pond excavated Collins, Isaac
1930-1933pond re-excavated
Designer: Isaac Collins
Type of Place: Landscape site
Style: (Glossary)
Significance: culture, history, landscape
Narrative: see below
References: see below
1835-present (2006)outdoor space

The Duck Pond was the original bathing pond excavated for the use of students in 1835 and was used through the nineteenth century as a skating pond. It was probably never very large, and by the early twentieth century it had silted in to the point where its existence was seasonal, with the area being used as pasture in the summer. In 1930, plans were made for the construction of a year-round pond in time for the school's Centennial in 1933, which led to the extensive excavation responsible for the present configuration. The skating area was increased by half an acre, and lights were added. The once ragged and weedy pond was transformed.

The Duck Pond is now a prominent landscape feature on campus. A split timber fence surrounds it with wire mesh covering the space between the bottom rail and the ground. A slate and fieldstone border, walls, and trees border the pond, and three birdhouses form a line in the middle of the pond. In 1948 an island was created at the upper end of the sanctuary for aquatic life, and the following year a skating house was added. The tranquil beauty of the Duck Pond has become a symbol of the college itself.


George E. Thomas Associates, Inc. Haverford College Historic Resources Campus Survey. Philadelphia: George E. Thomas Associates, 1999.

Kammerstein, Gregory, ed. The Spirit and the Intellect: Haverford College, 1833-1983. [Haverford, PA: Haverford College, 1983].


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Last update: November 2006