Pogey Pond

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Pogey Pond


by Rob O'Boyle

At one time the campus had its own pond on the north side of the campus main roadway.  Pogey Pond was originally built as the City of Syracuse Reservoir or Onondaga Hill Reservoir.  The pond was created in 1860-1863 by building a dam on Furnace Brook to provide drinking water for Syracuse.  George Geddes was the engineer on the original reservoir.  George’s father, James Geddes, was one of five supervising engineers for the construction of the Erie Canal.  The Town of Geddes and Geddes Street in Syracuse are named for the Geddes family.  The reservoir provided water for Syracuse until 1894 when the Syracuse tapped Skaneateles Lake for its future water needs.


Pogey Pond continued to provide water for the County Poorhouse Home and Hospital which was located on the north side of Onondaga Road (Route 173).  The Mulroy and Shapero Halls were originally part of the buildings on the campus of the Poorhouse, later the Van Duyn County Hospital.  The pond also provided water for the county farm located on the current college campus.  Onondaga Hill residents would also use the pond for swimming in the summer.  In the winter the pond provided ice for the Poorhouse and ice skating for the local residents.


 During the construction of Onondaga Community College on Onondaga Hill in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s a debate erupted about what to do about Pogey Pond.  There was some speculation that the name Pogey was derogatory slang for the County Poorhouse.  The College thought about changing the name of the Pogey Pond to something more dignified like “Traditions Spring”.  Local residents for the most part were not happy about changing the name.  Heavy rains associated with Hurricane Agnes in late June 1972 alerted county officials to the potential for disaster if the earthen dam was to fail.  The Westbrook Hills apartments were under construction at that time and the failure of the dam would impact the buildings downstream.  On the advice of the Army Corp of Engineers in 1974 it was decided to take down the earthen dam that had created the pond.  The road from main campus to Coyne Hall and the baseball and softball fields go through the original footprint of Pogey Pond.  Bricks from the original construction of the archway for Pogey Pond were reused in the construction of the original campus monuments on Onondaga Road and Seneca Turnpike.  The monuments were taken down in the early 2000’s and replaced with the current granite monuments.





Ice Cutting on Pogey Pond on February 6, 1924 (Courtesy of Town of Onondaga Historical Association)

Pogey Pond Archway

Pogey Pond on Campus