November 2010: Every spring, thousands of migratory herring swim from Boston Harbor up the Weymouth Back River on their way to Whitman’s Pond. Herring spend most of their lives in the ocean, but return to fresh water once a year to spawn. On their way upstream, they pass through Jackson Square in Weymouth, where there is now a new CPA-funded park, celebrating the herring and providing a place to help town residents and visitors appreciate them each spring.
The park sits on land that had formerly housed Weymouth’s Youth and Family Office. After this office was relocated, the building was demolished. The Weymouth Community Preservation Committee and Weymouth Town Council voted in 2008 to expend $227,000 from the town’s CPA account to create the park, which officially opened last month.
The park includes two murals showing town residents admiring the migration during the mid 20th century, a blue handrail on a stone staircase that show herring jumping up the steps (just as they jump over the wooden fish ladders in the river), and front-row seating for visitors who come to watch the migration. Weymouth has a long shared history with the herring – mention of the migratory fish are found as far back as the 1648 Town Records. A photo kiosk in the park features historic photos of the herring run, such as the one below.
Don’t you want to visit? We do! Maybe we’ll see you there next spring….
From the left to right: The Weymouth Back River and Whitman’s pond are circled in red (The yellow line denotes the boundary of the Weymouth River watershed); A historic photo from the Weymouth town archives: Catching Herring, Herring Run, Lower Jackson Square (Image provided by: Jodi Purdy-Quinlan, Vice Chairman of the Weymouth Historical Commission); and a photo of Herring Pond Park, circa 2010 (Image courtesy of Tom Gorman, Weymouth News).