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Crystal Lake

Guidebook Section: Central

Location

 

Get here by MBTA: from the Green line, a 0.4 mile walk from the Newton Center station, or 0.2 miles from the Newton Highlands station

Other maps and aerial photos:
Bing
Newton Assessor

Overview

People come here to swim, fish, and boat. The bathhouse is open during the summer. Shoreline path and sidewalks allow for walks along three sides of the lake. Because Crystal Lake is a “great pond” (a pond that’s larger than ten acres), it is state owned.

Size: 33 acres

Longest Walk: 0.8 miles


Acquired: 1894 and 2007-2009

Owner & Administrator Websites


Photo Gallery

First three photos shown here. Click a photo to view the complete slideshow or click here to browse the complete gallery.

History

Crystal Lake has had several names. Its colonial name was Wiswall’s Pond. For much of the 19th century, the lake was known as Baptist Pond, after the church that used it for baptisms. The lake was used for ice harvesting in the 19th century, as was Bullough’s Pond. Ice dealers who sold the ice for refrigeration renamed it Crystal Lake to sound appealing to customers. Read this 1911 Crystal Lake booklet for more history of the lake.

1863

The wall and gas lights at Cronin’s Cove were erected.

1880s

The lake was named Baptist Pond because First Baptist Church in Newton used the lake for baptisms.

1894

Two small parcels were acquired, one donated by Moses and Emeline Crane.

1911

The bathhouse was built.  According to Historic Newton News (Spring 2019 issue), its purpose was “to discourage swimmers from disrobing in public.”

2006-2007

The City of Newton used CPA funds to acquire by eminent domain the property at 20 Rogers Street, to expand the Crystal Lake swimming area.

2008-2009

The city purchased the shoreline portion of the adjacent property, 230 Lake Avenue, and built a lakeside path from the Crystal Lake beach to the existing parkland at Levingston Cove. The Newton Conservators entered into two conservation restrictions which permanently establish public access to the lakeside path.

Crystal Lake Map


 

Features

Accessible Trails, Boat Launch, Historic Site, Ice Skating, Picnic Tables, Pond, Scenic View, Toilet Facilities
 

Additional Information

Newton Assessor’s Map ID: 62001 0001 and other parcels

Advocates & Caretakers:

Crystal Lake Conservancy

Activities:

Swimming Information

Proposal to expand the Crystal Lake swimming area

Birding reports

Description and History:

A Stroll Around Crystal Lake, by Lucy Caldwell Stair

A Comprehensive Historical Sketch of Crystal Lake (1911)

Crystal Lake in King’s Handbook of Newton (1889)

Old postcards

Crystal Lake: A Brief History

A tour of the lake on a wooden canoe

 

Gene Mackles painting