Home > Counties & Towns > Tompkins County > Danby

Jennings Pond

Coordinates: 42.345°N 76.488°W

Elevation: 1278 feet/389.5 meters


Jennings Pond in the Town of Danby, Tompkins County, New York, USA.


A natural pond, Jennings Pond is named for Lemuel Jennings, one of the founders of the Town of Danby, and his descendants. Some time after 1793 but prior to 1797 when the town was founded, Lemuel brought his wife, Abiah Bearce, and their six children from Connecticut to Danby. Lemuel purchased land in what became the town. Lewis Beardsley was the first owner of the headwaters of Buttermilk Creek--now the northern outflow of Jennings Pond. In 1805 Beardsley sold the land to Joseph Judson, who dammed the creek to form Judson's Pond. Here he operated a saw- and gristmill.


At some point, Benjamin Jennings purchased the water rights and it was O. Jennings, who owned land (including the pond) on Bald Hill Road in 1866 when the first map of the town was drawn up.


In 1895, the Ithaca Water Company purchased the water rights and created a 40-acre pond with the intent of supplying water to Ithaca, but that never happened.


In 1913, William A. Luce started a dairy cooperative at 410-412 Hillview Place in the City of Ithaca. Farmers from the surrounding towns brought their milk to Luce, who distributed it. At the time, there was no mechanical refrigeration to keep the milk cold, so ice was cut from Jennings Pond in the winter and hauled by wagon or sleigh to Luce's and stored in his icehouse. The practice of cutting ice from the pond stopped when mechanically made ice from Illston Ice Company or Ithaca Ice and Coal Company could be delivered to Luce any time of the year.


In the 1930s, the Jennings family began conveying the land to the State. Today, there are no more members of the Jennings family living in Danby, and the entire pond and nearby woods is part of Buttermilk Falls State Park.


A large underground rift called the St. Lawrence Seaway Divide runs through the Finger Lakes Region so that bodies of water to the north of the divide drain to the north and bodies of water to the south of the divide drain to the south. The affect of this divide is most evident at Jennings Pond on Bald Hill Road in the Town of Danby (Tompkins County) where the divide runs under the pond. Fed by a creek from the west, the pond drains both to the north and the south.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Divide runs through the Finger Lakes and causes Jennings Pond to run in two directions--north and south.


Jennings Pond is part of Buttermilk Falls State Park and offers canoeing and kayaking opportunities. A path from the parking lot off Bald Hill Road leads through a woods where one can hike and watch birds. Swimming in the pond is free and permitted from late June through August when the lifeguard is on duty. Picnic tables and restrooms are also available.


Jennings Pond is a magnet for wildlife. Many birds like Canada geese, kingfishers, red-winged blackbirds, and swallows spend a lCanada gees take off from Jennings Pond one misty morning in early autumn.ot of time at the pond. Turtles, especially snapping turtles, and snakes can be seen in or near the water. On rare occasions, one can even find black bears and otters at Jennings Pond.


The woods around the pond is a special place. Many large, old trees can be found here and, in the summer, the forest floor is covered with many native wildlflowers, especially the lovely white flowers of the wild leek--Allium tricoccum.


Like many ponds, Jennings Pond is interesting at any season and provides many great photo ops.


As part of Buttermilk Falls State Park, dogs must be leashed at all times, and owners are expected to clean up after their pooches.


Updated 9 November 2009








Your ad could go here!


Your ad could go here!


Your ad could go here!