The Rock Fish Pond
A Nice Addition
Standing at the head of the rock fish pond, from left to right, are one of my grandmother’s sisters, my Great Aunt Ethel, and her son and daughter, Edwin and Helen (photo date – 1940s).
The rock fish pond was constructed after the Jennings’ brick home was built in 1934. It was located half-way between the old home place and the new home place.
Goldfish were placed in the pond, and eventually various types of flowers were planted around it. In the above picture, the brick home was off-camera to the right, and the old home place and the mill were to the left.
Much later, when I was a child playing around the pond, a number of changes had occurred to the area, compared to what’s pictured above. For instance, a very well-established white pine was growing directly behind the fish pond and shaded a good portion of the pond. The sheds seen on the right no longer existed. The driveway came up from the road (Shallowford Road), behind the photographer’s position in the above photo, and circled around the pond. A garage was also located directly behind the pond.
Unfortunately, by the time I was old enough to play around the fish pond, it was no longer maintained or supplied with goldfish. It was still fun to play around, but I wished I could have seen it in its prime.
Fielden and Ollie Jennings are pictured here standing behind the fish pond (photo date – 1940s).
As can be seen in the above photo, water that was pumped to the top of the pond flowed down onto the water wheel, filling the pond. Whenever the pond water needed to be changed, a drain pipe on the bottom of the pond allowed the pond to be drained. As best as can be determined, the pond was maintained and goldfish were kept in it until at least sometime in the 1950s.
Questions Come to Mind
I’ve actually wondered why my grandfather built the fish pond, as it seems to me like a rather odd structure for him to build in the 1930s.
Did my grandfather miss working at his old grain mill along the banks of Chestnut Creek in Virginia? Did he miss the burbling sounds of the creek? Did he miss the steady, constant turning of the mill’s water wheel that had powered the grinding of the grain?
UPDATE ON 1/2/09: I was recently contacted by family friend, Bill J., who told me that rock fish ponds used to be commonplace many years ago, and that anyone over 50 years old may remember seeing rock fish ponds. Interesting tidbit! Thanks, Bill!