Brick Pond; a Bit of Early Owego History

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Very seldom does one find such a quiet place as Brick Pond Wetland Preserve. The pond comprises 30 acres of open water surrounded by emergent plants and a wet woods. A trail, including a pontoon bridge, leads visitors around the pond. An active beaver colony is easily visible from the trails. The Pond is known as one of the best birding sites in New York State, due to its tremendous warbler population in the spring and fall. Numerous other songbird and waterfowl species are also easily observed at this site.

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The wetland, of which the Brick Pond is the deeper western end, was left when the nearby Susquehanna River changed course. During the last century until the 1880’s, excavation of blue-gray clay by the Hollenbeck family was used for brickmaking. The kiln was located at the Owego village end of the present pond. When local demand for brick diminished, the kiln ceased operation and local children reclaimed the pond as an ice skating spot.

Thirty acres of the western end of this wetland, the old brickyard area, were bought by Mr. Peter B. Ellis of Owego, to preserve this section as a wildlife sanctuary for the enjoyment of wildlife and people. In 1977, Mr. Ellis donated 24 acres to Waterman Conservation Education Center and in July 1985 donated the remaining 6 acres to the Tioga County Boys and Girls Club. The Boys and Girls club has since donated their acreage to Waterman Center.