Description

The Collect Pond or Fresh Water Pond was a body of fresh water in what is now Chinatown, lower Manhattan in New York City. For the first two centuries of European settlement in Manhattan, it was the main water supply for the growing city. The former pond became the site of a jail and is now a city park, Collect Pond Park.As the city`s population increased, the water available in public wells became brackish and polluted by organic matter and inefficient in supply. A few wells had tapped into underground springs, some of which supplied the water to Collect Pond. This water was reputed to be fresh and of superior quality. A country addicted to tea as a beverage realized the importance of clean, fresh water to brew the tea leaves. One of the most famous springs, situated in a hollow near the junction of Chatham and Roosevelt Streets, just south of Collect Pond, was known as “The Old Tea Water Pump.” At the turn of the 19th century, though, even the tea water pump wells were becoming polluted, especially those closest to Collect Pond, now a stinking cesspool polluted by industry.

Destroyed, 1811

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