Environment

Webster Lake - Unique Places in North America

Lake Char­gogg­a­gogg­man­chaugg­a­gogg­chau­bun­a­gung­a­maugg, also known as Lake Chaubunagungamaug or Webster Lake, has the longest recorded place name in the US.

Lake Char­gogg­a­gogg­man­chaugg­a­gogg­chau­bun­a­gung­a­maugg, in short, Lake Chaubunagungamaug, or simply Webster Lake is a freshwater lake in Webster town in Southern Massachusetts near the border of Connecticut. This long name has been in existence since 1921. The lake’s maximum length and width are 3.25 miles and 1,125 miles respectively with a surface area of 1,442 acres and a shoreline length of approximately 17 miles. Sitting at an elevation of 477 feet, this lake is home to eight islands. In total, three spring-fed lakes (South Pond, North Pond, and Middle Pond) joined through narrow channels make up the lake.

Name

This 45-letter long name is of Nipmuc origin, an Algonquian language and it loosely translates to neutral boundaries where fishing takes place, however, other people suggested the name to mean “lake divided by islands." For humor, people translate the name to "You fish on your side, I'll fish on my side, and nobody fish in the middle." Many visitors prefer using Webster Lake, but locals pride themselves in using the longer versions of the name. This name is the longest for a place in the US and third longest globally, consequently, every attempt to alter the name normally meets resistance.

Facilities At The Lake

The lake houses a memorial beach for World War II veterans that has walking tracks, the Old French River Bridge, basketball court, parking, boat launch, and a concession stand among others. There is also the Colonial Park and Treasure Island. Previously, the lake was a famous boat racing site as well as a spot for trolley runs which led to the development of several resorts in the lake’s vicinity.

Geography Of The Lake

After the Long Pond and Quabbin Reservoir, Webster Lake is the third-largest freshwater body in Massachusetts and it has an average depth of thirteen feet, the deepest point being 49 feet. This natural lake outputs water into a dam belonging to the Webster Lake Preservation LLC. Some of the eight islands are inhabited but others are too small to support a structure. Of the islands, Long Island in the Middle Pond is the largest and has settlements complete with power lines and underground water and sewage system. The second largest island also in the Middle Pond is the inhabited Goat Island. The small Well Island in the Middle Pond, to the west of Long Island, has only one house. Also, with a single house is the Strip Island within the Middle pond located to the north of Cobble Island. Other islands are Cobble Island and Little Island in the Middle Pond and South Pond respectively. In addition, the lake has two marinas, Lakeview and Point Breeze.

In Pop Culture

Lake Chaubunagungamaug’s rich history and the mystery surrounding the long name earned the water body a place in several works of art. In 1950 when authorities planned to shorten the name by removing the many “Gs,” several poems came up condemning the suggestions. One of the lines of a poem was “Touch not a g!" The Poem also insisted that the number of letters should not go below the current 45. The name "Char­gogg­a­gogg­man­chaugg­a­gogg­chau­bun­a­gung­a­maugg" also featured in Season 6, Episode 6 of Gilmore girls (aired on October 17, 2005), where an actor fronted it as a potential name for the Dragonfly Inn. In total, there are three successful songs talking about the lake, the last one being in 2010.

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