Who would have imagined that a quiet little pond would have such an interesting past. In 1955, an act of legislation legally changed the name of the little pond from Puffer's Pond to Echo Lake. The interesting part of this change was that it was done without notifying Dexter residents, including the two grandsons of the local citizen of long ago in whose honor the pond was named. Evidentially, a group of cottage owners wanted the name changed.

No one seems to know how the name Echo Lake was chosen. A Dexter Gazette article from July of 1955 stated "though noted for its beauty, its fish and its ducks, (Puffer's Pond) has never been famed for any echo.

There are believed to be several other lakes in Maine already answering to Echo." It seems that the lake got its Puffer's name from Matthias Puffer, the sixth son of Daniel and Chloe Puffer, who were some of Dexter's earliest settlers. Matthias married Abigail Spooner, the daughter of a family who gave its name to the southern end of the pond - Spooner's Mill Pond.

FrogsCarol Feurtado from the Dexter Historical Society provided me with several editorials of the day from area residents who were, for the most part, unhappy about the change. One letter from Freeman N. Cobb stated, "You can go to the head of the pond and holler as loud as you can and all the Echo you will get is from a big Bull Frog down in the Cove weighing about 14 pounds...I have fished every foot of that old pond...In my book it will always be Puffer's Pond. Why change it?"

The last article I obtained from the Dexter Historical Society indicates that a group of Puffer's relatives were protesting the name change and were petitioning the Legislature to change it back. Did they? Well, I was unable to find out! Maybe you can discover the answer. It seems as though Carol Feurtado's great-great-grandfather, Nathaniel Curtis, owned a farm that was originally part of Puffer Farm. She indicates Curtis' farm was where Dr. Johnson's place is now.

Catching the best Sunfish with best friendYou might say what does it matter and maybe it doesn't. All I know is that every summer since 1965, I have spent hour upon hour swimming in the spring-feed waters of this little pond. Some of my happiest childhood memories took place in, on and around the pond.

Countless fishing expeditions, rowing lessons and bull frog adventures fill my heart with warm feelings of lazy summer days. Since my daughter was born, we have spent at least five weeks a year at the pond. She too has come to love all that it has to offer. She caught her first fish, operated the boat motor for the first time, swam across the lake several times and back and forth to our neighbors, eaten dozens of trout, mimicked hundreds of Loon calls and fallen asleep to the chirping of thousands of crickets.

Does it really matter what the pond' s name is-maybe not, but to a little girl that used to run all the way down a dirt road, scamper down a hill, jump head-first into the cold water and rest on the shore all "puffed" out....well, what do you think I'll be calling it?

-Lois Richmond


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