'Jew Pond' gets name change in New Hampshire town

By Jennifer Lipman, March 14, 2012

A small watery area used for fishing and skating in New Hampshire will no longer be known as "Jew Pond" after voters in the town of Mont Vernon opted to change its name.

The small rural town will now ask the US Geological Survey to rename it, after all but 33 of 157 voters backed the proposal.

The Jew Pond debate has been in the works since 2010, when the issue was raised in local news reports. The name appears on just one map from 1968 and no town signs.

The pond was labelled so after a group of Jewish businessmen from Boston bought the Grand Hotel – which included the pond site - in 1927. The venue became a popular one for Jewish visitors, who were often barred from other hotels.

The consortium sold the hotel two years later and in 1930 it burned down. But aware of its history, locals dubbed the pond "Jew Pond" and the name stuck.

According to Zoe Fimbel, a member of the Mont Vernon Historical Society, the name was not offensive and instead referred to local resentment at non-residents buying the property.

"It's never even referred to or portrayed in a negative way," she said. "It's more like, 'It's the Jews' Pond. The new men in town.'"

Another resident, Wally Hooper, said he didn't have any issue with the name or the change. "To me, it's a mud hole anyway," he said.

Last updated: 6:03pm, March 14 2012