Lake Cochichewick, Massachusetts, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - New England - Massachusetts - Northeastern & Merrimack Valley -

Also known as:  The Great Pond

One of the earliest of Massachusetts’ iconic Great Ponds, beautiful Lake Cochichewick anchors the Town of North Andover to both its past and its future. Originally named the Great Pond, the waters served as a focal point for the 1634-chartered Cochiechewick Plantation. The name is an adaptation of the Algonquian phrase meaning ‘Place of the Great Cascade’ and likely referred to the rapids that adorned the many streams in the area, including Cochichewick Brook and the nearby Merrimack River. Whether there was a natural lake here originally is open to question; by the time estimates gave its size as 374 acres in 1795, industrious colonists had been damming the rivers and brooks as rudimentary water power for at least a century. Today, the lake covers 564 acres.

Local lore says that a Pennacook chief named Cutshamache sold the colonists the rights to the land for ‘six pounds of currency and a coat.’ The Pennacooks were friendly and helpful during the first difficult years. Eventually Cochiechewick Plantation became the town of North Andover and its Great Pond became Lake Cochichewick. Located less than 30 miles from Boston Harbor, the North Andover area was settled by farmers who eked out enough of a living from the rocky New England soil to prosper. Early histories describe a number of mills in the area, built for grinding grains, sawing timbers and operating simple machinery. The existing dam was built in 1837 to power a textile mill complex and was likely one of a succession of dams which repeatedly enlarged the size of Lake Cochichewick. By 1899, the lake was providing drinking water to the growing population. The town now protects the watershed to assure good water quality and recreational resources into the future.

Due to water quality concerns, there are no public swimming beaches along the shoreline of Lake Cochichewick. The lake is not stocked for sport fishing but panfish, chain pickerel, yellow perch and largemouth bass can be caught in its waters by properly licensed fishermen. A boat launch is located near the Water Treatment Plant at the southeast end of the lake. Permits are required and only available to township residents. No gasoline motors are permitted and no bodily contact with the water is allowed. Boats on the water are limited to 15 feet in length; paddling or rowing is preferred, although electric motors are acceptable. Canoes, kayaks, row boats and john boats are the usual way townspeople enjoy the water. Much of the shoreline is heavily forested, and few of the homes located on the lake can be easily seen from the water.

Once the preferred location for the estates of wealthy mill owners, little of Lake Cochichewick’s shoreline has been developed for housing. A few small developments bloomed here before zoning changes began protection of the near-shore areas. A new condo development will provide waterside living to a larger number of area residents. The remaining stately mansions have nearly all been converted to alternate uses in private hands. A few have become preserves, or reservations as they are called here. Long range planning for the town includes attempts to develop some of the few remaining estates to conservation parkland to protect the watershed. The Stevens Estate, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and now owned by North Andover, is a sought-after venue for weddings, events and meetings.

Weir Hill Reservation occupies 194 acres of a low ridge rising above the western shore of Lake Cochichewick and borders on the Cochichewick Brook near the dam and eastern edge of Stevens Pond directly downstream. A rail trail along the now-defunct Essex Railroad Line runs across the dam and through part of the Reservation. Dedicated to conservation, volunteers maintain several communities of native plants and trees, often through controlled burning. Birds and small native mammals are abundant. A number of trails within Weir Hill Reservation allow for walking, hiking, horseback riding and bicycling. In winter, the reservation is popular with cross-country skiers and snowshoe trekkers. Several other trails in the area are handily placed to lead outdoor fans to adventure among the fields and forests. Archeological evidence shows that Native Americans enjoyed this ridge long before the arrival of European settlers.

Although there are few places to find short-term lodgings at Lake Cochichewick, the lake is central to the downtown area. Several restaurants overlook the water. North Andover is the ideal spot for history buffs to vacation. The area is rich in early Colonial landmarks and history. The North Andover Historical Society produces guides for self-directed walking tours of the old Center City, with old homes and mansions dating as early as 1715. The Machine Shop Village contains factory remnants of the mill industries that gave North Andover its original claim to fame.

The western part of Andover melds seamlessly into the City of Lawrence. Formed in part from a northwest portion of North Andover, Lawrence took advantage to its excellent access to the swift-flowing Merrimack River. The booming industrial town that grew up along the banks of the Merrimack eventually surpassed the size of North Andover. The North Andover-Lawrence area provides all types of lodgings and guest facilities including hotels, guest stays, bed & breakfasts and quaint inns. Beautiful fall color brings a large number of seasonal visitors to the area to enjoy the autumn foliage. Quaint shops, unusual cuisine and excellent amenities assure everyone will be pleased at the end of the day.

Lake Cochichewick’s careful protection and development guarantees that local townspeople will have quality drinking water for years to come. The many miles of walking trails and delightful views from atop the area’s many rolling hills and ridges allow visitors to forget that busy Boston is only a few miles away. North Andover is a taste of Colonial countryside in the midst of the bustling Greater Boston Metroplex. Bostonians with a few hours to spare are missing the best of inland Massachusetts if they don’t make the short trip north into the Greater Merrimack Valley region. Come spend a day or two at Lake Cochichewick.

Things to do at Lake Cochichewick

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Birding

Fish species found at Lake Cochichewick

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Chain Pickerel
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Yellow Perch

Lake Cochichewick Photo Gallery

Lake Cochichewick Statistics & Helpful Links

divider

Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Town of North Andover

Surface Area: 564 acres

Shoreline Length: 7 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 118 feet

Average Depth: 23 feet

Maximum Depth: 45 feet

Water Volume: 13,196 acre-feet

Drainage Area: 5 sq. miles

Spread the word! Share our Lake Cochichewick article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.