Occom Pond is located near the Hanover Country Club’s golf course, on the northern edge of campus. The pond is named after Samson Occom, a Native American from Connecticut. His father died when he was young, so his mother appealed to Eleazar Wheelock to help prepare him for college. In 1743, Occom became both Wheelock’s first Native American pupil, and one of his most outstanding. The pond was created through the efforts of Professor T.W.D. Worthen, a resident of Webster Avenue in the early nineteenth century. Occom Ridge, which is the high ground running north to south between the pond and the river, was originally a cow pasture. The pond was a marsh-like area and was viewed as a nuisance by some, especially Worthen. The Professor built a dam at the north end of the marsh, thus forming Occom Pond.
Today, the eastern side of the pond is rimmed by private homes. The northern end is the site of the DOC House, built in 1929. The southern shore extends into a grassy field and the western banks are shaded by tall pines.
Isn’t it spelled Occum Pond? No. The pond is named after Samson Occom, and although other writers sometimes referred to him with different spellings of his name, in his published works he always spelled his own name Occom. It is also spelled Occom Pond on USGS maps.
How to get there:
From the Hanover Inn, walk north on North Main Street toward Baker Library. At the first stop sign, one block past Baker Library, turn left onto Clement Road. This road runs along the southern end of the pond and is the beginning of a fine one-mile loop around the pond. There are several spots just off the loop — under a pine, in the grass — where one can find quiet and solitude throughout the day. In warm weather, the number of people who walk and jog this loop increases, but folks rarely seem to stop to smell the pines, so to speak.
The DOC House
The Dartmouth Outing Club House was built on Occom Pond in 1929, to serve as a clubhouse and a center for skiing and skating. For decades, members of the DOC ran a full-fledged and well-respected restaurant out of the building. Today the DOC House is used for ILEAD’s continuing education classes and for private functions, but the DOC continues to rent winter equipment to the public through the Dartmouth Cross Country Ski Center in the DOC House’s lower level.