The Story of New Bedford’s Brooklawn Park Duck Pond Duck House
If you've ever walked or driven by this miniature house in New Bedford's Brooklawn Park and wondered what its deal is, then you've come to the right place.
Over on Acushnet Avenue, directly across from Grandma's Donuts (formerly known as Ma's Donuts & Coffee Shop), is a small pond where the city ducks congregate. A small island in the middle of the pond, perfectly fit for fowl of all types, with a mansion replica no larger than four or five feet tall keeps the birds warm and cozy during harsh winter or summer days.
The first time I noticed the little duck house was when I was waiting in a 40-plus person line to get a dozen honey-dipped donuts. It was covered with snow and surrounded by fowl. Since that day, I've always wanted to know the history behind it and finally got some answers thanks to Valovia Costa, Assistant Project Manager for the City of New Bedford Parks, Recreation & Beaches Department.
"The small building on the island in the pond was built a number of years ago (the 1960s) by Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech students," Costa said. "It is a replica of the Ricketson mansion that stood in the park at one time."
The Ricketson Mansion was built in September of 1893 over on Elm and Eighth Street by a man named Daniel Ricketson, who plain and simple just loved to read and write in a small shack he built on Brooklawn Park. Ricketson's love and dedication to the area helped numerous people escape hunger during the Civil War by inviting them onto his estate to eat.
Since the duck house's debut on Duck Pond, it has been recently refurbished and if you went by the site this week, Costa said there's a reason for all the activity surrounding the pond.
"We have an ongoing stormwater erosion and ponding in the lawn area near the pond and we have hired a firm to address the issues with green infrastructure," Costa said. "DPI and the project engineers were out there digging soil test pits."
Cue that "More You Know" shooting star and stick a fork in me.
This solved case is for the birds.