Did the Campus Pond Get its Name?
Was it Jenny Lind,
the 19th-century world-renowned opera singer called the “Swedish
Nightingale,” who originally gave “Paradise Pond”
its famous name?
In 1851, when
Lind first laid eyes on Northampton during a concert tour
and came upon the lake that now flanks the northeast edge
of the Smith College campus, she “endowed” it
with the moniker “Paradise Pond.” That account
was chronicled in the Springfield Sunday Republican
January 26, 1958, in an article recalling her visit more than
a century earlier.
The naming took
place a full 20 years before Smith was founded. But a Smith
College News Office press release from 1952 lends further
credibility to the story. It reads: “Paradise Pond,
in the center of the Smith College campus, was named by Jenny
Lind, the famous Swedish singer, on one of her many visits
1851 visit to Northampton was so celebrated that her concert
at the village’s Old First Church drew more than 1,800
spectators by train and carriage from as far away as Brattleboro,
Vermont -- a long 40-mile haul in those days.
Lind was so enthralled
with Northampton that she soon returned for her honeymoon
and resided at the Round Hill Hotel, across Elm
Street from the future Smith campus, performing again at Northampton’s
newly constructed City Hall on Main Street.
be the paradise of America,” she famously proclaimed
during her stay.
A lot has changed
since Jenny Lind visited Northampton and strolled the grounds
that would become Smith College. But her legacy remains in
the “Paradise” moniker that she purportedly gave
the city and the campus pond.
Her legacy continues
to be celebrated with occasional local concerts honoring her
musical contributions. On Sunday, July 2, the will team with The Barnum Festival, Inc. in presenting
the 58th Annual Jenny Lind Concert. The concert, at 4 p.m.
at the Academy of Music, features performances by the winners
of an international competition in Jenny Lind’s name.