A 45-letter Nipmuc Indian name for this body of water is often cited as the longest place name in the United States and one of the longest in the world. Today, "Webster Lake" may be the name most used, but some (including many residents of Webster), take pride in reeling off the longer versions. The popular, but inaccurate, translation of the name is
“You fish on your side, I fish on my side, and nobody fishes in the middle"
The Lake was formed by the retreat of glaciers during the last ice age and is replenished from underwater springs and streams. The area includes three smaller bodies of water joined by narrow channels: North Pond, Middle Pond and South Pond. There are 17 miles (27 km) of shore line. The length of the Lake is 3.25 miles (5.23 km), and at its widest point in Middle Pond, the distance is 1.125 miles (1.811 km). The shore line of North Pond is 5.78 miles (9.30 km), of Middle Pond, 7.06 miles (11.36 km), and South Pond is 4.17 miles (6.71 km). It is the largest natural lake in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. It is also located at the northern most end of the Last Green Valley.
The Nipmuck Indians were the first people to make inhabit the area around the lake. They were hunters, gatherers of the local berries, herbs & mushrooms. They also planted the meadows with small hills of corn, beans, and squash. A fish from the lake was buried in each hill during planting for fertilizer.
These waters attracted Samuel Slater to the area in 1812 where he built a cotton mill next to the lake and other local sites along the French River. These factories marked the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the New World, and Webster, which was officially recognized as a Town by Massachusetts in 1832.
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