Source: NMHS Newsletter, November 1994
by L. Russell Long
The l930's are most remembered as the days of the depression, but another
phenomenon occurred then also. This was a fad among people of having gold fish
ponds in their yards. These ponds became very popular in North Manchester early
in the thirties and the fad lasted two or three decades. To my knowledge that
last active pond belonged to Dewayne Garrison on West Fourth Street. It was
eliminated in the late sixties.
The ponds came in all sizes, shapes and descriptions. Some even included
islands. Most were complete with lily pads and lake moss, and in addition to
fish, included tadpoles and polliwogs. Charles "Dutch" Ruppel, who live on West
Second Street, had what was perhaps the most elaborate. He had a rock garden
that stretched along the back side of his home and and continued for several
feet along his lot line. A waterfall tumbled down rocks at about the center,
forming a curved stream six to eight inches wide. This stream emptied into a
large pond that reached halfway across his yard.
Next door, his sister, Rose Long, had a coffee-cup shaped pool. Where the handle
would be a projection occurred, forming a miniature bench complete with a high
and low diving board. On the opposite side a zoo complete with animals and
ceramic people circled a third of the way around the pond edge.
Other ponds were scattered throughout the town. Two I remember were owned by
Bill Hatfield at the corner of main and Sycamore and Otto Parmerlee on South
Market. Both were fairly large for private pools. The Parmerlee pool was kept
fresh because it had the unique benefit of a flowing well as a source of fresh
Since the ponds were fairly shallow, wintering the fish required large indoor
aquariums. DeWayne Garrison solved this problem by placing his fish in the pool
housed in the Thomas Marshall school during the school year. This pool was lost
when the gymnasium was added to the building since it was in the alcove that
gave way for the new hallway.
Another pond of note formed the centerpiece of the formal garden at Oaklawn
Cemetery. It was located in the sunken area of what was at that time, the
northeast corner of the cemetery. The pool has long since been filled in, but
the outline is still visible today.
Thus, another phenomenon has passed from the scene. Goldfish can, however, still
be seen in park and zoo ponds. The closest I know are in the sunken garden in