Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Historic Speedwell Lake, Stephen Vail, Whippany River, the Industrial Revolution and The Question of our Times

First time I fished Speedwell Lake, border of Morristown on Route 202. I've checked this place out a number of times, and have visited the Speedwell Iron Works a number of times, deeply admiring the painted portrait of Stephen Vail, the owner, also the entrepreneurial spirit behind the development of the telegraph. He maintained a vast network of business and social connections involved in contributions including mechanical inventions, communications, the transportation industry, and mass production. Speedwell was prominent in the American Industrial Revolution.

Frankly, for all that, I've always felt gloomy dismay about the turbid water quality of Speedwell Lake. I know from reputable sources that pickerel and bass are present. Of course, I really didn't expect so much as a hit today, not because of weather conditions, but scarcity of fish. Nonetheless, I diligently fished a quarter ounce spinnerbait among aquatic vegetation, just enjoying being out and guiding that lure, despite some mild disgust at the water quality.

It sure doesn't honor such an historical site, or does it? Well, that's the very question of our times.

Make no mistake, however. I will always reverently admire the Stephen Vail portrait.

But this is the Whippany River! If you've been reading my posts regularly, you may recall our Patriot's Path hike. The same trail goes along the lake, but my point is--this is the Whippany River dammed, and just upstream a few miles, it's a wonderful trout steam. Further up, it's pure spring water with native brook trout in Mendham.

I wonder how such a gorgeous stream becomes such a mess.

Anyhow, below the dam it's good trout water for the artificial trout season.


  1. I went looking for the Stephen Vail portrait, and found one painted by Samuel F.B. Morse?

    1. Positive that's the one. Vaguely remember it is. Morse of the code, of course.


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