Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Just Call It Lake Webster

Less than an hour south of where we live there is a body of water that has gained some fame over the years. Most people call it Lake Webster, but the original inhabitants of the area, the Nipmuck Indians, an Algonquin speaking tribe, named the lake; Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. The English translation of this mouthful is; "Englishmen at Manchaug at the fishing place at the boundary". There is a village nearby called Manchaug, its name derived from the Algonquin word "Monuhchogoks", the name of the particular group of Nipmuck natives that lived by the lake. The lake was important to the Nipmuck for fishing and was also used as a meeting place for several tribes, being central to several paths of the Great Trail system. The lake is 3.25 miles long and a little over a mile wide, surrounded by the several small New England towns and villages.
Over time, the locals came to say that the meaning of the name Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg is; "You Fish on Your Side, I Fish on My Side, Nobody Fish in the Middle". A humorous article published in the local Webster newspaper back in the 1920's started that spin. Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg is reputed to be the longest place name in the United States and 6th longest in the world. In 1954, Ethel Merman and Ray Bolger recorded a song about the lake and its unusual name, spreading its fame far and wide. But to us, and to most of the people that live in the area, it's just a pretty place with an unusual name. A spring-fed lake and place of natural beauty, surrounded by small towns and small town folk in what used to be the land of the Nipmuck.
Image of the sign was originally posted to Flickr by Bree Bailey at May 1, 2007


  1. the name is too big for a t shirt, well maybe a 4x. it is a beautful lake and you can see why the native americans lived there. and why we continue to today....jc

  2. Hey, You inspired me to do a bit of Google geography. I found the lake, and the part of the country you call home.

    I spent a month or so in the early 70's in Norwood, staying with friends. You are in a lovely part of the country, though a bit cold at times. I was baffled when I saw them taking down the tennis nets in October when I was there. (In So. Cal., tennis nets stay up year round!)

    Welcome to spring!

  3. What a fun, informative post! I'm glad the name is simplified now, aren't you?

  4. How charming! I tried to get through pronouncing the name, but the 3rd set of gg's sort of tripped me must be a lovely place!

  5. Sounds like such a lovely place DeeDee......
    Sorry I'm so behind on my comments. I started those darned Chemo pills and have been a little sick. Hope you are doing well?
    Take good care and.....

    Steady On
    Reggie Girl

  6. Hi Jack - Yeah, that would be too long for a T shirt!
    Hi Don - Yes, I know Norwood well. You are right, the nets go down in the fall. Heading toward the nice weather now. :)
    Hi Suzen - It's sure a lot easier to remember the short version!
    Hi Lyn - Hahaha! yeah, too many Gs without a doubt!
    Hi Reggie - My dad is on chemo too. Please feel better!

  7. Hi Deedee, I'm a first time visitor after my daughter ( told me about your blog. I've just spent 30 mins reading and I love it. Have added you to my daily reads and will be back.


  8. I'm sorry but I have totally failed in my attempts to pronounce that word.... so Lake Webster it is! Hope you are well Deedee and that things are starting to look up for you? Hugs to you dear friend, Vxx

  9. Hi Margaret! Thank you for coming over. I'm glad you've enjoyed it.

    Hi Veronica - I am well. Things are much the same on the job front, but I am hopeful now that spring is here, things will pick up. Hope all is well you too. Thank you friend.