Rediscovering Kequasagansett

Possible Sacred Stone and Water Works Around Gates Pond in Berlin, Massachusetts

Mike Luoma


Gates Pond Kequasagansett — in Berlin, Massachusetts. Photo by Mike Luoma.


An old town history of Berlin, Massachusetts explained that Gates Pond and its surroundings were once known to the local Indigenous Peoples as Kequasagansett. What? I’d grown up around here and never heard this.

King Philip’s Rock near Gates Pond in Berlin, Massachusetts. Photo by Mike Luoma.

The town history also told of how a prominent “Indian Stone” known as Sleeping Rock had marked the northwest corner of the property then known as Gates Farm at the northern base of Sawyer Hill. This was news to me, too! Though I knew there was another “Indian Stone” on a hill south of the pond, King Philip’s Rock.

I’d found a great deal of interesting, possibly Indigenous Stonework in the area around Gates Pond and Sawyer Hill, in Berlin, Massachusetts. Even a possible Sacred Stone Landscape atop that hill. Wanting to know more, I was doing a little research.

Who lived here up through the years? What did they do with the land? Where did the names come from? Was there any record of Indigenous Peoples in the area? Could they have worked in stone on these hills?

Looking into the background of Gates Pond and its environs, I discovered it was once Kequasagansett. And found that searching for answers led to a deep and interesting Indigenous History running along paths which often crossed my own.

The Reverend William A. Houghton wrote in The History of Berlin, Worcester County, Massachusetts, from 1784 to 1895 (1895) that:

“…some minor things of slight importance have been handed down by tradition, showing that Indians have been here, — one of which, that Indians took up their abode occasionally for the night in the cavity of a certain rock, since called “Sleeping rock” situated on the Hudson Road…”

Sleeping Rock. from The History of Berlin, Worcester County, Massachusetts, from 1784 to 1895. Public Domain.

That “Sleeping Rock” was right there, north of Gates Pond.



Mike Luoma

Author, Podcaster, Radio Host & Music Director, Explorer, Researcher, Science Fiction & Comic Book Creator. From Vermont.