Chestnut Hill – Philadelphia – 19118

The Pond & Waterways

One of Pastorius Park’s defining features is it’s central pond and adjacent waterways.  Home to waterfowl, turtles, and scores of frogs, the water features at Pastorius Park are a vibrant and thriving urban ecosystem. This focal water feature was not alway as picturesque as it is today— FoPP has put in countless hours to carefully restore and maintain the park’s waterways. 

Pond and Waterway Restoration

Early Work and Structural Repairs

In the late 1990s, under the leadership of Quita Woodward Horan, FoPP raised funds to repair leaks in deteriorated pond walls. These funds were given to the Fairmount Park Commission through the Fairmount Park Historic Preservation Trust, the commission’s mechanism for receiving private money for public places. Local landscape architect, Rob Fleming served as FoPP’s liaison with Fairmount Park’s facilities manager, Mike DeSanto and contractor John Giuliani. Fleming also provided drawings and consulted regularly with the principal actors in this large restoration of the park’s pond. In December 1998 John Giuliani & Sons repaired the pond walls with gunite, and installed a buttress to hold the stonework, as well as a filtration system to recirculate pond water. Prior to these projects, FoPP had two artesian wells installed at the park to provide as-needed water to the pond during droughts.

Major Cleaning

By 2015, despite regular maintenance by FoPP (seasonal anti-algal treatments and filtration pump maintenance), the park’s pond was overwhelmed with nearly 20 years of leaves, organic matter, and sediment. This led to an overabundance of pea-green algae and a large fish die off in the pond on July 4, 2016 that alarmed the public and raised serious health concerns. FoPP successfully advocated for a long-overdue cleaning of the pond.

Second Restoration and Aerator Installation

In May 2017 the second pond restoration was spearheaded by FoPP under direction of President Tracy Gardner with support from CHCA, CHBD, CHHS, citizens and local businesses, and funded through the Office of City Councilwoman Cindy Bass and FoPP.

Prior to the pond’s cleaning, FoPP safely relocated all fish to a private, creek-fed pond, under supervision of pond expert Hermann Twelkmeyer. Going forward, fish were no longer permitted to be released into the pond due to copper-based anti-algal treatments, administered seasonally by PPR, which cannot be tolerated by fish. However, these treatments are safe for people, dogs, and other wildlife. The pond’s resident turtles,  were also temporarily removed by FoPP volunteers while the pond was cleaned.

PPR oversaw the sub-contractor’s cleaning of the pond (which was conducted via suction and took a month to complete). After the pond was refilled, FoPP funded and installed three new aeration fountains to improve oxygen levels in the pond water and deter mosquito larvae development. The aerators are a significant improvement over the original 1990’s pond filtration system, regularly moving thousands of gallons of water an hour.

Support Your Park​


Pastorius Park relies on community support to maintain the health and safety of this historic landscape. Your support enables FoPP to continue caring for the trees, historic plantings, water systems, and structures within the park. Show your support through a donation to Friends of Pastorius Park or joining us as a volunteer.

Make a Donation in Honor of Paul Meyer

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