Saturday, January 1, 2011

"A Big Thing on Ice", 1880

Wooden Ice Skates, 19th century
These wooden skates were typical of those
used in the mid and late-19th century, and were
secured to the wearer's boots by means of
leather straps and metal buckles.
Historically, early winter witnessed the start of the skating season in Middleorough and Lakeville, the Nemasket River and the towns' numerous lakes and ponds providing perfect venues for the sport.  One unique way in which New Year's Day, 1880 was celebrated was with a competition on Lake Assawompsett between two local contestants.

There is to be a novel contest at Middleboro on New Year's day; in fact "a big thing on ice."  Charles Pierce of Bridgewater and J. S. Alden of Middleboro, are to skate on Assawampsett Lake, the best skater to be awarded a purse of twenty-five dollars, which is in the hands of responsible parties.

Sadly, there appears to be no other record of the contest, nor of its outcome and which contestant took home the considerable prize.

Source:Old Colony Memorial, "County and Elsewhere", December 11, 1879


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