HISTORY OF WINTER RECREATION IN PORTLAND

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old winter photos

Do you have old winter photos from Portland we can share? If so, we'd love to see them! Please email photos to recreation@portlandmaine.gov or mail them to 212 Canco Road, Suite A, Portland, ME 04103

SkiJump_WesternProm1924_MargaretTowne

Margaret Towne, age 16, of Berlin, NH, comes down the ski jump at Portland's Western Promenade during the winter carnival of 1924

Western Promenade 1922 

Photo from Maine Historical Society

WesternProm1922
SkiJump_WesternProm1924

Ski Jump, Western Promenade, Portland, 1924 - Maine Memory Network

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from annual city reports:

1888

In January last the city government appropriated $150 for the purpose of keeping the ice in Deerings’ Oaks free from snow and suitable for skating.  It was thought better that the children should enjoy this kind of amusement in the oaks, instead of going a distance out of town where the ice is treacherous and where the rake of the wind makes one liable to take cold, after taking a long walk and in a heated and perspiring condition.  The season of skating was thus prolonged for some weeks.  Of the $150 appropriated we expended but $65, and the rest went back to the treasury.

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1908

 There has been more good skating on the pond this season than usual, and there should be some precautionary measures taken to prevent skating until the ice is at least four inches thick.  The Commissioners do all in their power to keep the skaters away, but as soon as the policeman is out of sight they will crowd on the ice and break it up.  Your Commissioners desire that the public shall have all the facilities for skating possible consistent with safety, but feel that it is of much more importance that the ice shall be of sufficient strength and thickness to bear the weight of all who come to enjoy it than to make a record of a large number of days of skating, with the ice of questionable strength, with its attending dangers.

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SKATING

            The skating on the pond in Deering’s Oaks during the winter of 1908-9 was unusually fine.  With the continued cold weather during this winter, and no large amount of snow, the Commissioners have been able to keep the ice in good condition, and up to this date, January 13, 1910, there have been twenty-six days of good skating.  Christmas was a record breaker for good skating, and on Christmas day it was estimated that fully three thousand boys and girls were on the ice during the afternoon, and there was about as big a crowd in the evening.

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