Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Disappearing Daughters On Jamaica Pond

Skating on Jamaica Pond.

I found this entry in an online version of The Horticulturalist, and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste from 1858. It's interesting to know that they were skating on the pond in March - that's a long winter!

"Winter Ruralities of Boston -- A reliable Boston correspondent gives us a curious and amusing account of the newest winter fashions of the people of that city. It appears they were all crazy on the subject of skating. All the young men and maidens from twelve to twenty-five years old did nothing in March but skate on Jamaica Pond. They say on fine days 5000 might be seen, including the heavy fathers and mothers, who went on the ice to chaperon their daughters. The latter were then hustled by the young men, and skated and slid against until they were all mixed up, when the daughters disappeared in the melee. The Balmoral petticoat was another great feature of the scene. The whole lake was surrounded by the carriages of the wealthy Bostonians from twelve to four o'clock, or high change, and the sight, it is said, was beautiful. There was a great number of excellent skaters among the young ladies who can cut their names backwards; the best skater was the greatest belle, and as for the young men, he who could not cut a ring backwards on the outside skate was nobody. Instead of balls and parties, the whole visiting and gaiety the past season was on the ice. The young men and girls made up parties of fifteen and twenty, and went up Charles River ten miles to some village, where the heavy fathers who had driven out met them, and had a jolly dinner, when young Boston skated back by moonlight, and old Boston dozed back in the coaches. Healthful, all this, for mind and body; but we protest against the treatment of the old folks, and wonder the young ladies should disappear under the circumstances. "


  1. My mother was born in 1916 and grew up in JP. Whenever we asked her what she did for fun as a young girl, she would say that she and her friends went ice skating on Jamaica Pond "all the time." We used to laugh and wonder how this could be, since there are only a few outdoor skating days each year. This article makes my Mom's claim quite believable!

  2. My mother skated on the pond in the 1930s, starting in mid-January. I'd love to find out the last year skating was allowed.