Saturday, February 28, 2015

I Found It In The Archives: Winter Fun!

Though today we have no designated space for skating, a covered ice rink was a permanent building on campus for many years. One of the first buildings built after the school fire in 1896, the Rockefeller skating rink was originally located where Porter Hall now stands. The rink was moved down closer to the lakefront around 1897. Before 1899, the space was also used as a gymnasium, and occasionally for commencement receptions.

Photograph captioned "Mount Holyoke students play rink polo in 1896 on the covered skating rink given by John D. Rockefeller."

The rink's opening was celebrated by a carnival in February of 1896. Each corner of the rink was decorated with class colors. A local band provided music for the carnival. The students cheered for their classes and dorms, and sang a skating song written for the carnival by Margaret S. Geddes of the class of 1897. In a personal letter from 1896 regarding the carnival, a student wrote: "It is really intoxicating (or must be, for I did not skate) to go skimming around to music, especially if you have a man to hold you up. We had a goodly number of Amherst youth to share our pleasure and they must have found Holyoke a decidedly gay place."

Buildings pictured from left to right: Brigham, Safford, Porter, Rockefeller skating rink, with Lower Lake in foreground.

Feel free to share your student skating stories in the comments!

Samantha Snodgrass, Class of 2018, is a volunteer student assistant in Archives and Special Collections. 

No comments:

Post a Comment