March 29, 2007 The ice was gone by March 31.

March 13, 2008. The ice was gone by March 20.

    . Again in 2009, the ice was
    gone in the part of the pond
    visible from the bridge at
    Freedom Street by March 20.
March 13, 2010
March 15, 2010

In 2010, the ice was gone by March 14.
March 17, 2009
March 20, 2009

                                                    The "Ice-Watch" Has Ended

    HOPEDALE - This year has been an unusual one in many respects in this little town. The year 1980
    marks many changes and it also marks the first year since 1911 that no records have been kept by
    employees of the now phased-out Rockwell plant and its predecessor, Draper Corporation, on the
    date that the ice has disappeared from Hopedale Pond.

    This year, Hopedale Pond itself almost appears to be making note of the cessation of such record
    keeping. Although it is an inanimate object, the Pond has been anything but cooperative in the ice
    department. The covering has come and gone all winter and it has offered little or no ice skating.

    Through the past years, the statistics on the departure date of the ice have been kept by Draper
    employees including Pat Dillon, George Bacon, George Young, Howard Fitch, Norman Taylor and
    Roy Rehbein.

    Some of the statistics reveal that the earliest date that no ice could be seen from the Draper plant at 3:
    30 PM was March 14, both 1921 and 1953. In 1979, the pond was free of ice on March 21, while in the
    year of the great blizzard, 1978, the ice cleared the pond on April 12. The report which was compiled
    over the years revealed that 1955 was almost the warmest year with the ice departing on March 15.
    Sayings about New England weather prove true by the report which notes that the next year, 1956,
    was tied for the coldest year recorded.

    The report, which was diligently kept, shows that the pond was clear of ice in the month of March for
    47 of the 68 years that the records were kept. Ice left the pond in the month of April for a total of 21
    years.

    Roy Rehbein, a long-time employee of the loom manufacturing firm was the last person to mark the
    report, and he noted the date of March 21, 1979 as the date the ice had left the pond on his last
    occasion to record the information. To this he added, "This will likely be the last report from Draper -
    the end of an era."

    Little things like the date upon which ice left the pond were an indication of how the employees felt
    about the plant, the looms they made and the town in which they lived. The observation took only a
    minute or two, but it was recorded religiously by the record keepers. Rebhein was obviously correct in
    his prophecy. "The end of an era" has arrived. Milford Daily News, February 12, 1980.

    Recent "iceout" dates.

    To be consistent with the Draper records, which marked the date when no ice could be seen from the
    shop at the end of the work day, the dates given are when no ice could be seen at the lower end of the
    pond, late in the day. In some of these years, there was still ice on the West Cove (by Freedom Street,
    near the Ellis and Gannett homes), and likely more in other coves further up the pond. It's possible
    that the Draper records were recorded when the pond was viewed from an upper floor, but I don't think
    the West Cove or any others would be visible, even from there.

    1982 - March 30
    1983 - March 13
    2004 - March 25
    2005 - April 2
    2006 - ?
    2007 - March 31
    2008 - March 20  
    2009 - March 20  
    2010 - March 14       
    2011 - March 20  
    2012 - February 20 and March 8
    2013 - March 23
    2014 - April 4
    2015 - April 8   
    2016 - February 26
    2017 - February 26, March 8, March 12, and March 29.

   
Blue Hill Observatory Weather data, including freeze/thaw dates for Houghton's Pond since 1886.

                          Park, Pond and Sports Menu                  Draper Menu                   HOME          
                     
March 17, 2011
March 18, 2011
March 19, 2011 - 11 am
March 19, 2011 - 2 pm
March 20, 2011 - 2 pm

    There was a little ice at the lower end of the
    pond on the morning of March 20, 2011, but a
    few hours later it was gone. For the third time in
    the past four years, the ice was gone on the
    20th.

    February 20, 2012. Will ice return, or is it gone for the year? It seems
    very early to think the pond won't freeze again. Maybe this will be a
    year of two iceouts. I'll only count it as a return of the ice if it lasts an
    entire day; not just a little skim in the morning that melts in a few
    hours. I'll keep watching. See the pond on February 22.   

    These two pictures were
    taken at about 3:30 pm,
    March 4, 2012 .Seems
    like that means this will
    be a double iceout year.
    Or maybe more.

    The picture above was taken at 3:30 PM on March 7, 2012.
    There was still an ice covering. The temperature at that time
    was 58. I went by at six and the ice was gone, but to be
    consistent with the Draper standard, since ice was still there
    at 3:30, the date of the iceout would be March 8, 2012.

    When I took the 5 PM picture on March 17, 2013, there was a skim of ice
    floating near the dam. By the afternoon of the 18th, it was gone.

    But there were skims of ice here and there all day on the 19th.
    I think what happened was that a bit of ice formed overnight. It
    probably would have melted when the temperature went up
    into the mid-30s during the day, but a few inches of snow fell
    and insulated it enough to keep it from melting. Looks like
    another year with the iceout date of March 20.

    I thought for sure the ice would be gone by the
    20th, but nooo, late in the afternoon there were
    still a few little patches floating in the lower end.

    I thought it would certainly be gone by the 21st, but, no, late that afternoon, there was
    even more ice than the day before. And then came the 22nd. A skim over most of the
    pond in the morning, and a little still there late in the afternoon.

    March 23 - I expected to see a skim of ice over most of the pond this morning, but when
    I went by at about nine, there was just a small piece floating at the lower end. Maybe
    the wind had kept it from forming. By noon it was gone. Photo below taken on the 23rd.
     

Click here to see photos of Hopedale Pond in April 2015.

    The two clippings above are from Rockwell-Draper
    newsletters. Thanks to Dick Volpe for them.

February 26, 2016

    As with the early iceout in 2012, the ice returned in 2017. The
    picture above was taken on March 6. It had melted by the 8th.

    Some very warm days were followed by some very cold days, and by
    March 12, 2017, the lower end of the pond was covered with ice again.