March 29, 2007 The ice was gone by March 31.
March 13, 2008. The ice was gone by March 20.
gone in the part of the pond
visible from the bridge at
Freedom Street by March 20.
In 2010, the ice was gone by March 14.
The "Ice-Watch" Has Ended
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
taken at about 3:30 pm,
March 4, 2012 .Seems
like that means this will
be a double iceout year.
Or maybe more.
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.
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.
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.
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.
March 12, 2017, the lower end of the pond was covered with ice again.