By Karen Murphy Bowes
Hiking through the East side of The Blue Hills, it’s easy to miss. The history is quite rich. St. Moritz pond is man-made, but why? Shea Rink is a staple of the community in Quincy but the selection of this location at the edge of the Blue Hills has significance for the ice skating community.
The St. Moritz Winter Carnival that was hosted in the Blue Hills can truly capture the imagination. From January of 1929 through 1942, events including figure skating, toboggan, hockey, and ski jump events were held at this location. It was open to public participation and in the first year, there were 15,000 people in attendance, only to increase to well over 50,000 people at its peak.
The event was fashioned after the Olympics held in St. Moritz Switzerland and hosted Olympic ice skaters and other well-known people. Notably, champion skaters Marabel Vinson and Roger F Turner were some of the performers that could be viewed during “Fancy Skating.”
The Carnival closed each year with a Grand Carnival Ball held for a small crowd in a brick building that still exists today.
Unpredictable weather caused the end of the Carnival and the pond no longer freezes long enough to hold such events. The concrete base of the ski jump, however, can still be found at the top of a hill within the St Moritz park section of the Blue Hills.
It’s a short hike to stand at the top and imagine landing on the pond, which can be seen from the top when the leaves have fallen from the trees. A log cabin used to sell hot chocolate near the edge of the pond and a microphone used to be mounted on a pond-side tree for announcements.
To learn about another historic treasure in the Blue Hills, which an interpretive sign now highlights, visit our Civilian Conservation Corp page.
- Revisiting the St. Amortization Winter Carnival in Quincy by Dalia Sadaka for the Patriot Ledger 2015
- St. Moritz Pond, OpenGreenmap.org by Dave Kabatchnick
- Collection of materials related to the St. Moritz Winter Carnival by Thomas Bonomi
Photos courtesy of Thomas Crane Library.