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Skating In Old Days

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Wliile skating is uow one of the mos popular sports of the winter season it is only comparatively a few years since it has become so in this city. When the Central park was being constructed in 1860 and the small artificial lake at Fifty-ninth street was nearly cornpleted, the park commissioners announced that it would be thrown open for the use of skaters. A few men took advantage of the invitation, but women could not be induced to go on the ice. The skates then in use were of the most antique pattern, some of the runners exteuding a long way in front of the foot, endiug : in a ringlike curl. In a crowd these skates were quite dangerous, and the first year skating was anything except popular. During the next winter the larger lake at the upper end of the mail was in such condition that it could be used for skating. Here there was more room ïor the sport, but still the women could not be induced to venture on the ice. A number of gentlemen determined to overeóme this prejudice and organized the New York Skating club, having a regulation pattemedskate, almost even with the sole of the boot, which was laced up tight to the ankle, while the objectionable strap was done away with, the runner being fixed to the sole while in use by a ball and soeket and held firmly with a clamp. These becaine popular that winter with the men, and a lighter kind was made for women. The prejudice, however, still existed among the latter, uutil the club invited a lady, who was a fine skater, f rom Portland, Me., to visit the Central park and skate with the club. This lady wore a pretty and appropriate dress, similar to that worn in winter by women skaters in Europe, and she created such a sensation by her artistic skating as to attract much notice. The result was that before the season ended several young ladies were induced by the club to venture on the ice, and the season of 1862-3 found mauy, with pretty costumes, enjoying the sport. A series of carnivals were arranged by the club during the following seasou, and skating in the evening beoame one of the fashionable winter amusements.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News