February 12, 2010

So much snow!

It has snowed so much! School keeps getting canceled, not that I miss school, but I do miss getting out of the house for something other than work :(  Although, I do not want to repeat the walking through paths filled with muddy sludge, trying to make it to my classes, I kind of wish we had classes. I also am worried about the assignments and classwork that are piling up. 
I am looking for things to keep me busy. There is only so much shoveling one can do! I was looking through Harper's Weekly Newspaper from February 16th 1861 and found a few cute etchings. I can barely ice skate normally, I can only imagine trying to skate with hoops and a dress on. I always joke that sometime I will go to the local ice skating rink, all dressed up Civil War style (We've been bowling in period dress, other bowlers are surprisingly polite to you.)  I wonder if they would allow us to skate? I'm guessing falling would be a big affair as you could end up exposing some things you'd rather not.  

Ice Skating was a popular winter pastime in the 1800s for all economic classes in the United States. Frozen ponds and lakes were commandeered by anxious skaters and many guides teaching skating were available. The rinks, being natural, were not as smooth as the ice we know today. They had to skate on all of the natural frozen bumps and the grooves of the other skaters. Some ladies brought chairs with them to be pushed about on the ice by a sweetheart or brother. A good engraving of this can be seen in The American Boy's Book (1864) as well as period instructions and diagrams for learning how to ice skate.
There is also a virtual ice skate museum which has photographs of various historical ice skates. I am partial to the Holland 1850s ice skates on the main page there. They are so dainty!

I don't know of any lakes or ponds that allow ice skating. But I think I've had enough frozen outdoor activity. :D
This is a picture of my sister, after we had successfully located the mailbox.  That was after we found the road...which took a while. See the road below? :D
This is a Harper's Weekly engraving entitled "Skating Carnival in Brooklyn" February 10, 1862. Many people watched skaters on ice, even if they didn't participate themselves. They look like they are having fun--especially the men in ladies' clothing.

 This drawing is a diagram from the American Boy's Book. I like how guys weren't afraid to be touching. Today, guys are afraid to even sit in the seat next to their friends at the movies (creating the hilarious group of guys each with an empty seat in between them.)


  1. Hey Steph, a fellow blogger led me to a cool poem called 'Snow-bound':


    It has neat illustrations. Mike printed it off last night. Very long poem! Haha but we thought it was worth it.

  2. Those illustrations are really great. Thanks for sharing that.


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