Madison Life and Times Spring 2016 - Page 30

LOCAL HISTORY WINTER FUN – CIRCA At various sites across Anderson, children skated and sledded through the late 19th century STORY AND PHOTO BY STEPHEN T. JACKSON W hat did the children do more than 100 years ago for outdoor winter recreation in the Madison County area? Local children in the late 1800s went skating and sledding, just as many children do today. The big Blackbird Pond south of the Big Four railroad tracks on what later became Jackson Street was a favorite after-school congregating site for students from the Smoky Row and Central Avenue schools. The abandoned Hydraulic Canal made its way through Park Place, and water from melted snow and drainage 30 MADISON froze, making for great skating. Farther east, the old Hughel School stood on the west side of Rangeline Road at Fifth Street. Immediately behind the school, children sledded and skated on a frozen pond during noon recess. On the south side, at what later became south Main Street near the 2400 block, was a pond that attracted area children from the south end. Over on the west side, the large fish pond on the William Morris farm along West Eighth Street drew ice skaters. In later years, the popular site was known as the Conservation Club Pond. The smooth ice of the mill races, for both Killbuck and Moss Island mills, offered the best and most desirable skating. When it came to sledding, Anderson’s hills afforded