by Chris Bain

Although Manhasset Bay and the two ponds rarely freeze over these days, once upon a time they did, and in doing so would provide recreation to any hardy souls who could brave the elements.  Most of us (of a certain age) remember ice skating on the Mill Pond and Baxter Pond (often referred to as the Duck Pond).  There would be fire barrels to warm yourself and hours of fun with your friends.  This beautiful color shot came to us through the courtesy of Bruce Jacobs, who found the shots among many his father had photographed (Thanks Bruce, for letting me share this!).

Many decades earlier, Port Washington was home to an ice boating fleet. In the early 1920’s, many trophies were won by Del Van Wicklen ("Uncle Del" to Helen Vogt) who was also the first dockmaster of the Town Dock. Way in the background you can see the sand mining trestle, just north of the Mill Pond, about where Stop & Shop is today.

Another early shot, showing the town undertaker, a Mr. Sheldon, who reportedly was also one of the town physicians.  Enough said!

By the way, the last time the bay froze over enough to support ice boats was about 20 years ago, and I (Chris Bain) was lucky enough to go out to photograph the ice boats that seemingly appeared out of nowhere.  I'll see if I can find some of those old Kodachromes and add them to this page.  In the meantime, send us your own winter photographs of Port Washington, OR your memories of skating on the Mill Pond, and we'll add them to this page.

The Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society
336 Port Washington Blvd., Port Washington, NY 11050-4530
(516) 365-9074  .