March 29, 2007 The ice was gone by March 31.

March 13, 2008. The ice was gone by March 20.

    . Again in 2009, the ice was
    gone in the part of the pond
    visible from the bridge at
    Freedom Street by March 20
March 13, 2010
March 15, 2010

In 2010, the ice was gone by March 14.
March 17, 2009
March 20, 2009

                                           The "Ice-Watch" Has Ended

    HOPEDALE [Feb 12, 1980] - This year has been an unusual one in many respects in
    this little town. The year 1980 marks many changes and it also marks the first year
    since 1911 that no records have been kept by employees of the now phased-out
    Rockwell plant and its predecessor, Draper Corporation, on the date that the ice has
    disappeared from Hopedale Pond.

    This year, Hopedale Pond itself almost appears to be making note of the cessation of
    such record keeping. Although it is an inanimate object, the Pond has been anything
    but cooperative in the ice department. The covering has come and gone all winter and
    it has offered little or no ice skating.

    Through the past years, the statistics on the departure date of the ice have been kept
    by Draper employees including Pat Dillon, George Bacon, George Young, Howard
    Fitch, Norman Taylor and Roy Rehbein.

    Some of the statistics reveal that the earliest date that no ice could be seen from the
    Draper plant at 3:30 PM was March 14, both 1921 and 1953. In 1979, the pond was
    free of ice on March 21, while in the year of the great blizzard, 1978, the ice cleared the
    pond on April 12. The report which was compiled over the years revealed that 1955
    was almost the warmest year with the ice departing on March 15. Sayings about New
    England weather prove true by the report which notes that the next year, 1956, was tied
    for the coldest year recorded.

    The report, which was diligently kept, shows that the pond was clear of ice in the month
    of March for 47 of the 68 years that the records were kept. Ice left the pond in the
    month of April for a total of 21 years.

    Roy Rehbein, a long-time employee of the loom manufacturing firm was the last person
    to mark the report, and he noted the date of March 21, 1979 as the date the ice had
    left the pond on his last occasion to record the information. To this he added, "This will
    likely be the last report from Draper - the end of an era."

    Little things like the date upon which ice left the pond were an indication of how the
    employees felt about the plant, the looms they made and the town in which they lived.
    The observation took only a minute or two, but it was recorded religiously by the record
    keepers. Rebhein was obviously correct in his prophecy. "The end of an era" has
    arrived. Milford Daily News, February 12, 1980.

    Recent "iceout" dates.

    To be consistent with the Draper records, which marked the date when no ice could be
    seen from the shop at the end of the work day, the dates given are when no ice could
    be seen at the lower end of the pond, late in the day. In some of these years, there was
    still ice on the West Cove (by Freedom Street, near the Ellis and Gannett homes), and
    likely more in other coves further up the pond. It's possible that the Draper records
    were recorded when the pond was viewed from an upper floor, but I don't think the
    West Cove or any others would be visible, even from there.

    1982 - March 30
    1983 - March 13
    2004 - March 25
    2005 - April 2
    2006 - ?
    2007 - March 31
    2008 - March 20  
    2009 - March 20  
    2010 - March 14       
    2011 - March 20  
    2012 - February 20 and March 8
    2013 - March 23
    2014 - April 4
    2015 - April 8   
    2016 - February 26
    2017 - February 26, March 8, March 12, and March 29.
    2018 - February 23
    2019 - March 26
    2020 - C. January 14, Ice back, and gone again on February 27.
    2021 - March 20

Blue Hill Observatory Weather data, including freeze/thaw dates
                                            for Houghton's Pond since 1886.

March 17, 2011
March 18, 2011
March 19, 2011 - 11 am
March 19, 2011 - 2 pm
March 20, 2011 - 2 pm

    There was a little ice at the lower end of the pond on
    the morning of March 20, 2011, but a few hours later
    it was gone. For the third time in the past four years,
    the ice was gone on the 20th.

    February 20, 2012. Will ice return, or is it gone for the year? It
    seems very early to think the pond won't freeze again. Maybe this
    will be a year of two iceouts. I'll only count it as a return of the ice if
    it lasts an entire day; not just a little skim in the morning that melts
    in a few hours. I'll keep watching. See the pond on February 22.   

    These two pictures were taken
    at about 3:30 pm, March 4,
    2012 .Seems like that means
    this will be a double iceout year.
    Or maybe more.

    The picture above was taken at 3:30 PM on March 7, 2012.
    There was still an ice covering. The temperature at that time
    was 58. I went by at six and the ice was gone, but to be
    consistent with the Draper standard, since ice was still there
    at 3:30, the date of the iceout would be March 8, 2012.

    When I took the 5 PM picture on March 17, 2013, there was a skim of
    ice floating near the dam. By the afternoon of the 18th, it was gone.

    But there were skims of ice here and there all day on the 19th.
    I think what happened was that a bit of ice formed overnight. It
    probably would have melted when the temperature went up
    into the mid-30s during the day, but a few inches of snow fell
    and insulated it enough to keep it from melting. Looks like
    another year with the iceout date of March 20.

    I thought for sure the ice would be gone by the
    20th, but nooo, late in the afternoon there were
    still a few little patches floating in the lower end.

    I thought it would certainly be gone by the 21st, but, no, late that afternoon, there
    was even more ice than the day before. And then came the 22nd. A skim over
    most of the pond in the morning, and a little still there late in the afternoon.

    March 23 - I expected to see a skim of ice over most of the pond this morning, but
    when I went by at about nine, there was just a small piece floating at the lower end.
    Maybe the wind had kept more ice from forming. By noon it was gone. Photo below
    taken on the 23rd.

Click here to see photos of Hopedale Pond in April 2015.

    The two clippings above are from Rockwell-Draper
    newsletters. Thanks to Dick Volpe for them.

February 26, 2016

    As with the early iceout in 2012, the ice returned in 2017. The
    picture above was taken on March 6. It had melted by the 8th.

    Some very warm days were followed by some very cold days, and
    by March 12, 2017, the lower end of the pond was covered with
    ice again. As you can read in "Recent 'iceout' dates" below, the
    ice was gone, returned, and was gone again four times in 2017.

    Above - some ice remaining at the lower end of Hopedale Pond on February 22, 2018.

    Several warm days in February 2018 resulted in the ice being gone by the 23rd. As
    stated elsewhere on this page, this goes by the old Draper standard of ice not visible
    at the lower end of the pond by the late afternoon. Ice can be found in coves for days
    after it's gone at the lower end. Once again, with it gone this early, I expect ice to form
    again this season.

    Below - No ice in sight late in the afternoon of February 23.

    During the first half of March 2018, we had two heavy snowstorms.
    The first dropped about a foot of snow, and the second, on March
    13, left us with 26 inches. Each of them left the pond covered with
    what I think could be considered slush rather than ice.
    Consequently, I'm going to leave the iceout date as February 23
    unless the pond actually freezes again. The slush shown in the
    picture from the 14th was gone by the end of the afternoon.

March 26, 2019.

    There had been a few days of skating and ice fishing in
    December 2019 and a bit into January. I hadn't been paying
    enough attention to it, but the ice had been gone for several
    days by the time I took the picture above.

    The second iceout of the winter of 2019-
    2020, shown here, was on February 27.
March 20, 2013
March 19 2013
March 21, 2013
March 23, 2013

    Click here to see more pictures of Hopedale Pond during March
    2021. The iceout arrived on the first day of spring this year.

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