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


In 2010, the ice was gone by March 14.


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. Click here to see the pond on February 22.   

The picture on the left 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.

Click on the picture to see more of the pond during April 2015. My guess as to why the ice lasted on the pond so long that year is that we had a record amount of snow, which insulated the ice from the air as it began to warm. Click here to see pictures of snow in Hopedale in January, February and March of that year.


As with the early iceout in 2012, the ice all melted and then returned in 2017. When the picture on the right, taken on March 6, there was still a skim of ice. It was gone 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.The pond was finally clear of ice for the year on March 29.

Left – 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.
Right – 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.

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 on the left.

The second iceout of the winter of 2019-2020, shown on the right, was on February 27.

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

There was just a skim of ice left on March 8, 2022. On March 9, a little snow was coming down, but the ice was gone.

The ice came and went too many times this winter for me to keep track of. As you can see, there was a little skim on part of the water on March 2. It was gone by the next day, and there was no ice on the pond after that.

February 28 was the first day this year when no ice could be seen on Hopedale Pond from the Freedom/Progress end. The temperature was 58 when I took this picture.

 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 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
2022 – March 9
2023 – March 3
2024 – February 28

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

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