Barbara Dyer: The first years of the Camden Snow Bowl

Sun, 03/15/2015 - 3:15pm

About three miles from the sea are our lakes and ponds. At Hosmer Pond, with the National Toboggan Races over and winter coming to an end, we think of the beginning of the Camden Snow Bowl in 1936 when the site was chosen. It was one of the largest volunteer projects ever attempted in this area. All the lumber was floated across the Pond, while 150 volunteers did whatever their job was. Some did carpentry, clearing, cooking, mixing cement and the chute was built in 12 foot lengths and 12 men carried them up the slope. The WPA built the road to the Lodge house and furnished 75 men to groom the ski slopes and trails.

The Lions Club sponsored the first Winter Carnival and Priscilla Bates was chosen as queen in 1936. The following queens were:

Dorothy Mitchell, 1937;

Mary Bryant, 1938;

Phyllis Packard 1939;

Lucy Dickens, 1940; and

Doris Moody, 1941.

The four runners-up became the "Ladies-in-Waiting.”

Girls who wished to enter the contest came from both Knox and Waldo counties.

The tickets were $1 for the whole week of activities, which included dancing on the ice, skating, hockey games, horse racing, dog sled racing, wood sawing contests, potato racing and figure skating exhibitions.

The Lodge was 80 feet long, very rustic and with a large granite fireplace at each end of the building. This building later burned in the late 1960s and an A-frame lodge replaced it.

This was a wonderful way for everyone during the Great Depression to have fun and excitement put together by volunteers. But, all good things come to an end, and when World War II broke out, it put an end to the Winter Carnivals.

The Sam-o-set Hotel ran it for a few years, much later but it could not pay for itself. The Town of Camden took it over again about 1985.

The National Toboggan Races, started by Kenneth Bailey and Jack William, has helped with its finances, and the last talk was that the new Lodge House planned has been postponed for a while.

No snow had to be made this winter; we have had more than enough.