Snow Day!

What kid, or teacher for that matter doesn’t love a snow day? As kids we would get up early and listen to the No School announcements on WHDH or WBZ radio praying to hear “No school, all schools in Dedham.” Then as quick as we could, we’d stuff our feet into Wonder Bread bags and rubber boots and head out the door to go sledding! In the days before the streets were intensely chemically treated and plowed to bare pavement before the last flake has even fallen, the little hill on Tower Street by my house made for great coasting. I’m sure this was the case all around Dedham on quiet streets with even the slightest elevation.

From the Boston Record-American, February 1959: “Pre-schoolers and their mothers take to the street with their sleds…This scene is being duplicated in all sections of New England…This was made in Greenlodge, Dedham.” To be exact, it is the intersection of Heritage Hill and Ledgewood.
The same view, January 14, 2023.

If we were feeling really adventurous, we’d take our Flexible Flyers (or Speedaway knockoffs) to the hill at the Capen School. Now THAT was a hill! If you weren’t careful, you could speed-away right onto the basketball court or the woods at the edge of the baseball field, especially if you were flying down the hill on one of those plastic or metal coasters.

From a 1943 report on the schools. That’s a pretty steep hill for downhill skiing!

Other popular sledding locations were the Community House and Federal Hill (Highland Ave) where sledders in the 1890s covered the hill with water taken from a nearby brook to create an ice covered surface for even more thrills. Even the dangers of car traffic didn’t stop some enthusiastic kids in December 1933.

Back at Tower Street, the Parr kids and our neighbors had a safe sledding option right in our own backyard. Even the installation of a rail fence by my father didn’t keep us off that hill.

From December, 1967. If the snow wasn’t too deep and you had enough momentum, you could duck under the fence rail and continue into the O’Berg’s yard next door.
I get creative and use my little brother’s plastic bathtub as a coaster. Oh, and I forgot to mention the rocks we had to glide over at the top of the hill.

Those childhood days of sledding are best captured in this poem I wrote recently. Feel free to share your coasting memories in the comments!

Our Hill

Our hill was not so big a hill,

But still, it was the only hill

In any backyard up and down the street.

And days when wind and winter chill

Dropped snow upon our little hill

It was the place where neighbor kids would meet

For coasting down that snowy hill,

A simple childhood winter thrill

That kept us in the cold outdoors all day.

And down and up we crossed that hill

And didn’t stop the fun until

The cold and darkness drove us all away.

The next time that it snows you will

Find new kids sledding down that hill

The way we did so many years ago.

Their happy shouts of joy will fill

The skies above that ancient hill

And echo over freshly fallen snow.

Explore posts in the same categories: ...all the old familiar places, JP's Dedham

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10 Comments on “Snow Day!”

  1. Steve Kirsis Says:

    Greenlodge had Stoughten road, steep and long!


  2. Dave Lane Says:

    Back in those days they might not get the sanders and plows out for quite a while, so you could use your sled on the road. During a good storm we could sled the whole length of Hillsdale Rd., but then it was a long walk back up.


  3. Love this! Great before and after photo.

    Always a good read!

    Lynne 🙂



  4. Elaine Richardson Leahy Says:

    We used to sled on Jefferson St, where We grew up. The older neighborhood boys would skid-hop the bus that went up Jefferson and along Mt Vernon towards DHS.


  5. Michael J. Nee III Says:

    Hello Jim,

    Thank you for pausing the clock and taking us back remembering the joys of this season of winter. Great job in capturing the time lapse in Greenlodge. Your wonderful poem takes me back to a place called Devil’s Den and family names of childhood friendships.

    Thank you,


    • Jim Parr Says:

      That’s a great name for a place to sled!


      • Michael J. Nee III Says:

        Portland Maine lost to I -295 behind the (now) Sea Dogs stadium. Devils den was a small part of what we called Ho-Bo Jungle. Railroad tracks ran at the bottom of the hill a single spur that ran to the inner industries used twice a day. It was a great name.


  6. toby cabot Says:

    Thank you for this post! If my brother and I could convince our Mom to drive us to Brookline, there was a huge hill on the back side of Larz Anderson park.


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