St. Moritz Pond

Quincy
MA 02169

St. Moritz Pond

Public Forest/Natural AreaPark/Recreation AreaWater FeatureWildlife Habitat

Overview

St. Moritz Pond
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St. Moritz Pond

Photo by Dave Kabatchnick

This site, in the Quincy section of the Blue Hills Reservation, is well known by locals as a popular spot for hiking, birding, and fishing. What’s less well known is that the pond and the surrounding land were once the home of the St. Moritz Winter Carnival, which was held annually from 1929 – 1937. At its height, the carnival attracted 50,000 people and lasted for three days. Entertainment at the carnival included speed skating, figure skating, barrel jumping, a ski run, races (200-yard-dash, potato race, pipe and tobacco race), a 400-foot-long toboggan ride, and a 100-foot-long ski jump, which was one of the first in the country. The climax of the carnival was the carnival ball, where the coronation of the new “Queen of St. Moritz” took place. The ballroom building still stands at 634 Willard Street.

The Winter Olympics, which debuted just a few years before the carnival, may have inspired the event, but the enthusiasm surrounding it likely stemmed from the large numbers of immigrants from Northern Europe living in Quincy at the time. These immigrants not only brought skills needed by the local granite industry, they also brought their love of winter sports. The local Norwegian American Ski Team played a significant role in making the carnival a success. Members of the team were also members of the Blue Hills Recreation Club, the group officially in charge of the carnival. The Club was given $1500 to create St. Moritz Pond, which they accomplished by damning up a stream, and to build the toboggan ride and the ski jump, the top of which was 45-feet high. They ended up spending only $844.14.

The newly created pond was named St. Moritz after St. Moritz, Switzerland, site of the 1928 Winter Olympics. The Olympic ties were strengthened when local Olympians who participated in the 1932 Winter Olympics performed for the crowds at the 1935 carnival.

More information about the St. Moritz Carnival can be found at the Thomas Crane Public Library. Many of the display pieces were donated by Tom Bonomi, a 4th generation Quincy resident.

Some fun facts: A newspaper from the carnival years shows that the local Quincy Market was offering free delivery of orders of $2 or more, and the store’s “Big Wednesday Value” was middle rib corned beef, cabbage, carrots, beets, yellow turnip, and loaf bread — all for 59¢. Another ad offers boys’ skates for $4.85.

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Comments (1)

I grew up in Quincy and I do remember seeing the ski jump back in the early 1940's. Use to skate on St. Moritz Pond. I grew up on Furbace Brook Parkway.

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Ranger Ray McKinnon on St. Moritz Winter Carnival in the Blue Hills Reservation

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I grew up in Quincy and I do remember seeing the ski jump back in the early 1940's. Use to skate on St. Moritz Pond. I grew up on Furbace Brook Parkway.

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