December 20, 2005

Burleigh Mountain History Part I

Cleaning out the Adventure Education office today and found a couple of things that made me smile. The first was a note Dwayne wrote to Adam last winter regarding his tele-skis that Dwayne was gifting to Adam. It reminded me of our second intern in the office (Dwayne) and also Adam who is now studying adventure ed at Prescott College in Arizona.

I also found the Senior Leadership Project of Nate Spencer ('03) who researched and did work on Burleigh Mountain. I'm enclosing here the history of Burleigh that he researched. The references are his and I'm including his original works cited information.

If any readers of this blog know more about the history post here and fill us in!

New Hampton School and Burleigh Mountain by Nate Spencer ('03)
New Hampton School received the land on Burleigh Mountain in the 1960's to develop a ski area. The land was a gift from Irving Bartlett '42 according to T. Holmes Moore, former Headmaster of New Hampton School (personal communication, March 14, 2003). The purpose of the development of Burleigh Mountain was to replace Mailbox Hill on Old Bristol Road. Mailbox Hill consisted of a rope tow that was powered by a 1931 Ford Model A motor and a warming hut. This was one of the first ski lifts in the country. Mailbox Hill was a commercial ski area that charged $1.50 for a day of skiing or $.75 for the afternoon.

New Hampton School leased Mailbox Hill in the 1940's as the ski area for its students. Students would travel approximately six miles west from the school on the back of an open truck. In the 1960's Penny Pitou and Egon Zimmerman operated a ski school at Gunstock. They came over to Mailbox Hill to give ski lessons to the New Hampton boys. Some Saturdays the students would travel to Gustock for real mountain skiing. This was part of the required athletics program. According to Jeff Tulis who was a student at New Hampton School from 1964-1968, "if you could actually hold onto the rope, the ungoverned tow pulled you up the hill faster than you could ski down it!" (New England Lost Ski Area Project see link to the right). Mrs. Moore, the daughter of former New Hampton School Headmaster Fredrick Smith and wife to his successor, T. Holmes Moore, recalled an event in her early 20's of having her scarf getting caught around the rope and nearly being strangled to death as she was dragged through the wooden safety gate and into the engine house (personal communication, March 14, 2003).

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