Friday, January 23, 2009

Sledding in Cooperstown

By: Michelle Murdock, Curator of Exhibitions
When’s the last time you went sledding? I’m fortunate to have a terrific sledding hill at my house, which my family and I use as much as possible. We especially like to sled by moonlight with our friends.

Kids in Cooperstown have sledded at today’s Bassett Hall since the late 19th century. This treasured tradition is just one of many elements that make up the community’s shared memory. Susan Fenimore Cooper, daughter of the novelist James Fenimore Cooper, founded the Orphanage in 1870. Over the years it underwent a name change, fire, and renovations, and finally closed in 1942. Since then, the building at the corner of Beaver Street and Susquehanna Avenue has been a part of the Bassett Healthcare complex, serving as a nurses’ residence, office space, and meeting place. A sledding weathervane atop the building is an all-season reminder of a continuing tradition.

Maybe there’s a park near you with a little hill you could sled down? Bundle up, gather your friends, and make a few snow angels while you’re at it!

Sledding at the Orphanage, 1913
Smith & Telfer Collection, 5-1676

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