Area Highlight: Eagles Mere Toboggan Run
Capt. E.S. Chase stood at the edge of Eagles Mere Lake in January 1903 watching his grandchildren play. They asked him why he couldn’t build a “real good” toboggan slide down the slope of Lake Avenue. He had moved there in 1886 and initiated projects such as laying out street plans of the village, planning and cutting the Arrow Paths and well-known Laurel Path around the lake.
Chase began work on a design and method for building a toboggan slide that would be safe, sturdy and able to provide continued pleasure for Eagles Mere residents. Even today, the slide is executed from Capt. Chase’s original plans using his method of grooving the ice.
The following winter, men and boys declared a holiday and enthusiastically turned out to build the toboggan slide when the ice was declared solid at twelve inches. Hand saws were used. Horse teams with wagons and bobsleds plus strong arms and backs hauled the ice blocks to the foot of Lake Avenue where construction began. The slide was ready for operation in January 1904. Electric lights were strung over the slide using electricity generated by the waters of Hunters Lake four miles away.
The first to test the slide was Harry Stevens. No sled was available, so he chose to slide down in a heavy iron scoop-shovel. Observers cheered him on until they realized a strange cloud was forming around him, which developed into a trail of smoke as he gained momentum and rode swiftly out on to the lake. Men raced down the hill and out on the ice to find Mr. Stevens with the seat of his pants completely burned out. With no permanent injury, other than to his dignity, he had to grin and bear all the logical jokes for weeks and months to come. After this initiation, sleds, toboggans and a few homemade contraptions appeared on the scene. The slide was active that year until the middle of March.
A regional attraction, more information about the slide and its operations can be found at: http://www.eaglesmere.org/