Ask Saucon Source: What Ever Happened to Ice Skating at the Grist Mill?

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Jon H. recently asked the following question about ice skating at the Heller-Wagner Grist Mill pond near Walnut Street in Hellertown. It has been answered by Hellertown Borough Manager Cathy Hartranft.

Q: “Wouldn’t it be nice to open the pond for ice skating? Wasn’t it years ago? Why did they stop it? Just wondering. Thanks.”

A: “As I understand, ice skating on the large pond was never permitted. The fire company would flood the area where the small pond was located and allow skating at that location. It was closed to skating due to liability issues.”

Additional information the history of ice skating at the grist mill:

There were formerly two grist mill ponds, but several years ago the lower pond–which was smaller and located along W. Walnut Street–was filled in to create a level lawn area that can be used for special events, overflow parking, etc. The Hellertown Historical Society requested and received permission from the borough to fill the pond in, in part due to ongoing maintenance issues involving litter and goose waste.

The two contributed photos below depict ice skating in the area where the lower pond was located during two different eras: the 1940s and the 1980s.

Do you have memories of ice skating at the grist mill in Hellertown? Share them with us in a comment.

Credit: From the Hoffert family collection

Ice skating near the historic grist mill in Hellertown was a popular pastime in the 1940s.

Credit: The Ackerman family

Ice skating on the former lower grist mill pond in the mid-1980s.

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About Josh Popichak
Josh Popichak

Josh Popichak is a journalist and publisher who is passionate about providing an open online platform and advocating for independent, local news. He has covered news--first in print, later online--in the Saucon Valley area of eastern Pennsylvania since 2005. In addition to writing extensively about local issues, he uses Facebook, Instagram and other social media to help personalize and broaden awareness of topics affecting the communities he covers. He also manages the Facebook pages for several local businesses as part of his business, Saucon Source LLC. He is a 1999 graduate of Bates College, where he was a history major and arts editor for the student newspaper.

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