Frozen In Time: Ice Skating On Lake George [VIDEO]
Video photo credits: Stearns History museum
ST. CLOUD -- Ice skating is a popular central Minnesota tradition that has been practiced at St. Cloud's Lake George since 1867.
The city would flood the entire lake and open it up to leisure skaters. It was a popular destination during St. Cloud's Winter Carnival which drew in skaters by the hundreds.
The Silver Skate Races were held on Lake George for years. Skaters would lap around the rink competing for bragging rights and the title of "fastest skater."
The first warming shelter was built in the 1930s with money from the Works Progress Administration. It was later torn down and replaced in the 1970s.
The Lake George Neighborhood Association along with other local businesses started collecting figure skates and hockey skates which they donated to the warming shelter.
Steve Krueger is a recreation programmer with the St. Cloud Parks and Recreation Department. He says many young kids utilize the rink.
"You see a lot of couples. Younger couples especially come in and go skating. A lot of kids--they find it still a fun activity," says Krueger.
The skates are free to use but range in various sizes. Krueger says they lack the larger sizes and smaller sizes.
Today, the city only floods half of the lake due to uneven freezing. Krueger says several years ago the parks department had equipment break through the ice--luckily no one was hurt. Since then, they continue to monitor and maintain the thickness of the ice and only operate on half of it.
The rink opened in mid-December this year due to the extreme cold temperatures. Krueger says there have been years where the rink didn't open until mid-January because of unusually mild temperatures.
The rink is open Monday through Friday and on weekends.