Wickham Park
East Hartford and Mancester

Jan 31, 1965-At least late 1960's

Thanks to a great article about NELSAP in the Hartford Courant by Peter Marteka, we've received some information via email about the Wickham Park Ski Tow that straddled the East Hartford/Manchester town line. Milan Macko, former President of the Jaycess, submitted an article on the founding of the tow after reading that article, which had some great information on the tow. It was written by Maurice A. Belanger, and was published Feb 4, 1965 in the East Hartford Gazette.

According to the article, the East Hartford Jaycess opened the area on Jan 31, 1965. The project was co-chaired by Dick Moir and Barry Lamson. The idea was originally thought of by the Jaycees in 1964, and they had a contractor estimate it would cost $4,000 to build a rope tow. This was too much for the  Jaycees, who only had $100 to work with. 

They sought out to build the tow on their own, buying a used truck for $75, with the engine refurbished in Barry's garage. The rope itself cost $285 for 2500' of length, paid for by trustee Mr. Pazanson. The Hartford Electric Company donated 16 light poles, which were assembled every 100 feet on the slope for the tow.

Throughout October and November 1964, the pulleys for the tow were installed. The tow was spliced, and the area opened on Jan 31, 1965. The total cost for the area was $600, but couldn't have been accomplished without the dedication of the Jaycees.

Unfortunately, we do not know when the tow closed.

The dedication of the tow, Jan 31, 1965. 
Picture from article by Mr. Belanger in the East Hartford Gazette.

Here is what some folks had to say about Wickham Park.

Max: The top of the slope was in Manchester and the bottom in East Hartford.   The top was at the old cabin and the bottom ended near Marco Polo's on Burnside Avenue.  For years we would sled or toboggan, at night. Then the towns had a great idea...a rope tow.  It was an old tractor or vehicle engine running rope over telephone poles, adorned with wheel rims.  I believe, as in many deals, the two towns couldn't reach a monetary equity. And since Manchester already had Mount Nebo, Wickham was taken apart. I think insurance fit in the scenario also.

S. Wilson: I enjoyed Peter Marteka's article on your search for lost ski areas.  I believe in the late '60's there was a small ski operation at Wickham Park on the East Hartford/Manchester line in Connecticut. Not being a skier I never visited it, but I believe there was some type of rope tow to the top of the hill.

B. Melusky: Wickham Park (Manchester/East Hartford) had a single rope tow in the 60's. It must have been a challenge, as the hill was also used by sleds and toboggans.

Does anybody else have any more information?

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