Winter Sports and Activities
Winter weather means winter sports and activities: skiing, ice racing, ice boating, sledding, ice hockey, and even snowball fights. Throughout the archival collections in The Henry Ford’s Benson Ford Research Center, images, brochures, pamphlets, and books shed light on the various activities people participate in during the cold months of the year. Below are some of the highlights from January’s virtual History Outside the Box, which was featured on The Henry Ford’s Instagram and Facebook Stories.
Winter morning at the corner of Canfield Avenue and Second Avenue in Detroit, Michigan, circa 1905 / THF110432
Grayling, Michigan, became a winter sports destination in the 1920s and 1930s, with toboggan runs, a hockey rink, and a ski jump dotting the landscape. A yearly carnival was held, with the crowning of a winter Sports Queen. This image shows the 1939 Winter Sports Queen, holding snowshoes, standing next to a Mercury V-8.
Grayling Winter Sports Queen with Mercury V-8, January 1939 / THF271673
Skiing, and ski jumping, have been popular in Iron Mountain, Michigan, for over 100 years.
8th Annual Kiwanis Ski Club Tournament, Iron Mountain, Michigan, February 1941 / THF272300
Ice skating has been a popular wintertime activity for over 150 years. And yes, even Henry Ford would get in on the fun.
Henry Ford ice skating, 1918 / THF97906
Henry Ford ice skating, 1918 / THF YouTube
Winter can also bring out your need for speed. Henry Ford and Bobby Unser both participated in ice racing over the years, with Henry setting a speed record in 1904 by going 91.37 mph on frozen Lake St. Clair.
Henry Ford and Spider Huff driving Arrow racer on Lake St. Clair, 1904 / THF128138
Bobby Unser ice racing in Canada, 1994 / THF224570
Bobby Unser displaying his tires for ice racing, 1994 / THF224568
Ice boating, or ice yachting, is another popular wintertime activity.
Ice yachting on Lake St. Clair, Michigan, circa 1900 / THF112620
Women with ice boat and a Ford Super Deluxe Fordor, February 1941 / THF272214
Amelia Earhart had some wintertime fun in this experimental ice glider.
Amelia Earhart in an experimental ice-glider at Wildwood Farm in Lake Orion, Michigan, March 1929 / THF255940
If ice hockey is your winter sport of choice, we have a collection of images of the Holzbaugh Ford hockey team in the collection, as well as images of some former NHLers who worked at Ford Motor Company in the 1940s.
1939–1940 Ford hockey team, sponsored by Germer-Kerrison, April 24, 1940 / THF271582
Bill Jennings played for Detroit and Boston in the NHL from 1940–1945. Seen here while working for Ford Motor Company in August 1944. / THF272268
Syd Howe spent 17 seasons in the NHL, playing for Ottawa, Philadelphia, Toronto, St. Louis, and Detroit. Seen here while working for Ford Motor Company in August 1944. / THF272270
Hector Kilrea played for Ottawa, Detroit, and Toronto during his 15-year NHL career. Seen here while working for Ford Motor Company in October 1946. / THF272284
Sledding is one of the most popular winter activities, and it’s even better to do with your friends.
Edsel Ford at the wheel of a Ford Model N with boys on sleds in tow, 1906. Definitely do not try this at home. / THF110977
Women sledding on “The Road of Tomorrow,” part of the Ford exposition at the New York World’s Fair, 1940 / THF217153
Another great neighborhood activity in the winter is a snowball fight.
Greenfield Village snowball fight, December 1935 / THF136143
Clara Ford throws a snowball, 1918 / THF YouTube
And when you’re done experiencing the great outdoors, there’s only one thing left to do—enjoy a nice cup of hot cocoa!
Advertisement for Swiss Miss instant cocoa mix, 1963 / THF131087
Archival materials showcased in History Outside the Box are available in the Benson Ford Research Center, with many also available in The Henry Ford’s Digital Collections. While the Reading Room is currently closed, requests for information can be submitted to email@example.com.
Janice Unger, Processing Archivist at The Henry Ford, presented January’s History Outside the Box via Instagram and Facebook Stories.
Michigan, History Outside the Box, photographs, archives, sports, winter, by Janice Unger