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Go back in time with ice harvesting on Nashawannuck Pond

  • <br/><br/>GORDON DANIELS<br/>Andrew Stuart and Amy Davis, owners of New City Scenic & Display in the Eastworks
  • <br/><br/>CHARLES ABEL<br/>Nashawannuck Pond in Easthampton is not safe to go out on the ice.

In winter, Nashawannuck Pond serves as skating rink, ice fishing site or just a picturesque landscape in the downtown. But a century ago, the pond was a source of industry.

“Nashawannuck Pond was really prominent in the ice harvesting business way back,” said Paul Nowak, chairman of the Nashawannuck Pond Steering Committee. “They stored the ice in an ice house off of Water Street and ... delivered it by horse and cart to everyone in Easthampton who had an ice box.”

The committee, with support from the Easthampton Cultural Council, is inviting the public to a “Historical Ice Harvest on Nashawannuck Pond,” a free event at the pond Saturday from noon to 3 p.m., held in conjunction with the annual Fire and Ice Art Walk.

West Springfield historian Denis Picard will lead the event, describing the ice-cutting industry in Easthampton in the late 19th and early 20th centuries while he cuts blocks of pond ice with antique tools. Although the city does not endorse anyone being on the ice for safety reasons, members of the public can try their hands at cutting ice at their own risk, or just watch from the observation deck at the edge of the pond, said committee member Elizabeth Provo.

In case of thin ice or inclement weather, Picard will do the demonstration at Popcorn Noir on Cottage Street.

Besides the ice harvesting event, the Fire and Ice Art Walk Saturday will feature luminaries and a bonfire at the pond at 5 p.m., poetry readings at storefronts and galleries around Easthampton from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., and Easthampton-themed valentine-making for children at the Old Town Hall.

Visit www.artwalkeasthampton.com or www.nashawannuckpond.org for details about the events.

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Annual honors

The Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce honored business people from Fleury Lumber, Easthampton Savings Bank and the Nash Gallery at its annual awards dinner Jan. 24 at the Southampton Country Club.

Easthampton Savings Bank President and CEO William S. Hogan Jr., who has said he plans to retire before the end of the year, won the President’s Award.

“It was a pretty easy selection for me based on his contributions not just to Easthampton, but also to Southampton and Westhampton and the Pioneer Valley in general,” Chamber President Patrick Brough said of Hogan, who he said supports the arts and other causes and has served on volunteer boards from Easthampton to Boston.

Chamber members voted Marlies Stoddard, owner of the Nash Gallery on Cottage Street, the Business Person of the Year. “Marlies does so many things throughout the community the people don’t know about; from simple things like decorating the fence around Nashawannuck Pond ... to being a champion of Art Walk from the very beginning,” Brough said.

The Business of the Year award went to Fleury Lumber, a 64-year-old Main Street lumberyard owned by David Fagnand. “The award goes to the business that really goes above and beyond and gives back to the community. Fleury Lumber does it quietly,” Brough said.

Fagnand is involved in the city’s Little League and his business supports a number of local causes, Brough said.

He said the recipient of the Community Service award, Easthampton Savings Bank Senior Vice President Thomas W. Brown, has been involved in the School Committee and Rotary Club and never turns down a chance to help out.

“For our community clean-up day, we start at 5 a.m., and he’s out there every year with us without batting an eye,” Brough said.

•••

Democrats caucus

Delegates to the Massachusetts Democratic Party’s 2013 Platform Convention will be elected at a caucus open to all registered Easthampton Democrats Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Public Safety Complex at 32 Payson Ave.

“At our 2013 convention, the delegates selected by Easthampton Democrats will debate and adopt our platform for the next four years, catch up and network with other organizers around the commonwealth and hear from some exciting future leaders of our party,” Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair John Walsh said in a press release.

The Easthampton Democratic Caucus will elect 10 delegates and 3 alternates, equally divided between men and women, who will attend the state convention. Qualifying candidates may also apply to be add-on delegates in three categories: youth, minority and disabled.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

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