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Interpreting the Evidence

Ice Skating in Central Park, c. 1900

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Turn of the Century and WWI (1890 - 1930)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Lower Elementary
    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:


  • Primary Source Types:


  • Regions:

    New York City
    New York State

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Ice Skating in Central Park, c. 1900 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
Ice skaters in New York City's Central Park, circa 1900.
Historical Context
Ice skating began in Central Park when a portion of an unfinished lake was flooded and froze in December 1858.  Ice skating in the park became enormously popular and led to the development of skating clubs for the wealthy throughout the city.  Skating on Central Park Lake became the exercise for people who were not wealthy.
Essential Question
How does the existence of leisure time influence culture and economy?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and explain how leisure time changed the American culture and economy.
Historical Challenges
Draw a picture of what ice skates looked like in the early 1900s.
Interdisciplinary Connections
Science: How cold does it have to be for water to freeze into ice? Is there a difference between standing water and moving water?
English Language Arts: Create a magazine article describing ice skating, the new sports craze.
Art: Create a poster that informs the public about the safety issues of walking or skating on a frozen body of water.