PHOTOS: The Great Miami River was a frozen playground for hundreds of ice skaters in 1901

This week’s bitter temperatures have us thinking about the cold and moments of frigid temperatures throughout history.

Looking through our archives, we discovered there was once a time when it was common for the Great Miami River to freeze and become a winter playground for Daytonians.

Ice skating on Dayton’s frozen rivers was a favorite pastime in the early 1900s. Thankfully today, we have Riverscape.

A series of photographs taken in 1901 capture the frozen Great Miami River near the Main Street bridge covered with gliding ice skaters and horses pulling sleighs.

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The images are part of the Dayton Metro Library’s photo collection, which notes the river was frozen a foot thick the day they were taken.

The frozen rivers also provided a venue for games of hockey and speed races.

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A Dayton Daily News story published Jan. 6, 1920 called for racers to compete on a river course between the Helena Street Bridge and the Steele Dam.

“At this place there is a stretch of from 250 to 300 yards of good ice and the surface will be gotten in good shape for the contests,” the newspaper reported.

Medals, donated by the local newspapers, were awarded to winners in the “the dashes” and the two and three-mile races.

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