Brown's Peak
Shrewsbury, MA

Please note this area is on private property, thank you.

Thanks to John Cahill, we now know of this interesting private area that operated in Shrewsbury! Here is his write up:

In 1957, Dr. Donald Brown and his wife Mary purchased a falling down 1724 era farmhouse that crowned the summit of 55 acres of hillside on High St. hill, in Shrewsbury, MA.  The Browns moved into a temporary shelter on the property (along with their then 5 children, all under the age of 6), and began the work of restoring the farmhouse.

By 1961 the family was settled and growing.  Dr. Brown somehow managed to find the time outside of family and his medical practice to layout and begin building a small ski area on the acreage below their home.

Traveling around central Massachusetts on weekends, often with several kids in tow, Dr. Brown acquired a half dozen used telephone poles and a supply of Nash Rambler wheels and hubs.  After erecting this gear and adding rope and an 18 Horse Kohler engine, the Browns now had a 350 foot rope tow that served 4 trails with 240 vertical feet.

Rounding out the “Peak’s” equipment was an old Bombardier SW48 single track snocat to pack and shape up the natural snowfall.

The skiing hill opened to family and friends during the winter of 1962 / 63 with skiing on trails such as Bunny’s run, “Deer Run” and “Jaws of Death”.  Those brave enough to take on “Jaws” and make it to the bottom intact were presented with a “Brown’s Peak” patch.

A patch of Brown's Peak, from John Cahill.

(An aerial view of the area, showing the farmhouse at the tope of the hill, and the ski trails below it).

The tow lasted for about 6 seasons before the romance of endlessly splicing the heavy rope lost its appeal.  Eventually the Bombardier took on this duty, pulling skiers back up the hill from ropes dragged behind the machine.

The Brown family operated the area for family and friends, and entertained a small stream of curious skiers, who could see the hill from the summit of the nearby Ward Hill ski area.  Even today the Brown family farmhouse can be viewed clearly and in stark relieve from the top of Ski Ward.

My good friend Jim Brown -the youngest of the Brown children- was born after his dad had the hill up and running and learned to ski in his own backyard.  The ski area was never a commercial venture, but seems to be a true historical artifact of the golden years of American skiing.  The family continued to the hill until 1979.  By then the older children were off to college and the younger ones were exploring the bigger challenges of Vermont and New Hampshire.

The old Kohler engine sits in the basement of the farmhouse gathering dust, alongside the Dr.’s 203cm “Head Dots” and leather ski boots.



If you have more information on this area just let us know.

Last updated: Jan 10, 2008

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