Frank Kilmer's Tow
Grafton, MA

History ~ Memories


Thanks to George Abbott, we first heard of this lost area in Grafton. We then heard from Frank Hubbard, whose grandfather was Frank Kilmer, and shared with us his memories and photos of the area. This was a small, all natural rope tow ski area that was mostly private, but eventually the public did use it. Here's the story from Frank. For all photos, click on the image for the larger version.

My name is Frank Hubbard and I have lots to share about Frank Kilmer's Tow in Grafton Mass.

Frank Kilmer was my grandfather and the tow was on his one hundred acre estate. My father Andy Hubbard actually created the hill with some help from his buddies. They put a 20 horsepower Briggs and Stratton motor on a toboggan so they could move it in and out of seasonal storage. They mounted car rims onto the tops 4" X 4" X 10' poles and spaced them up the hill about every 20 yards. The Grafton Fire Department donated a very long rope (200 Yards) which my dad ran along the car hubs. He even rigged a kill switch at the top in case any one got caught up in the rope.

(Left - the portable engine for the rope tow was mounted on a toboggan and could be moved for seasonal storage. The sign on the post reads: All persons using these facilities do so at their own risk.)

Here, Andy Hubbard, the father of Frank Hubbard stands next to the engine for the rope tow.

The hill was about one hundred yards long and a great place to learn how to ski. The hill was open for about ten years between 1951 and 1961. The hill originally was open to family and friends, but as you would expect we found ourselves with more friends each ski season.

(Left, a view of the rope tow and open slope. Not very long, but lots of fun!

There was a green cabin (pictured on the right with my father Andy and mother Hope) with an old Franklin stove to heat up lunch and dry out wet gloves. My brother Andy, sister Jane and I all learned how to ski on that little hill.


Dad (on the left with my mother) was a ski instructor to the troops in WWII. I still have my dads sweater from Norway and it is as good as new. My sister Jane grew up to be a great ski instructor in Mammoth California. I still ski at 60 and my kids snow board. Skiing is truly one of the great family life styles. We all have many wonderful memories of skiing together.

If any one remembers the hill, I'd love to hear from you. I can be reached at

Additional Photos from Frank Hubbard:

This is a picture is my sister Jane holding her English Cocker "Little Miss Muffet" at the ski area.

Looking down on our little green ski cabin in the fall of 1950.
This a look down from the top of the hill to the farm house.


George Abbott: Another ski area was on the property of Frank Kilmer on Meadowbrook road. I am not sure about the date because it was before anyone in my family skied. It was a rope tow that I was told was "Portable". The site is now a paved road to the top of private property.

John Taylor: My memories of Kilmer's Farm are fewer, though I do remember that my brother broke his leg skiing there.  I don't remember actually skiing there but, instead using the hill as a toboggan run.  Perhaps the lift was not running anymore at that time.

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

Last updated: July 24, 2008

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