Summit Ski Tow
Jefferson, MA

Please note - this area is on private property - please respect the privacy of the owners and do not visit this lost area without permission, thank you.

Thanks to Laurie P, who first found the following information about the Summit Ski Tow:

I went to Holden, MA to do some ski research.  While in the library browsing microfilm of the local paper I stumbled upon this ad (on left). The librarian told me there was a street in Jefferson called Summit Street and that a horse farm and riding school is now located there.  She told me how to get there.  I got kicked out of the library at 4:00 because it was closing (small town library).  I went up the hill which was fairly steep to see if I could find any evidence of the ski area.  I asked one of the workers at the farm, but she told me I would have to talk to the owner and he was not there.

NELSAP recently wrote to and  heard back  from James Nawn, the son of the former owner/operator of the Summit Ski Tow. Here is what Mr. Nawn had to share with NELSAP.

    "Yes, your letter does bring back my old memories of our Summit Ski Tow Area, a true family project. Our ski tow was in operation in the years 1945 through 1955.  It was founded and constructed by my dad, William Nawn, Sr. and I at the time was a student at St. John's Prep and Georgetown University.  My dad operated the Eagle Lake House, a New England Country Hotel and tavern in the Jefferson Village of Holden.
    Dad owned 140 acres of land in Jefferson that had been in the Nawn family for one hundred years. His mother, Ella Nawn, operated a famous New England hotel, called The Summit House. It had 65 rooms and was destroyed by fire in 1917. Was never rebuilt. This land was vacant for many years. The land was set up on a steep hill.
    In 1945, he and I decided to construct a ski area.We had a 1000 foot long ski run and installed a rope tow. It was operated by  a power take off from a farm tractor rear wheel which we had on the property!
    We installed lights on the ski hill and tow for night skiing. It was popular. We also constructed a 100' x 40' ski lodge house. It had a large stone fireplace inside and the entire building was of field stone that came from our stone walls all over the land. The building had a flat roof. It was rustic and beautiful in Field Stone.
    We had a restaurant inside the building, bathrooms etc. 
    In the early years the cost for an all day ski ticket was ONE DOLLAR! After a few years the price went up to $2.50.
    We were open every night of the week and days on Saturday and Sunday. We would average 50 to 70 people on nights, and on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6pm 200 people would ski. Of course we had to depend on snow storms, we had no snowmaking equipment. We had a ski instructor and we rented ski equipment also.
    My mom Grace and my two younger brothers Bill and Paul also helped out with the operation. In 1950 my mom and dad built our new home on this property. My dad passed away in 1963 and my mom sold the property in 1967 to a Parker family, that at the present time still own the house there.
    Our house is still on the property as well as the beautiful Field Stone building with the big stone fireplace. The people may have added  a second story on the ski lodge's flat roof!"

Thank you Mr. Nawn!

Laurie also found out from the Holden Library that William Nawn was was aided by "Mitch" McLaughlin, an engineer at the Norton Company in Worcester.  Mr. McLaughlin later became one of the original pioneers up at Snow Valley Ski Area in Vermont. 

Here are some photos of the area courtesy of the Holden Library (thanks to Laurie for getting these).


The Summit House Hotel

Photo courtesy of Holden Library

Aerial view


Photo courtesy of  Holden Library

Laurie P heard from Amy Parker who lives where Summit Tow used to be.  She owns and operates Summitwynds Quarter Horse Farm together with Dick Atkins.  Summit comes from the name of their street and the fact that it is located on a hill where a ski resort once stood and Wynd, for the fact that it sure is windy there, year-round!
Amy had the following information and photos to share:
There is a barn here that was once the lodge.  My parents added the 2nd story to the barn in the mid to late 60's.  We re-sided and re-roofed it a couple years ago.  Not only is the fireplace still in half way decent shape, but there is an old painting on the wall that shows what was once the trails.We also have the same thing painted on a piece of plywood.  We have built a house where the rope tow used to be. That was taken down years ago. My father also did a lot of excavating for hay fields, so most of the trails are gone.

The actual ski slope before Amy's father excavated it.  The rope tow went down to those pine trees.   Then it splits into 2 more slopes.  These are shown on the map.

If you enlarge this picture by clicking on it you will notice Mt Wachusett in the background (just to the right of building), you can see Princeton Center if you look close (the white steeple shows some).

A recent picture of the fireplace that was part of the old ski lodge (now a barn). 

On the left hand side of this picture you can see the ski lodge before the 2nd story was added on.

This photos was probably taken in the 70s.  You can see the ticket booth to the right.  This was the actual main ski slope where the rope tow was. 



Here are two shots of the map.  One is on the wall of the barn and the other is painted on a piece of plywood. 
As of October, 2015, the ski lodge is being converted into a wedding venue by The Farm at SummitWynds. You can read more about it by visiting their Website.


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

Last updated: Dec 3, 2015

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