By Sara Ann Hutto ’17

In 1977, the Southeast was experiencing its coldest winter since 1900, and Clemson was covered in a sheet of ice. Shortly after the return from winter break, it got so cold that the reflection pond in front of Cooper Library froze over. It wasn’t long before students began to pull on ice skates.
This excerpt from the 1977 TAPS paints a picture of the scene: “The common noise and color from the fountains of the library reflection pool fell victim to the zero degree weather. Several ice skating enthusiasts — students and teachers alike — tested the strength of the glazed pool, only to be joined by hundreds of others eager to experience the effect of the frozen pool.”
According to the yearbook, the University fire department would “[turn] their hoses on the ‘skating rink’ in an attempt to smooth the ice” each night.

“The reflection pond provided entertainment for those with and without skates.”

Alan Godfrey ’80 remembers the whole event, including how the “fire department would spray water on [the pond] every night to make it thicker. My high school buddy and I went to Greenville and went halvers on a pair of skates.” Other students got creative and made their own frozen surfaces by pouring trash cans full of water out of their dorm windows, creating icy slides on many of Clemson’s grassy hills. Lunch trays disappeared from dining halls in droves for a run down those slopes.
After all the shenanigans, the winter wonderland ended on a humorous note: According to TAPS, “The reflection pond provided entertainment for those with and without skates. Several curious students found themselves in the chilly waters as the temperatures rose at the end of the week.”

Sara Ann Hutto ’17 is the assistant editor of Clemson World.