Fifties          

The 35th Street Hill Gang


The "Hill" was very steep and three blocks long, and covered with snow and kids. Every imaginable material was used to make sleds, but one of the best, was the galvanize lid off from a 55-gallon garbage can. You had to knock the handle off the lid, and then you would have a fasts uncontrollable sled.

The ultimate ride came out, after the younger kids went home for the night. You could hear it coming down the street, being towed behind a car, a ten by twenty-foot piece of sheet metal. Someone would find a section of a billboard lying on the ground, O! Yea, thatís the truth, and they would bring it down to the hill. We would put the painted side down on the snow, then round the edges, the best as we could.

Twenty teenagers would get on the sheet metal, and about five other teenagers would start pushing them over the hill, once the sheet started gaining speed, those pushing would jump on. There was no way to control the direction of the sheet metal.

Most of the time, it headed towards the kids walking up the hill. If you happen to be one of the kids, the only thing you could do, was jump on the pile, already sitting on the sheet.

The ratio was, for every one person that jumped on the sheet; five kids would be knocked off. It was very rare, if the twenty kids, who started on the sheet, at the top of the hill, would still be on it, by the time it reached the bottom.

Once in a while the sheet hit a bare spot, it would stop, but the twenty to thirty kids on the metal sheet would continue rolling down the hill, but in a matter of minutes there would be another twenty kids back on the sheet. There were a couple of times over the years, that there would be two metal sheets on the hill at the same time.

What would start off as a race between the two sheets, ended up, both groups of kids jumping back and forth on sheet metal, trying knocking off as many kids as you could. It was a lot of fun.

After factÖThe hill is still used today, but itís a little shorter, due to the city putting in a viewpoint, about half way down the hill.


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