On Thin Ice: A 1932 Drowning on the Spuyen Duyvil

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Firemen and rescue workers search icy inlet in Inwood Hill Park for bodies after tragic skating accident on Christmas Eve of 1932. (Photo from collection of Cole Thompson)
Firemen and rescue workers search icy inlet in Inwood Hill Park for bodies after tragic skating accident on Christmas Eve of 1932. (Photo from collection of Cole Thompson)

On Christmas Eve of 1932 some thirty children were skating and sliding on the frozen inlet at the base of Inwood Hill when the ice gave way.

Photograph of the 1932 accident site taken on Feb. 20, 2015.
Photograph of the 1932 accident site taken on Feb. 20, 2015.

Noemie Kennedy, who curated a Native American museum from a cabin near the water’s edge, told reporters that the kids had told her of their plan to play on the ice.  She told them the idea was dangerous, but they failed to heed her warning.

Marie Noemie Boulerease Constantine Kennedy.  Photographed in Inwood Hill Park.
Marie Noemie Boulerease Constantine Kennedy. Photographed in Inwood Hill Park.

Naomie watched helplessly as child after child tumbled into the freezing water.

Niagara Falls Gazette, December 24, 1932.
Niagara Falls Gazette, December 24, 1932.

Had police and volunteers not quickly responded to the scene the loss of life might have devastated the Inwood community.  Despite the rescuers brave efforts, ten-year old James “Red” McGuire, who lived in 10 Cooper Street and attended nearby Good Shepherd School, drowned in the accident.

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