Spring 1932 -- Mary Aiken Drake donated a 400 acre tract of land to the City of Franklin in honor of her late husband, Dr. Ervin T. Drake. Named the Great Gains Forest, any cleared lumber was used for providing heating fuel for city dependents. Maintenance of the forest also provided work for the unemployed during the Great Depression.
1939 -- the Franklin Outing Club operated the Sunny Slopes Ski Area in nearby East Andover. The small rope tow area featured novice and intermediate terrain. Sunny Slopes operated into the 1950s.
Jan. 1960 -- The City of Franklin asked the US Army Corps of Engineers to construct a ski area in the Great Gains Forest. The site was selected on a tract of land adjacent to Flaghole Road in West Franklin.
Oct. 1960 -- Franklin City Council formally turned over the development of the Great Gains Ski Area to the Parks and Recreation Commission.
Dec. 1960 -- Many local volunteers and businesses were involved in carrying out the development of the ski area. It was managed by a committee headed by Ted Gilchrist and Dr. Robert Morin through the Parks and Recreation Commission. The first Rope Tow was installed, and trails were cut.
Jan. 1961-- The Franklin Outing Club was re-formed to assist the Recreation Commision in running the ski area. The Club's first executive board was: President - Ted Gilchrist; Vice-President - Dr. Robert Morin; Secretary - Beatrice Sokul; & Treasurer - Robert Mayo. The Outing Club’s ski patrol is formed. The first free ski lessons are provided to area children.
Jan. 1962 -- Great Gains Ski Area continued in operation for the second year.
March 1962 -- The ski area hosted the first Winter Carnival and officially opened as the Great Gains Ski Area. The Franklin City Council approved the paving of Flaghole Road.
April 1962 -- The Franklin City Council authorizes a $4,000 Veterans Memorial Fund to be used to construct a lodge at the ski area - dedicated to those who gave their lives in World War II and the Korean War. The area was to be known as the Veterans Memorial Recreation Area.
January 1963 -- A Bombardier Snow Tractor was purchased for the ski area. The F. O.C. Ski Patrol joins the National Ski Patrol.
September 1963 -- A Letter of Agreement was signed by the City of Franklin and the Franklin Outing Club, transferring the operations and facilities of the ski area to the Franklin Outing Club. A large Rope Tow & Tow House were constructed.
January 1964 -- The Veterans Memorial Recreation Area Lodge was dedicated. A bronze plaque listing those who gave their lives, in the service of their country, during World War II and the Korean War was hung over the fireplace of the Lodge.
1966 -- A porch was constructed on the Lodge.
1967 - Ken Larrivee served as Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission.The City & Club combined resources and purchased a T-Bar system from Mt. Sunapee Ski Area for $5,100. Installation was overseen by the lift's manufacturer - O.D. Hopkins Company and carried out with the help of volunteer labor. Total project cost - $7,780.
1970 -- Snowmobile trails were developed at Veterans Memorial Recreation Area. A maintenance garage was constructed at the base of The Hill.
1971 -- An addition to the Lodge was constructed ($2,000) and a well drilled ($l,200). Public Service of NH (now Eversource) was allowed access to the slopes to erect and maintain a utility tower.
1972 -- A public address system and new rope tow were purchased. A lighted skating pond was constructed. New trail were constructed.
1975 -- The City and the F.O.C. purchased a Thiokol Grooming Machine at a cost of $16,000 (plus trade in of an old Snowcat).
1978 -- New T's were purchased for the T-Bar system ($8,000).
1982 -- An alarm system was installed at the Lodge. Cross country ski trails were completed.
1984 -- The F.O.C. established the Martha Gilchrist Memorial Scholarship Fund. The parking lot was upgraded ($2,000).
1987 -- The City and F.O.C. authorized installation of an amateur radio repeater on top of The Hill.
1988 -- A deck for the Lodge was constructed (S3,000). The F.O.C. dedicated a new plaque in the Lodge memorialising Vietnam Veterans.
1991 -- A new kitchen was dedicated to Dr. Robert Morin (S2,500). A new cable was installed for the T-Bar system ($8,100).
1994 -- The Rope Tow's engine was repaired ($1,800)
More to be added soon...