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The Old Ice House


Posted By: JCGS Volunteer
Date: 4/27/2022 at 09:26:35

The Old Ice House
By Bill Cox
I have no exact dates, but approximately around the year 1914, a large barn-like structure was built on the west side of the old ice pond, located just south of what is now the Harry Pieper residence. This property is just south of the cemetery, and the old ice house was built just across the road, east of the now Paul Bogard residence.
The pond is still there, but over the passing years, has filled in, leaving only a small amount of stagnant water on the west side. But at the above time mentioned, the pond was quite deep, around 13 to 15 ft. in most parts, covering an area of about 1 ľ acres. It was fed by numerous springs, and a creek that emptied into it, made this pond and location ideal for ice making.
Winter months saw much work activity, men with ice saws, cutting ice for storage for the hot summer months ahead. The workers, usually six, would saw a length of ice about thirty foot long and about eighteen inches in width. The long ice chunk would then float free. They then proceeded to cut the ice in 25, 50, 75 lbs. each. The ice chunks were then loaded on flat board surface, with steel runners. A horse would then pull the load to the ice house.
A board chute was constructed about 3 ft. high. The ice was then put in this chute, and would slide freely to men waiting below in the building with ice tongs. A thick layer of saw dust was put on the floor, and the ice chunks packed in neat rows, on top of this sawdust. Now another thick layer of saw dust was packed on top of the ice. This made the ice air proof and insured it to stay frozen until needed for summer month sales.
The old Sunnybrook coal mine, south of the pond, emptied its sulphur water into the creek that flowed into the pond. After many attempts to side this water away from the pong, with little or no success, made the pond useless for ice making.
About 1924 artificial ice making was started at this location. This way of ice making was not only more economical, but also saved a lot of hard work.
What year ice making was terminated at this location I donít know. But the late Jack Graham operated an ice delivery service for many years, up at least into the mid-fifties. He then operated a small artificial ice making business at his residence for a number of years.
Source: The Jasper County Tribune (Colfax, IA); Thursday, March 26, 1981, page 8


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