& Company


An Anthology of Ice-Box Stories

by Matthew-Daniel Stremba

An Introduction

Our local scorchers (''local'' here means Greater Baltimore, a term which embraces the town of Washington and settlements sprawling on both sides of the Potomac)—local scorchers have long been a-building a terrible glory for themselves.

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August 1918 Letter to Ernest Boyd
from Henry Louis Mencken

. . . Tell Mrs. Boyd that Baltimore has lately broken all weather records. On Monday of this week the official temperature was 105.4 degrees Fahrenheit—almost unbearable. I couldn't do a stroke of work for two days—and I am almost a salamander. My hide is burned and smarting.

August 1928 Letter to Lillian Gish
from Henry Louis Mencken

. . . The weather . . . here has been appalling. Since June 15th, . . . I have seen but five comfortable days. That is nearly two months of solid heat, including many days of 95 degrees and above. It may be, as I hear, that the end of the world is at hand. If so, I can only say that my conscience is clear. . . . Last week a man here smuggled in a whole barrel of Pilsner. [Prohibition still prevailing at this time. MDS] What an evening! But only one!

[The New Mencken Letters,edited by Carl Bode, 1977,
p. 90, p. 226]

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At home, before electrification of the district, Mencken worked summer nights by the only light available: a blazing hissing gaslight. Imagine this workaholic at his desk by an open window looking out on Union Square for the least breeze and finding none.

Even earlier, the 1830s, Edgar Allan Poe Himself, in a tight black suit, sweated our climate while taking up quarters in the Clemm household. No wonder his masterpieces were created elsewhere. And years before, when John Adams came through as first resident of the new presidential mansion down the road, he knew this region for what it was—a hell of a summer.

Aristocrat, bourgeois, and peasant—for all there was equal opportunity to suffer our scorchers. Except the better off you were, the better fan you had in hand to stir the air before your face—not just one of those mortician promotions, i.e. a piece of illustrated cardstock stapled to a throat-examination stick. And if you were really well off, you might have some winter ice squirreled away in a special cellar out at your summer place where you sipped cool mint juleps. Poor Poe, going into an ordinary saloon one hazy July afternoon, would get to quaff a warm draft in an unchilled mug. By the time Mencken came of age over a half century later, however, he could depend on the ice-man's daily delivery in which to nest some bottles for later gratification.

The ice-man and the marketing of ice. Way before global warming was named, our forebears could no longer take the heat. Just how long after the Civil War was it that Baltimore saloons were routinely serving cold drafts? Let a thorough teetotaler, the daughter of one of this city's finest families, give us a clue.

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Excerpt from Chips From The Chisel,
an autobiography by Grace Turnbull

All during our youth drinking was on the increase and a drunken man on the street quite a common sight, so when in 1895 Father read to us of a Sunday afternoon (a little habit that he had) an account of an ice-water fountain that had been set in the outer wall of a building in some city or other to tempt the intemperate, I immediately resolved to install one in Baltimore.

[Her father, though a teetotaler himself and a Presbyterian to boot, seems to have been an exceptional human being. MDS]

I was fourteen at the time and my whole worldly fortune . . . was a bank account of forty dollars. This sum in my Father's sympathetic hands became mysteriously magnified to cover the cost of the bronze plaque with spigot and basin, the installation and connecting plumbing.

[Chips From The Chisel, Pratt Library, MD Section, XNB 237 . T8 A3.]

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Grace's father was Lawrence Turnbull, an attorney, real estate developer (the nine houses that comprise the odd-side of John Street's 1200 block were his project in 1881), and a patron of the arts (Sidney Lanier and Lizette Woodworth Reese were just two of many writers who enjoyed his favor; he was also the force behind a literary journal, and a university lecture series). But of chief importance to us here, as we prepare for the coming of another Baltimore summer, is validating the pleasure we take in a cool draught, validating it with the knowledge that preceding generations, at least by the 1890s, were also able to raise to their lips something much cooler than the ambient temperature. I infer this from Grace's bold plan to replace one cold drink (i.e. beer) with another (i.e. water)—for free.

Wood's City Directory listing for City Ice, Baltimore, MD, 1912
In 1875, Wood's City Directory listed only seven Baltimore businesses under the category of ''ice depots.'' In 1876, six. In 1877, five. In the 1912 telephone business directory under ''ice,'' City Ice, above, was among 80-some other vendors, but was the only ice company with a display ad.

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More chips from Grace Turnbull's autobiography

The place chosen [to install a public chilled water fountain] was down near the docks in the wall of the WCTU [Women's Christian Temperance Union] building which was directly opposite one of the worst saloons in town.
The Organization agreed to keep the fountain supplied with ice. . .

Not long after . . . the SUN published a picture of a stream of drays and trucks lined up near it while their drivers awaited their turn for a drink. Across the street, in the doorway of his deserted den, scowled the frustrated keeper of the saloon!

[Hard to believe free ice water lured away the bar's entire clientele. Could Baltimore draft beer still have been at room temps in 1900? MDS]

When the Great Fire [1904] . . . consumed a square mile of downtown Baltimore both buildings were destroyed. . . .

[i.e. the nasty saloon and the WCTU. Even-handed disaster? MDS]

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Born in 1880, Grace, a sculptor of some renown, died Dec 29, 1976. In that one life were many Baltimore summers made bearable by the ice-man.

And so we propose to keep ourselves cool this summer, reading and re-reading more memories of ice-boxes and stuff, collected here. Much cheaper than A/C.

Some Acknowledgements

Several friends kind of har-har-har'd when I asked what they remembered about the ice-box. One Guy, older than I, actually claimed never to have lived with one. Uh-huh. Two others just a tad younger managed a gentle poke in my ribs, contrasting their thoroughly constant experience of all the benefits of electrification (or so their Story goes) against my childhood memories not just of ice-men and ice-boxes, but also of other deliveries from horse-drawn wagons.

Humorously underscoring how ''behind the times'' my community must've been, Patti H. cited this do-you-know: ''Around 1913 electric refrigerators started to be mass-produced. Aggressive sales tactics by the refrigerator companies contributed to the gradual demise of the icebox.''

Hah! That demise was gradual, all right—spread itself across 40-45 more years. I remember not just a wooden ice-box in our kitchen, but also, later, a white Coolerator, looking quite like a refrigerator—which was a step up—though it was nothing more than a sleeker ice-box.

1929 phone book listing for Baltimore, MD, ice distributors
The business pages of the 1929 telephone book list about a hundred Baltimore ice distributors, but only four bought display ads.

Friends with a somewhat keener appreciation of old technologies can actually count the ice-boxes they knew.

Dennis Pannacci wrote: ''We had two iceboxes in our pantry, between the garage and kitchen. We also had a refrigerator with the motor on top; however, my grandmother always wanted those iceboxes with ice melting away in them. Actually,'' he concedes, ''the ice lasted a long time because the pantry had stone and concrete walls and floor.''

Mike Franch doesn't admit to having directly experienced the ice-box, but, agreeable with my hyphenation of the term, he bears witness to somebody else's ice-box.

''When I was a kid, living at 812 Claim Street in Aurora, Illinois, down the street from the Thor Power Tool Company, there was a family two doors down (I suppose at 808), who still had an ice-box that required the delivery of ice. I remember the ice man (no hyphen) coming, with a truck full of ice blocks.''

Then Franch gleefully leaps into the next time-warp with: ''Ice cube trays are a whole other area of reminiscence of individuals of a certain age. Remember the ones with the levers on top? One had to take them out of the tiny freezer, run hot water on them to loosen things up, then yank on the lever and hope one got cubes instead of shattered shards of ice.''

You'll note, below, other contributions with, variously, ice man, iceman, ice-man, and more. Basically, a liquid state of affairs.

Edna Heatherington describes her own experience with ice-boxes as ''limited,'' yet she doesn't omit disclosing there being somewhere ''a photograph of me as a toddler sitting in the cool of the ice box pan. That must have been in the heat of a Denver summer, probably the summer of 1939 or 1940, before we moved to California. . . .''

Edna in the Icebox, drawing by MD Stremba, 2006
DON'T FEAR FOR THE CHILD in the ice-box! The original photo lost, this is only our imagining the scene—so a good parent is certainly in the kitchen, ''off-camera'' snapping the shot and assuring the child's safety. Sketch reserves this space till the day the real pic is located.

Later, Edna continues, in California—''a little town called Atascadero in the Salinas valley just over the hill (a big hill called the Cuesta Grade) from San Luis Obispo''—she remembers that, early on, ''we always had a refrigerator. However, when we moved in 1946 to the house where one of my brothers still lives with his family, in San Diego, the ice man still came down the unpaved street in a wagon, and our neighbors put a card in their front window if they needed ice.''

Oh, for one of those window cards now as useless as a slide-rule. Dennis in Pennsylvania says: ''I think I still have an ice card you would put in your window showing the pounds of ice you were ordering. The iceman would then haul in [just what you wanted]. . . .''

I'll bet just gazing at one of those antiquities—turned up, say, to display an order for 100 lbs—could cool off a suffering Baltimorean. Here's a web-page that displays four old ice-cards.

Image-to-Image Leaps

And if the thought of an old ice-box itself doesn't affect your personal climate for the better, it may just start a train of other images rolling.

One day in an e-mail circulating to several friends, Bob M. mentioned, off-hand, being distracted from his sore knee by ''a mouse behind the icebox—'refrigerator' to you younger folk,'' he added.

Bob's ''icebox'' triggered in Ed a ''little reminiscence,'' which I found delightful and expect to be even more so in warmer weather.

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Magnolia Avenue
by Ed Hodges

When I was young and being reared in the south, my grandmother, who lived on Magnolia Avenue, took me to church (Episcopal) nearly every Sunday. After, we would go back to her house for breakfast. Sometimes we would march around the dining room table singing ''Onward Christian Soldiers.'' After breakfast I would walk down the street to visit my great aunts and great uncle who lived in a large house on the same street. They had a wide front porch where, in the summer, we would sit drinking Coca-Colas through paper straws. The colas were stored on their small back kitchen-porch in an ICEBOX.

Those sisters were a trip. They were among about 11 siblings. The four I knew best (another aunt lived a few blocks away) had a total of 3 children. Several of them never married. Several had no children at all. I guess the large-family concept didn't take.

My grandmother was always called "Hun", or so I always spelled it on my Christmas cards to her. I didn't know the etymology of the name—her given name was Atala. I now suppose it was actually "Hon", short for "honey". However, my sister has pointed out that it could be said our grandfather, a professional Shriner, might have been quietly amused at the thought that he had created "Atala the hun". But if so, only wryly, she was so sweet.

[© copyright 2006, Edward Hodges]

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1941 yellow pages ad for C. Hoffberger, ice vendor, Baltimore, MD
Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company's 1941 yellow pages still list many ice vendors. Odd that, in some cases, your ice supplier was also your coal merchant. Only two of the display ads this year include more complex design.

For Polly, too, the subject stirred up images linked for her alone. She writes: ''. . . the icebox, and our home on Falls Road Terrace, is associated with an incredible time in the Fleming household other than Ma chipping bits off the ice for using in cocktails; Pa's halcyon days on The Sun; his sister Joyce and her girls living with us—evacuated from London in wartime; our wonderful 'mammy-cum-housekeeper' Lula; her cousin Mother Cotton, who together with assorted relatives made our clothes; her niece Elnora, who told us children frightening stories when taking us for walks; going to RPCS [Roland Park Country School], and being treated to ice-cream cones with gumdrops in the bottom, all that...before Pa decided that money was not everything and our adventures began.''

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The House in the Woods
by Polly Wharram

  • Black widow spiders nesting
  • in the fireplace, telltale
  • red hourglass on their bellies;
  • snakes occasionally slithering
  • down the drainpipe into the living room
  • scurrying from Ma's broomstick;
  • cellar colony of frogs croaking,
  • caroling up through the heating grill
  • consternating visitors;
  • skunk cabbage stinking,
  • growing by the stream
  • fording the half-mile driveway;
  • family sitting around the dining table
  • playing cards—black jack and red-dog;
  • sometimes propping the old twenty-two
  • on a sawhorse for target practice,
  • using a life size cut-out
  • of the midget from Philip Morris
  • cigarette advertisements;
  • then, leaving the riddled midget
  • propped against a tree,
  • forsaking furniture and books,
  • decamping with the current dog,
  • and the cat with the run-over tail;
  • moving to follow
  • Pa's dream of
  • making ceramic jewelry . . . .

[© copyright 2006, Polly Wharram]

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Edna's ice-box recollections prompted yet other nifty California memories. ''The milkman visited our house, and periodically the citrus man came by in a pickup truck with crates of oranges and grapefruits. . . . Orange crates used to be double square compartments of rough wood, which made admirable shelves and other furniture. My desk until I moved away to college was two orange crates with a smooth wood top.''

The clutter, the clutter. What to hold onto? What to let go?

Like so many of us, Dennis reconsiders: ''I remember how glad I was to see those iceboxes go. My recollection of them is they were a mess. Later I began to see some that had been refinished into some sort of decorative object. They were oak. They had some value, so I regretted we sent ours off with the trash man.''

Two True Stories

Now, the ice-man (Franch and I part company on the hyphen here) wasn't anyone I really knew. Nor, apparently did Mike. Or Edna. Or Polly. Or Ed. But Dennis, up in Clearfield County, PA—not only did he know where the ice came from—''The ice plant was across the street from my house and about two lots north''—but also this: ''A great uncle of mine owned it.''

And then we have this astounding tale from down in Texas.

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The Ice-man Runneth
by Forrest Hall

My father was an ice-man. That is, he owned an ice plant that made the ice he delivered in large, crystal clear cubes to his customers. He was proud of his perfect, bubble free blocks. Each large cube he delivered, he set inside a zinc-lined box in the top tier of his customer's oak ice-boxes. The food was kept in a compartment below so the cold air from the large cube could settle and keep things cold until the next delivery.

I still have the belt buckle he wore with his uniform. The buckle has an ice tong on it with his initials and the date 1930. He told me the following story.

My dad lived a few blocks from his modest ice plant in the small town of Weslaco, Texas. I have pictures of him in his uniform, standing by his ice truck, one foot on its running board.

In those days, the refrigeration unit making ice used ammonia rather than freon as a refrigerant. A piston driven compressor compressed the ammonia, which when expanded through an expansion valve created the below-zero temperatures needed to freeze water into the large ice cubes he delivered.

One night dad woke from a dead sleep to hear a distant, muffled pounding and throbbing. At first he didn't recognize the sound. But listening for a while it dawned on him that the rhythm was the same as the compressor at his plant. This realization brought him fully awake to the fear that the pounding might be coming from the compressor piston working against too much back pressure.

It must be, he thought, that the relief valve, which releases small amounts of ammonia when the pressure exceeds dangerous limits, might have frozen shut from the expanding ammonia.

The pounding gradually grew louder, and if indeed it could be heard blocks away, the problem could be deadly serious. If the system were to blow under high pressure, a huge cloud of very poisonous ammonia would have been released into the small town with disastrous consequences.

Leaping from his bed—as he told it to me—he raced in his pajamas and bare feet through the streets toward the plant. The closer he got, the louder the pounding became. When he reached the plant, afraid for the town and for himself, he ran inside to the deafening sound of the compressor driven against its dangerously high load. The compressor was rocking precariously on its mountings. Things were about to blow.

Stumbling through the dim light in the plant he was able to find and throw the main switch providing electricity to the compressor motor. The motor lurched to a stop. The silence that followed was filled by the apprehension that things could still blow at any moment. Finding a bucket, dad filled it with warm water, and standing next to the relief valve, praying the pipes would hold, poured warm water on the frozen mass about the relief valve until it was able to allow the ammonia gradually to bleed off.

[© copyright 2006, Forrest G. Hall]

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Now that's a story with white heat building up to the end sentence, then its last dozen words pouring cool relief over the reader.

Forrest Hall's father, drawing, MD Stremba, 2005
Alas, the photos that are lost, but, thank heavens, not all the memories. The sketch above reserves this spot in case Forrest ever locates that missing snapshot of his dad.

Then there's the ice-man who's simply an ice-man, not a plant owner, not a supervisor. And now—a story of one such individual. Not a plot trembling with emergency. The focus here is on a kind of character you might find in a crisp bright poem.

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Uncle Chester
by Laurel Mendes

For a long time, ice was vital to each home ice-box
where it preserved food and milk. My Great Uncle Chester
spent his life delivering this ice. He'd collect his favorite
baked bean sandwich and leave for work, where
he'd hook his ice tongs into a block of ice, and
it would slide out of the truck.
He'd lug the heavy load into the housewife's kitchen ice-box,
and to other places where it was needed, like
grocery stores.

Some years after Uncle Chester retired, his wife got
an ice-making refrigerator. Now,
an ice-making refrigerator is
not quiet about it. When the ice tray gets empty,
it automatically makes cubes, and then
clunk, clunk clunk,
it drops the ice into the tray.

Uncle Chester would get his baked bean sandwich
and watch the refrigerator. When he heard the clunk,
he'd quick—grab the door—and hold it open and
watch to see if he could catch the icemaker making the ice.

Uncle Chester thought the ice maker was cool.

[© copyright 2006, Laurel Mendes]

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I'm grateful to Mike Franch for getting Ms. Mendes' permission to include her Uncle Chester in this surviving-the-summer anthology. This piece was originally part of a winter festival service at Baltimore's First Unitarian near the end of 2005. The service was called "Ice: A Transformation of Substance," which Mike took pains to point out had nothing to do with Catholic transubstantiation.

Notes for a Term Paper

Becky Clark is herself also not of an age to ''have any memories [of ice-boxes in operation] except stories that my sisters told.'' She continues: ''I only remember the ice box after it was moved to the woodshed to hold paint and chains and rope.'' But she brought me substantive information about ice-harvesting that once went on in a big way right smack in the middle of an important spot in her own history. The Pocono mountains.

Before there were ice-plants such as Uncle Chester worked from, or like the one across the street from Dennis's childhood home, or the one that almost blew up but for Forrest's father's quick action—before manufactured ice, Baltimore's saloons and all New York City's ''refrigerators'' used ice that had been quarried out of frozen lakes and ponds.

The lake in the Poconos near which Becky's family maintained a summer place is but one of six there, all man-made. The largest frozen-water concern there, Mountain Ice Company, owned 18,000 acres of the Poconos, shipping its harvest mainly to New York City by rail.

A handsome coffee-table book in Becky's possession quotes one Nelson Miller, an icehouse employee of the early 1930s: ''An inch of ice [after a winter freeze] would hold a horse.'' The book gives quite a picture of a major industry.

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An excerpt from Pocono Lake Preserve:
A Centennial History 1904-2004

Men drilled boreholes to confirm the horse-holding thickness. Horses, shod with spikes, cleared the snow and then ''plowed'' the ice with metal saws (tractors were used after 1919). With a spud-bar, men pushed the floes through water canals. . . . [that] had to be kept from freezing on some cold nights. In the canals the floes were separated into individual cakes of ice thirty-two inches by twenty-two by fourteen inches deep, weighing three hundred pounds. In an elaborate shuffleboard, workers pushed the cakes up a steam-driven escalator and into the ice-houses. Switchers and placers hooked the ice into one of the six rooms in the Pocono Lake ice houses, where it was covered with sawdust and marsh hay. [More on ice-houses below. MDS] Each room held twenty thousand tons of ice. Chunk boys took away the scrap ice. In the twenties the men working on the ice at Pocono Lake were paid thirty cents an hour; switchers and placers earned thirty-five cents.

[ISBN 0-9755733-0-6, © copyright 2004 by Pocono Lake Preserve, p. 26]

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Nelson Miller called that ''a good day's work.'' He worked as ''a placer for a couple of winters and you had to stand up all day hooking those cakes. You did that all day. And they gave us one hot meal at noontime.''

An old photo showing ice workers and horses at the edge of ice, shoving lengths of ice free into a water channel displays this caption: ''Ice Industry. Pocono Lake had been created by the Mountain Ice Company in 1900 as an industrial enterprise. Cakes of ice were cut by horse-drawn plows. Men who fell in, if saved, got the rest of the day off, and walked home. Horses had to be shot.'' [p. 98]

The risk of horses sliding through the ice may prompt any folkies among you to remember a song, the words of which I just learned of, thanks again to Mike Franch, who heard Barbara Svoboda sing it.

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Excerpts from an old song
Tickle Cove Pond


  • Lay hold William Oldford, lay hold William White
  • Lay hold of the cordage and pull all your might
  • Lay hold of the bowline and pull all you can
  • And give me a lift for poor Kit on the pond
  • I knew that the ice became weaker each day
  • But still took the risk and kept haulin away
  • One evening in April bound home with a load
  • the mare showed some halting against the ice road
  • and knew more than I did as matters turned out
  • And lucky for me had I joined her in doubt
  • She turned round her head and with tears in her eyes
  • As if she were sayin "You're risking our lives"
  • All this I ignored with a whip handle blow
  • For man is too stupid dumb creatures to know
  • The very next minute the pond gave a sigh
  • and down to our necks went poor Kitty and I
  • . . . . . .
  • I raised an alarm you could hear for a mile
  • and neighbors turned up in a very short while
  • You can always rely on the Oldfords and Whites
  • To render assistance in all your bad plights
  • . . . . . .
  • When the bowline was fastened around the mare's breast
  • William White for a shanty song made a request
  • There was no time for thinkin no time for delay
  • Straight from his head came this song right away
  • Lay hold William Oldford, lay hold William White
  • Lay hold of the cordage and pull all your might
  • Lay hold of the bowline and pull all you can
  • And give me a lift for poor Kit on the pond

[A song popular in Newfoundland]

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Harvesting ice in order to cope with summer heat goes way back—back into the ancient world. But it became big business much later with one Frederic Tudor of Boston, the Ice King. There's even a recent book about him, The Frozen Water Trade, which I learned about from a Cecil Adams piece that I would've missed completely but for Edna Heatherington's sharp eye and sharp scissors.

Tudor set out as early as 1806, harvesting and shipping New England winter ice, but real success didn't come till some years later. Horses scoring a frozen surface with a blade-plow; insulated ice-boxes to keep the ice whole for as long as possible; even the need and longing for ice-cold drinks—all these developments are credited to Tudor's enterprise. By the 1830s he had business operations in a number of cities in the American South, in Havana, and was shipping to the West Indies, and even as far as Calcutta!

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The Straight Dope, March 15, 2006
by Cecil Adams

What kept ice frozen was its sheer bulk: the more that could be tightly packed together, the longer it would stay cold. . . . Icehouses, where stock could be stored year-round, had double insulated walls separated by an insulator such as sawdust. An opening at the top vented the latent heat released by melting; water drained at the bottom lest it hasten thawing. Even so, the melt loss was huge—[Nathaniel] Wyeth [Tudor's business associate] guessed that in the early days 90 percent of the ice harvest disappeared before it could be sold. Better transportation, notably railroads, reduced losses, but even as of 1879, when the annual harvest was upward of 8 million tons, about 3 million turned to water before it could reach market.


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The 'escalator' & ice house on Pocono Lake
Note the ''escalator''—ramp, the height of the storage buildings. This view from an old unattributed photo adorns the December page of the 2004 Pocono Lake Preserve Centennial Calendar, which Becky Clark made available.

While we're getting a handle on the chronology—from ice-harvesting as big business, then to ice-manufacturing, then, finally, to refrigeration as we know it—let me insert another date. 1870. Simon Winchester, in his Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883, notes the construction of ''an iceworks'' that year in Batavia!!! (That's not some godforsaken suburb alongside Pulaski Highway.)

Till 1870 Dutch colonists had to wait for ice ships from—from where? —you guessed it: Boston. Probably one of Mr. Tudor's ships had been supplying an essential ingredient of the good life there in Sumatra and Java. After the start up of a plant manufacturing frozen water, ''they could be content with the knowledge that . . . [a] host could simply send out for more ice and it would be there, available for delivery, fresh and dripping cold, every day of every following year.'' [p. 144] [Again, thanks to Edna for bringing my attention to this page.]

Makes you wonder when the first ''iceworks'' came to be built in the USA. Cecil Adams points to the ''unpredictability of natural ice'' as well as water pollution making scarcer ''suitable supplies'' as factors in the development of ''mechanical methods . . . to make ice and refrigerate shipments,'' which, he says, was mainly in swing by WWI.

The End

In 1992, my Barbara was posted to tropical Trinidad, where we lived until 1994. Those torrid years were actually good, thanks in no small part to their local beer, Carib (''A beer is a Carib!''), which was always served ice-ice-cold—coldest beer I've ever drunk anywhere.

''Wasn't Trinidad once a British colony?'' I used to ask as I felt their beer chill my steaming body. The Brits are notorious for foolishly drinking their ales at room temps. So, how'd the Trinis get so unBritish? Their judges wear wigs. School kids take A-levels. Some Trinis actually subvert their lovely Caribbean talk to sound more like some Oxford grad. But, to a man, if the beer hadn't been on ice long enough for a real near-freeze, Trinis will pour one over a glass of ice!

A Trini's demand for a cold-cold one—could it all have started with that Yankee ice-man in the early 19th century shipping his New England winter south, persuading those innocent colonial subjects they had yet another basic need? Just like we've all succumbed to being sold on ''needs'' our fathers and mothers never knew—needs for central air, for telephones as tiny as deer ticks, for cable TV, TIVO, DSL, MP3, SUVs, vacations overseas?

When you get hot an' sweaty, come on back, y' hear? And bring a six-pack of stories with you. Or if you're empty-handed and feeling seriously empty-headed, drop by one boy's ice-box story retold countless times since the 1940s.

Display ad for Independent Ice Co. in Baltimore, MD, yellow pages, 1941
One of only two display ads of more complex design in Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company's 1941 yellow pages.

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