About Me

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Ice House

I’ve often thought in summer how great it would be if we could trap the cold air of winter, store it, and release it when needed during the sweltering hot days of July and August. The truth is that even before modern refrigeration and air conditioning, our ancestors found a way to do just that. It was called an “ice house.”

During the winter, blocks of ice were carved from frozen lakes and ponds. These were stacked and stored in sawdust and hay to be removed as needed in spring and summer, often the ice would remain frozen until the following winter. Not only would it be used in “ice boxes”, the predecessor to today’s Frigidaire, but it could be shaved or broken into smaller chunks to create cool summer drinks and desserts.

Rock Springs Park had an ice house which was at the northern end of the lake in the lower park. It was either a separate building next to the summer theater or may have been in or under it. While I’ve never seen any images of the ice house, it is most likely the building shown in this postcard to the left of the Bath House.
"In winter, the Bath House was heated and the lake was used for ice-skating. Blocks of ice were also cut from the lake and delivered by a long chute to the ice house. The ice was used to store perishable foods and to make frozen treats like ice cream and sorbet desserts." (Images, p. 39) 
Closer view of what may be the Ice House.

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