Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ice Supply,Source and Storage in the early days

This Blog is from E.R. McQuitty's stories at the 1955 Diamond Jubilee Celebration for Rich Hill
Ice Supply,Source and Storage in the early days
The ice supply for Rich Hill in the early days came from the rivers and lakes in the vicinity. This was long before the artificial method of producing the product was established in this section. The ice harvest was a busy time and gave employment to a large force of men for weeks each winter. That portion used for household purposes, pure and crystal clear, was obtained at the nearby rivers, while that for cooling usages came from lakes and ponds. There were three large storage building in the town, each with a capacity sufficient to take care of hundreds of tons. Krieger and Klumpp perhaps had the largest building lo­cated at the corner of Myrtle and Sixth streets. J. C. Skaags was next with a huge building on South Ninth Street and Rudolph Kunz and Sons located on North Fifth at Cedar Street.
The ice, after having been sawed into huge blocks, was brought in by wagon train, sometimes twenty wag­ons in close procession. Each block or cake of ice weighed near three hundred pounds, so nine blocks taxed a wagon to capacity. It was a cold job for the drivers. With twenty degrees below zero, and clad in the heaviest clothing with gunny sacks wrapped about their boots, they were forced to walk behind their wagons, which afforded some pro­tection from the cutting sleet and snow and biting winds. Generally the roads were packed deep with frozen snow and ice and the screech of the moving wagons could be heard for a mile or more. And, after all this, some people complained of the payment of a nickel for a twenty pound hunk when the summer's sun was scorching at 100.

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