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Ice House, 1889 - Simsbury

IcehouseIce houses large and small were common sights in the 1800s. They stored big blocks of ice cut from rivers or lakes. Carefully cut and packed with sawdust or straw, ice blocks could remain frozen a full year or longer. Ice harvesting was a traditional rural activity and a big business.

Ice blocks were used in insulated “ice boxes” to keep food cool at home. Dairy farmers used ice to keep butter, cheese and milk fresh for market. Chipped ice was served in drinks or used to make ice cream. Feverish patients were made more comfortable with cool, damp cloths.

This ice house was built in 1889 for Lemuel S. Ellsworth who lived at 740 Hopmeadow Street here in Simsbury. Ice blocks cut from a man-made pond on East Weatogue Street filled this ice house. More than 40 tons of ice were stored here every winter!

The ice house was acquired by the Simsbury Historical Society and moved to its present location in 1969.




Simsbury Historical Society
800 Hopmeadow Street
Simsbury, CT 06070