Photo of the Week: Ice in Brooklyn

[Ice Delivery from the American Ice Company to Emmanuel House], ca. 1910, V1981.284.12; Emmanuel House lantern slide collection, ARC.136; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Ice Delivery from the American Ice Company to Emmanuel House], ca. 1910, V1981.284.12; Emmanuel House lantern slide collection, ARC.136; Brooklyn Historical Society.

The photo of the week depicts a horse-drawn wagon delivering ice from the American Ice Company to the Emmanuel House in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, sometime around 1910. On the back of the photograph, “Casper, Iceman” is handwritten to describe the person in the photograph.

It’s very exciting that we have a photograph documenting the ice trade in Brooklyn because it is a fascinating history. In the first half of the 19th century, a New England businessman Frederic Tudor developed a way to harvest ice from ponds and keep the ice cool enough to ship to places as far as India. This model involved cutting huge chunks of frozen ponds, packing them in sawdust, and shipping and delivering them locally and around the world. Ice barges would make stops at depots in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Yonkers where the ice would be cut into 25, 50, and 100 pound blocks. At that point, Icemen (like Casper pictured here), would deliver natural ice to home and business customers. This system remained unchanged until the industrial revolution introduced other methods of ice storage and delivery.

This photograph comes from the Emmanuel House lantern slide collection that contains 87 slides taken from around 1900 through 1914. The slides contain photographs of children at the Emmanuel House, their activities, and interior and exterior shots of the building. The Emmanuel House was a civic center and place of outreach run by the Young Men’s League of the Emmanuel Baptist Church, located in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. To see more photographs from this collection, check out this gallery.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. library@brooklynhistory.org

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  2. Pingback: Ice Delivered by Horse-Drawn Wagon | where2look4ancestors

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