Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2007 Old Ice Houses along the river Previous Next
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Long_in_the_tooth
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Username: Long_in_the_tooth

Post Number: 31
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 8:43 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Anyone have information on these warehouses. My
great grandfather worked at them. He was Irish and his wife was French. They were some where around
the Chene park area I believe.
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Keystone
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Username: Keystone

Post Number: 245
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 9:27 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The Marquette Building, on the corner of Washington and Congress, was originally built as an ice plant and cold storage building. The entire west half of the building was for massive boilers, refrigeration machinery, etc. The east half was the 'ice house'. It was in operation from around 1904 - 1917, at which time it was converted to an office building.
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Bob_cosgrove
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Username: Bob_cosgrove

Post Number: 492
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 9:37 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

In the 1890's and before and probably later there were ice houses at the foot of Burns Drive where The Whittier apartment hotel has been since the mid-1920's. Ice was cut on the portion of the Detroit River between the mainland and Belle Isle.

Bob Cosgrove
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Psip
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Username: Psip

Post Number: 1719
Registered: 04-2005
Posted on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 10:02 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ice harvesting was a big business on Belle Isle.

Ice 1


Ice 3


Ice 4

What appears to be the interior of an ice house.

Ive 2


VMC WSU
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Psip
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Username: Psip

Post Number: 1720
Registered: 04-2005
Posted on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 10:17 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

forgot one
Cutting the ice, (not sure if this is in Detroit)

Ice 5


VMC WSU
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Craggy
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Username: Craggy

Post Number: 249
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 10:21 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

That looks like a crappy job.
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Bulletmagnet
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Username: Bulletmagnet

Post Number: 185
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 10:27 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There was an ice house in the rear of the Sheldon Estate on Lake Shore Dr. in GPF. The walls were about a foot thick with sawdust as insulation, much like your 4th photo. The ice was harvested and hauled up from the lake out front. The house is gone and the estate is now Briarwood Pl. I will try to locate photos.

(Message edited by Bulletmagnet on April 02, 2007)
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Psip
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Username: Psip

Post Number: 1721
Registered: 04-2005
Posted on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 10:31 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Free home delivery by Absopure:

Del 1

is that a young Jjaba looking on?

This IS hard work!

Del 2

VMC WSU
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Blueidone
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Username: Blueidone

Post Number: 20
Registered: 03-2007
Posted on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 10:52 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Please forgive my lack of knowledge...but could someone please explain to me how they kept these blocks of ice from melting once they were harvested. And also..how did they have ice in the summer? And thanks for the great pictures..and the education!
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Lowell
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Username: Lowell

Post Number: 3760
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 11:22 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It is sometime startling to realize there was a lengthy non-electrical refrigeration era base on ice with regularized delivery to houses.

One of the luxury items that greeted the first dwellers of my Highland Park house in 1913 was a built in ice box. Outlined in the picture below, it jutted out 3 feet from the door wall. The arrow points to the handle of the ice door. The ice box had long been gutted when I got the house but it was conveniently big enough to fit a 13 cu ft refrigerator.


ice box


The house also had that other little door that was standard on early 20th C houses, the coal chute.
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Psip
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Username: Psip

Post Number: 1722
Registered: 04-2005
Posted on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 11:32 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It wasn't until the 1930s that safe refrigeration systems were developed. Previous mechanical systems used Refrigerants like sulfur dioxide and methylchloride that were causing people to die. Ammonia had an equally serious toxic effect if it leaked. Frigidaire discovered a new class of synthetic refrigerants called halocarbons or CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) in 1928.

An interesting page about the history of refrigeration can be found here.
http://www.history-magazine.co m/refrig.html

Thanks Lowell, I wondered what those large doors were for.
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Lowell
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Username: Lowell

Post Number: 3761
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 11:36 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Blueidone, I long had that curiosity too. Then one day my father casually mentioned that ice if packed together and blanketed will last all summer and he used to do it. His family had a business on Bois Blanc Island [the big one next to Mackinac] servicing summer tourists who came up to summer homes from Detroit and Chicago in the Great Lakes steamer days.

One of their services was ice which they sawed out from the Straits in the winter, stored in an ice house and delivered in the summer. They insulated it with sawdust which was abundant as the island had recently been 'harvested'.
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Blueidone
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Username: Blueidone

Post Number: 23
Registered: 03-2007
Posted on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 11:39 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thank you for the information. I can't express how much I enjoy "Discuss Detroit" I have learned so much in the very short time I've been looking on!
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Livernoisyard
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Username: Livernoisyard

Post Number: 2943
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 11:40 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ice harvesting continued through the 1930s. This type of ice fishing didn't require a license.

Later mechanical ice was produced and sold in blocks and delivered to homes up to about 1950--often by horse wagons in/near the inner cities of the Midwest.
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Psip
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Username: Psip

Post Number: 1723
Registered: 04-2005
Posted on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 11:44 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The 1918 Book of Knowledge (Ice Harvesting)
http://www.iceharvestingusa.co m/1918bookofknowledge/1918book ofknowledge.html

More then you want to know about Ice Harvesting and storage
http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ny /county/allegany/Ice%20Harvest ing%20&%20History/Ice%20-%20HO ME%20PAGE.htm
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Lowell
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Username: Lowell

Post Number: 3762
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 11:51 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Nice finds Psip. I always wondered about the process of using sawdust. I never got that part of the story. But, wonder of wonders that the web is, there it is:

"Before the ice is put into the ice house the floor is covered with several inches of sawdust, then a layer of ice is put on the sawdust with the blocks about six inches from the side and an inch space between each block. Then an inch or two of sawdust is used to cover the first layer of ice and so on for each subsequent layer of ice until the building is filled. Then the top layer is covered with six or more inches of sawdust to keep the heat from penetrating the ice and thawing it. When some ice is removed, the remainder is carefully covered."
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Bob_cosgrove
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Username: Bob_cosgrove

Post Number: 493
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 12:24 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


Detroit Publlishing Company Ice Harvesting possibly the Detroit River


As already mentioned the ice houses such as those on the foot of Burns Drive (today's The Whittier apartment hotel) were insulated with sawdust in their walls as well as between the layers of ice to keep them from sticking together.

Ice is still available today in up to 200 lbs. or more blocks. Some of the Canadian National pasenger cars in the Royal Oak and Saginaw (car shops) based Bluewater Michigan Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society are ice air conditioned. Despite the heavy handling - you slide the 200 lb. blocks from the ice company delivery truck into the bunkers underneath the cars on long 2x6 inch boards carried on the truck.

One advantage of ice-activated railroad cars over mechanical refrigeration is the only thing that can fail is the blower motor, but not the cooling mechanism.

One thing I've wondered about, is all the photos I've seen of ice houses they're covered with black tar paper on the outside - see the photo above. I wonder why black, since that color absorbs heat from the sun versus a light reflective color. Who knows the answer?

Bob Cosgrove
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Psip
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Username: Psip

Post Number: 1725
Registered: 04-2005
Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 12:40 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Bob, this is only a guess, I would suspect it was to keep rain water out. Water causes the ice to melt especially if its warm summer rain. Perhaps the tar paper was white washed? That would keep the heat from building up. That could be slopped on and was cheep.
In one photo in the above links, it looked like one of the building was white.
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Livernoisyard
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Username: Livernoisyard

Post Number: 2946
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 12:47 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Those buildings were often only opened in the cooler times of the day. Madison shipped much of its ice by rail to St. Louis--which paid top dollar for it. Those cars were insulated well and got speedy handling by the railroads.

The wyes off the Michigan Line at Schaefer had ice houses (and coal dumps), and there was another railroad ice house not far from the former Schaefer tower.
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Harsensis
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Username: Harsensis

Post Number: 217
Registered: 07-2005
Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 12:56 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

A little farther north on Lake St Clair, past Fairhaven on Anchor Bay you can see a bunch of pilings from an old ice house that was over the water. You can see them in the water just before you get to Palms Road. FarEastsider, do you have any pics of that?
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Bob_cosgrove
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Username: Bob_cosgrove

Post Number: 497
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 1:19 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'm not sure, but I believe the light colored buildings on the right are not ice storage houses, but the end of the one with the black roof on the left appears to be - I'm judging manly by size, but I have other photos of the ice houses on what is now the Whittier and they are definitely all black and quite large.

Bob Cosgrove
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Bob_cosgrove
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Username: Bob_cosgrove

Post Number: 498
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 1:21 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Regarding ice doors on homes, don't all homes have them? - Mine does.

Bob Cosgrove - Indian Village 1905 Albert Kahn designed home
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Rhymeswithrawk
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Username: Rhymeswithrawk

Post Number: 615
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 3:32 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Holy crap, Bob. You live in a Kahn home?!
What's the address, if you don't mind me asking. I'd love to drive by it.
I've seen Kahn's homes in Boston-Edison, but I didn't know he had any in I.V. (not that I'm surprised, of course).
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Bob_cosgrove
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Username: Bob_cosgrove

Post Number: 499
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 1:50 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Kahn designed 18 homes in Indian Village and the old Liggett School, now The Detroit Waldorf School, at 2555 Burns.

Among the Kahn homes, on Burns are: 996,1007,
Iroquois: 1037, 1040,1410, 1411, 1424, 1453, 1597,1762, 1783,
Seminole: 1022, 1032 1042, 1059, 1091,3000.

That totals only 17, since Lewis Henry Jones c.1932 dismantled his Kahn home at 8191 East Jefferson on the northwest corner of Seminole and re-erected it at 41 Provencal in Grosse Pointe Farms. This was the Junior League of Detroit Show House several years ago.

Be sure to attend the Historic Indian Village Home & Garden Tour on June 2nd.

Bob Cosgrove
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Jjaba
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Username: Jjaba

Post Number: 5157
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 6:43 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The owner of 714 Parker claims she lives in a Kahn-designed house. Can Bob Cosgrove confirm please?

jjaba, has been in the house.
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Jjaba
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Username: Jjaba

Post Number: 5158
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 6:46 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Psip, that IS jjaba looking up at the ice wagon but he forgets the corner. Can you ID the location, gimme your 10-20?

jjaba, Proudly Westside.
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Bob_cosgrove
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Username: Bob_cosgrove

Post Number: 503
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 10:09 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Jjaba,

Since 714 Parker is outside Indian Village (West Village), I don't have building permit data on it. You can get that from the City of Detroit, but unlike when we developed the Indian Village (Burns, Iroquois & Seminole between East Jefferson and Mack) some 30 years ago, I blieve there is a charge for it now and not an inexpensive one - correct me if you find I'm wrong on this.

Often, but not so in the case of Albert Kahn, the homeowner, builder or developer took out the building permit. It's not impossible to find out who the architect was, if any, by going to The Detroit News and other the daily newspapers about the time the building permit would have been taken out, since the artilces on the house were sometimes in the architecture section.

Another source would be the Albert Kahn archives that have been at The University of Michigan Bentley Library for about 6 or 7 years.

Bob Cosgrove
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Jjaba
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Username: Jjaba

Post Number: 5163
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - 12:40 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks for the answer Bob. jjaba forgot that said house was Indian Village adjacent.

Another question: Did they repair the Cadillac coach drop at the DHSM?

jjaba.

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