Photo contributed by the Basket Historical Society.

When the county freezes over

Long before refrigerators and freezers were invented, people took advantage of nature to keep their food cold. Residents of the Hudson Valley depended on ice harvested from the Hudson River to stock their ice boxes.

In the 1800s —before the Hudson River became polluted—ice was cut from Kingston northward and transported to New York City, according to the Daily Freeman. Ice cutting was a much more precise process than it may seem—workmen only cut ice that was 10 inches or thicker, and the window of time during which ice could be harvested varied from year to year, dependent on the coldness of the winter. Fluctuations in temperature would cause freezes and thaws, leading to a lesser-quality ice.

As the cold sets in this winter, we may not be harvesting ice, but we can enjoy the beauty of our local bodies of water as they begin to freeze over.

The Basket Historical Society preserves and presents the history of the Upper Delaware area. If you are interested in becoming a member or finding out more contact us at


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