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Looking back

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Ice harvesting was a winter activity from the very early days of Wayne County. Lakes, ponds and even rivers froze solid in the winter months, and the ice was cut and saved in ice houses for use over the hot summer. With the advent of railroads, however, ice harvesting in some areas became a business, shipping tons of pure Wayne County ice to New York, New Jersey and elsewhere, as well as supplying ice for refrigerated rail cars. Ice harvesting was “big business” in areas like Starrucca, Lake Ariel, Bunnell’s Pond, Lake Ladore (shown), Gouldsboro and Belmont in Mount Pleasant Township. The ice had to be at least a foot deep; working with ice could be dangerous. In 1921 there was a triple drowning on the Paupack River. In 1932, an artificial ice plant was built at Lake Henry that produced 1,280 ice cakes, each weighing 320 pounds, each day. Natural harvesting continued well into the 1930s, and the last ice harvest was recorded in 1953.

From the files of the Wayne County Historical Society. The museum and library are open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

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