looking back

The olden days of ice harvesting

By Ann O'hara
Posted 11/11/20

Once a vital activity on Wayne County farms, ice harvesting became, in time, a major industry.  In its early years, the abundance of lakes made it relatively easy for individual farms or groups …

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looking back

The olden days of ice harvesting

Posted

Once a vital activity on Wayne County farms, ice harvesting became, in time, a major industry.  In its early years, the abundance of lakes made it relatively easy for individual farms or groups to cut and preserve enough ice for their personal use. After the advent of railroads, however, the ice was needed to get dairy products to market, and finally, the ice itself became a product in demand in the cities. 

Major ice-cutting operations grew up in Orson, Lake Ariel, Gouldsboro, Belmont, Lake Ladore and other locations near lakes and railroads. Production reached a peak at 1,260 tons of ice in 1934. The Wayne Ice Company on Fair Avenue in Honesdale was built in 1938, but the final Wayne County ice harvest was recorded 15 years later in 1953 when it had become more practical to make ice by electricity rather than in cold Wayne County winters. 

Photos are courtesy of the Wayne County Historical Society. Due to the pandemic, the Wayne County Historical Society has canceled regular hours. However, visitors are invited to call 570/253-3240 or email wchs@ptd.net to schedule a special appointment.

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