19th century

04/02/2010 - 9:53am

The inhabitants of early Fredericksburg enjoyed a cool drink during the hot summer months, just as we do today -- hence the massive excavations referred to as ice houses. These brick-lined, wood-floored structures were generally 15 to 20 feet in depth and 12 to 15 feet in diameter.

Dairy products, meats, and other perishables had to be kept cool, and what better way to do it than to cut the ice from the Rappahannock or a local pond during January, store it in a circular, subterranean cavity, cover it with straw, and preserve it for the warm months ahead.

03/16/2010 - 10:04am

This account has been compiled from the Free Lance newspaper of Fredericksburg, Virginia, October 16, 1894 through September 27, 1895, by Robert A. Hodge.

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