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Ice Harvesting on Clarks Pond

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Before Refrigerators Were Electric

Just about everyone owned an ice box. To keep them running cool required large blocks of ice. Consequently, a number of ice harvesting operations ran diligently throughout the winter to stockpile enough ice to keep the delivery drivers busy until next winter rolled around.

To help supply the greater Portland area, the Portland Sebago Ice Company harvested impressive amounts of ice every winter from Clark’s Pond. The ice house was a famous local landmark year round. Some South Portland residents can still remember sliding down the ice chute for a thrilling summer ride and subsequent splashdown into the then very swimmable pond.

The giant ice house seen the the movie above burned down in the 1950s, about a decade after the film was taken. The electric refrigerator had become a household staple by then, and the demand for harvested ice blocks melted away.

Discerning hikers will discover part of the foundation of the ice house just off the Clark’s Pond Trail (opposite the point of Parker’s Island on the southern shore). Just down slope of the trail is one of the cornerstones of the ice house, appropriately shaped just like one of the old ice blocks that were harvested here.