Learning to harvest ice the old-fashioned way
White Memorial Conservation Center wildlife biologist Jamie Fischer, above, led a program Saturday on the methods once employed to harvest ice from Bantam Lake. Fischer and participants made use of Ongley Pond at White Memorial and using old-fashioned saws and other tools to cut several blocks of 10-inch thick ice and stack them at the side of the pond.
Ice harvesting was big business on Bantam Lake before the dawn of refrigeration in the 1920s. Workers from ice companies spent winters harvesting ice that would be trasported by train to New York City, where it would be distributed. After a large ice storage building at the the north end of the lake burned down in the 1920s, the ice business ended. Remnants of the warehouse and other vestiges of the ice business can be seen on White Memorial property along the edge of the lake.