The Ice Man, Dale Baad

    The Ice Man

By Dale Baad ”Every day in summer, Milo Hardin made his rounds filling the ice-boxes of the residents of Colon, from his horse drawn wagon. He loaded at his ice-house, located on the south end of Elm Street, from his supply of natural ice harvested the previous winter from Palmer Lake. If there was a deep accumulation of snow on the ice, the iceman plowed off the snow over the area needed to fill the icehouse. Filling the icehouse was always the subject of worry and anticipation, would there be good ice and when? When the actual harvest began, the first job was marking the surface with a horse drawn marker, a heavy timber with 4 or 6 legs having metal spikes on their bottom end that made scratches on the ice to guide the sawers in cutting “cakes” approximately 15 X 30 inches and as thick as possible .. preferably 12 to 15 inches. Three or more men using hand powered “icesaws” cut the cakes along the previously marked lines. More men steered the floating cakes, with pike poles, to the conveyor that led to the icehouse where a pair of ice tongs attached to a rope pulled them into the house .. to be piled up. A space about 24 inches wide around the inside of the ice house was filled with sawdust .. the insulation to keep the ice for summer use. After the “village ice” was harvested, there were several private icehouses often filled by the same crew.