By David O. Heishman –
Sis, my sister, Eleanor Heishman, is a history buff. She is particularly interested in anything to do with the old iron industry in our part of the country. The other day she visited the site of an old iron furnace and forge on Middle Road below Lebanon Church in Virginia. She came home with a description of an old building she found there that folks claim was an ice house.
Discussion of her adventure got me thinking about my ice house, here behind Big House. It’s not real old, yet left over from the days before refrigerators and freezers. I still have my Grandmother Heishman’s wooden ice box in good condition. A precursor of modern refrigerators, it has thick insulated walls and a drainage system to expel runoff from melted ice blocks.
Ice blocks came to it by way of the ice house. Ours was built with a basement of concrete floor and walls. A floor drain carried ice melt under the floor, out under the door, into a trough. That trough served as large cooler for such as dairy milk cans, crocks of butter etc. A small drain carried off excess melt to building’s outside.