Airdate: Feb 12, 2009
Scientist: Katie Akin
Tully Ice Harvest: History
These days, if you want ice, you just go to the freezer and get it. But some folks remember when ice was delivered door to door in huge blocks.
Tully Ice Harvest - History
Music; Ambience: Slushy chopping, Ice chopping
These days, if you want to keep something cold you just open your freezer. But it used to be that if you wanted a block of ice, you had to chop it out of a frozen lake. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. We're listening to the sound of ice being cut out of Green Lake, near Tully, New York, where they have an Ice Harvest Festival every February. Eleanor Preston is president of the Tully Area Historical Society. She remembers when folks kept their perishable food in a wooden ice box, cooled by big blocks of ice that were delivered house to house.
"The ice box was always in the back room. And one of the big jobs that you had as a kid, you had to empty the pan at the bottom where the ice melted."
Eleanor Preston says the Tully region used to supply ice to other areas of the state.
"Ice was cut for a number of years and stored in six different ice houses in Tully, and were shipped to New York City and various other points for use."
The Tully Valley was an ideal place to harvest ice, thanks to cold winters and a number of "glacial potholes" -- lakes formed when chunks of a glacier broke off and melted. Back when ice was an industry here in Tully, horse-drawn plows would be used to clear snow off the lake and etch grooves in the ice. But sometimes, the ice wasn't thick enough to support the horse.
"There were records of horses falling through and after the horse was brought out, someone had to walk the horse for a period of time so that the horse didn't catch pneumonia. They had to walk them until they dried off. Unfortunately, back in the old days, someone usually had a few spirits around to keep everybody warm, and the -walker sometimes wasn't walking quite straight."
Please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.