Cape Pond Ice in Gloucester, Essex County, United States | Consulting
Welcome to Cape Pond Ice, Gloucester, United States. Cape Pond Ice Company was started as Gloucester Co. in 1848 by blacksmith Nathaniel R. Webster, who recognized the need for supplying the fresh fish industry with a reliable, volume source of Ice. Prior to that time fish - primarily halibut & cod - was preserved by salting and brine. Webster dammed a local brook and built his first Ice house on what became known as Webster's Pond, today the site of Veteran's Memorial School and the Route 128 extension.
The Ice industry went through rapid growth, and within four years Webster built ice houses on Upper & Lower Day's Ponds, where Foster's Serv Station is located, and on Cape Pond in Rockport, which the company is still named after. Webster's son took over the Cape Ann Ice monopoly in 1858.
As the fisheries flourished in the years following the Civil War, so did the ice industry. After a lively period of "ice wars" when the two competing businesses reportedly sabotaged each other's winter harvests, in 1908 Cape Pond Ice and Fernwood Lake companies merged. By 1916, operated by James and Freeman Abbott, the company also had an house at Alton Bay, on Lake Winnipesaukee, NH, where ice could be brought to Gloucester by rail as an insurance policy against poor harvests during warm winters.
Cape Pond Historical PhotoThe industry employed large crews of men to harvest, store, and deliver ice around Cape Ann. In 1916, sixty (60) men were employed during the cutting season, with 20 teams and 5 automobile trucks. In addition to a large delivered household ice trade, the company continued to supply large quantities of ice to the Gloucester fisheries, and also to the summer hotels. The company's office was located at 105 ½ Main Street, Gloucester, where a display of modern, electric refrigerators soon replaced boxes. The 1925 Cape Pond Ice Co. annual outing at Centennial Grove in Essex was commemorated in a photograph with 45 men and boys, including many Aptts, Abbotts, Days, Tebos and other local Cape Ann family names.