A tradition, frozen in ice

Posted Feb. 05, 2013, at 5:38 a.m.
Last modified Feb. 06, 2013, at 10:33 p.m.

PIERCE POND TOWNSHIP, Maine — The ice harvest used to be an important event for the camps and communities of Maine. After the invention of the refrigerator, harvesting ice from frozen ponds became obsolete.

Gary Cobb, however, thought the novelty of harvesting ice for his camp on Pierce Pond was worth the extra work. The camps have been in his family since the 1950s and cutting ice was restarted as a tradition in the mid-1970s.

According to Cobb, the guests at the Pierce Pond Camps like the fact that their ice for warm summer days was cut right from the pond. A dedicated and regular group of people — some guides and friends — come each year for a few hours of hard work to fill up the ice house. The harvest this year was conducted on a clear, sunny day with crisp 10-degree air.

The ice house was pronounced full after 195 blocks of ice — each weighing roughly 140 pounds — was buried in snow and sawdust.