Harvesting Ice The Old Fashioned Way

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COOLBAUGH TOWNSHIP -- Folks celebrated the way ice cubes were made more than a century ago in Monroe County.

Ice cubes are the things that float in your soda glass keeping it refreshingly cool. One hundred years ago, ice cubes first bobbed on the surface of a pond before finding their way to your icebox.

"Back in the Great Depression, it was the second largest employer in the U.S. The average American citizen consumes 715 pounds of ice per year. So, it's just huge,” said John Stratman of West Chester.

The ice industry thrived back then near Tobyhanna and it's celebrated here each year when Millpond is frozen over.

"People don't realize that back before you went to the refrigerator and pushed a button to get ice, there was a long process to get ice,” said Bill Leonard of Tobyhanna. “Before electric refrigerators, ice had to come off ponds like this, natural ice."

Harvesting the ice is a process. A power saw cuts through first. Then, the team uses hand saws to break off the giant ice cubes. Horses help haul the cubes up a conveyor belt and into the ice house.

Leonard added, “This was a way of life back in those days and it's good, the kids come out, grab a saw, and get some good hard work in."

The old way of life was revived back in the 90's. Now, it is a tradition for families in Monroe County and beyond.