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Monhegan Museum

Ice Cutting on Monhegan Island

For over 100 years, ice was harvested from the Ice Pond on Monhegan. The ice was used to preserve the fish caught by the island fishermen and to keep food fresh in the ice boxes of the island inns and homes. In the late 1940s, over 275 tons of ice were cut per year and stored in sawdust in the ice house. By 1966, only 60 tons of ice were harvested as gas refrigeration was widely available. Ice was cut for the last time in 1972.

  • 1.

    Summer and Fall

    Summer and Fall

    Summer and fall preparation for the ice harvest.

  • 2.

    The Ramp

    The Ramp

    Each year the ramp was set up before the ice was cut.

  • 3.

    Marking-off, grooving, and cutting

    Marking-off, grooving, and cutting

    Once the ice was determined to be at least 14 inches thick, it was time to cut the ice.

  • 4.

    Storing the Ice for Summer

    Storing the Ice for Summer

    The ice was used in summer months to preserve food.

  • 5.

    Ice Delivery

    Ice Delivery

    The Monhegan Store owned the ice cutting business and delivered ice to homes in the summer months.

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