Monhegan Museum of Art & History preserves and displays the art and history of Monhegan Island, ME. The exhibits are open to the public from June 24-September 30. Curators work year-round and are available for questions and research.
The sections of ice were floated down the canal, guided with picks toward the ice house ramp by workers. Picks had a straight point for pushing and a curved hook for pulling.
In the early days, the ice cakes were scooted along the ramp to the ice house using picks.
Later, trucks were used to hoist an elevator. The ice cake was guided onto a platform and the platform was elevated using a block and tackle pulley system attached to the front of a truck. The truck moved backward, elevated the ice on the platform, the truck moved forward to descend the platform for another load.
The ice slid with the aid of gravity down the ice chute and into the ice house.
Once inside, two or three men quickly guided the ice into place using ice picks. The men inside needed to be quick on their toes and alert so as not to get injured by a 150-pound block of ice flying at them. They used grippers attached to the boots to keep from slipping on the ice. The ice was layered all the way to the top of the building with nothing in between the layers. Once the ice house was full, 2-3 feet of sawdust was added on top and side to insulate it, keeping the ice from thawing through the hottest summer days.