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 Ice Pond located on the northwest side (43.766 N, -69.316 W) of Monhegan Island is a naturally occurring pond that is utilized for basic needs and recreation by the residents of Monhegan. In the months before it freezes, the pond is a favorite spot for nature viewing. In the winter months, residents enjoy recreation on the frozen pond. The pond provides a water source in the case of fire and from the late 1800s to 1972, the pond’s ice was harvested to aid in the preservation of food.
Around 1920, the pond’s capacity was increased by deepening the pond and adding a man-made cement dam that replaced the previous wooden dam. In the months when the pond is not frozen, the pond is full of water and invites water fowl, birds, butterflies and dragonflies to play among the foliage.
In preparation for harvesting the ice, the pond was drained and allowed to dry in late summer or early fall. Once dry, the grasses were cut with a scythe and raked out of the pond. This was the very first step in producing high quality ice. If the pond’s grasses weren’t cut and raked out, the ice harvested would be full of grass which creates holes and causes the ice to thaw more rapidly. The ice is inferior and doesn’t last as long when grass is in it.