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Ice Harvesting and the Natural Ice Industry In New England

February 15, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

“Crystal Products of the Frost King:” Ice Harvesting and the Natural Ice Industry in New England

Join the Bidwell House Museum on February 15 for the 2nd lecture in our winter Zoom series, “Crystal Products of the Frost King:” Ice Harvesting and the Natural Ice Industry in New England presented by historian Dennis Picard.

The commercial harvesting of ice from New England’s ponds and lakes for export began in the first decade of the 19th century.  By the end of that century ice harvesting was the 9th largest industry in the United States employing tens of thousands of workers in New England alone and producing hundreds of thousands of tons of block ice annually.

Picard is a frequent speaker on the ice industry for libraries, museums and universities and he will share images of some of his antique tools of that trade, including several invented in Massachusetts.  He will tell the interesting tale of this once massive enterprise that is now fading from our collective memory.

Dennis Picard has been demonstrating the ice harvesting trade for more than twenty five years at museums and environmental education centers. He was a consultant for BBC 4’s production of “Absolute Zero” as seen in the U.S. on Public Television’s NOVA series, staging an ice harvest and serving as an on-air commentator. Picard also served as the narrator on 2017 Northeast History Film production, “Harvesting Ice In New England 1926 – 1957.”

This lecture will be presented via Zoom and will not be recorded. Attendees will receive a Zoom link reminder 2-3 days in advance of the lecture.


February 15, 2023
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


The Bidwell House Museum

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