6TH Annual Knickerbocker Ice Festival
In the 19th century the Hudson Valley supported a thriving ice industry. Formed in 1831, the Knickerbocker Ice Company of Rockland Lake became the region’s largest supplier of ice.
New York City was the nation’s biggest consumer; by mid-century, it was buying 285,000 tons of ice a year. People paid good money for big chunks of frozen water. And most of that frozen water came from the rivers and lakes of the Hudson Valley. But the best ice around came from spring-fed Rockland Lake, which was renowned for its clean, pure water. It soon became the city’s largest supplier of ice earning Rockland Lake the nickname “Icehouse of New York City.”
By the 1850s, the company owned a dozen steamboats and 75 ice barges, employing about 3,000 people to harvest and ship ice all over the world. The harvesting typically began in January, when the ice was about a foot thick. A horse-drawn plow made deep cuts into the ice, and teams of men pulled out blocks measuring about two feet by three feet. The blocks were then dragged to the icehouses. These enormous storage units — each of which measured more than 350 feet long, 100 feet wide, and 50 feet high — were located at the northeast corner of the lake. The icehouses could store more than 50,000 tons of ice, most of which stayed frozen well into the summer thanks to wooden walls insulated with sawdust.
When warm weather arrived, the stored ice was placed on inclined railroad cars, transported to barges on the Hudson River, and shipped to New York City. There it was transferred to icehouses all over the city and then distributed to customers via ice wagons.
Electricity and refrigeration was to be the demise of the ice industry. Artificial ice replaced the natural kind, and home freezers meant supply could rise and demand fall. The Knickerbocker Ice Company closed in 1924. In 1926, one of the icehouses caught fire during demolition, and the fire spread and destroyed much of the village of Rockland Lake. The foundation of the ice company remains today, marked by a historical plaque, but not much else exists to remind us of this once-flourishing industry.
Celebrate Rockland Lake’s historical ice-capades at the sixth annual Knickerbocker Ice Festival at Rockland Lake State Park January 28th and 29th presented by DHS Systems of Orangeburg.
For the past three years, DHS Systems has provided The Knickerbocker Ice Festival with a large, comfortable, warm shelter to house the various food vendors, event sponsors and attendees looking for respite from the cold. The main shelter will feature various food vendors from around the Hudson Valley, preparing and offering various winter comfort foods including chili, soups, hot apple cider, coffee and cocoa, and more.
What: KNICKERBOCKER ICE FESTIVAL
When: January 28th & 29th, 2012 11:00 am until 4:00 pm
Where: Rockland Lake State Park, Valley Cottage, NY
Price: Free Admission, $6 parking
Rockland Lake and the Hudson Valley Ice Industry
Contact name: Maria Rodd
Contact email: email@example.com
Web site: http://www.knickerbockericefestival.com