Fresh Pond Ice Company
GPS Coordinates – 42.741163 / -71.670163
Fresh Pond Ice Company was once housed near this location and used this lake for ice harvesting until the 1935 when it burned to the ground.
Lake Potanipo was a wonderful source of crystal clear ice. Before refrigeration blocks of ice were used to cool the family “icebox”
Lake Potanipo was once called Muscatanapus is fed by two mountain streams and numerous springs. It gets it’s former name from the native americans, who pleased with the clearness and purity of Its waters, called it Muscatanapus— “The Great Mirror”.
Once the ice was thick enough in January or February, harvesting would start. Lines would be scribed in the ice after clearing it and large man-powered saws would cut up the blocks. The blocks would then be dragged onto the ice and over to the ramp to the ice house.
The tools, however, provide some of the sharpest glimpses into the past. The wooden tool etched with the name “J. Hittinger,” for example, recalls Jacob Hittinger, who operated the Massachusetts-based ice company between 1830 and 1845, selling it in 1847, the year his son Thomas was born.
In 1890, when the Fresh Pond Ice Co. moved to Brookline, Thomas Hettinger served as superintendent, overseeing the building of the compound, 13 buildings under one roof.
According to a town history written by Edward E. Parker and published by the town, the original building was 245 feet long and 180 feet wide and could hold 80,000 tons of ice, the largest ice plant “under one roof in the State.”
The ice harvested from Lake Potanipo was shipped to Cambridge and Somerville, Mass., via the Fitchburg division of the B&M Railroad, according to Parker’s history. Daily shipments during the summer averaged 20 to 40 loaded cars.