The Ice War Continueth, Part 3: Kashong Ice Company

December 18th, 2019

By Becky Chapin, Archivist

man in a canoe with people, canoes and four houses along the shore line

Beach area of Kashong, date unknown

Contrary to the demands of city inhabitants, residents of the Kashong area south of Geneva did not see a need for tens of thousands of tons of ice to be stored near their homes. An article published in the Geneva Advertiser-Gazette indicates there were only twenty cottages built in 1911, with more to come. Still, residents had a need to purchase ice for refrigeration purposes just the same as city-folk.

hand drawn map with names of property owners listed

Map of W. Nelson Coe’s land used for the Kashong Ice Company with names of other residents on lakefront

In 1911, W. Nelson Coe was building a large ice house at Kashong on land he owned, about two to three thousand feet of lake frontage on the south side of the creek, to be furnished with “pure, planed ice” from Keuka Lake. Hopes for Kashong’s future included a grocery store, mayor, common council, electric lights, and street railway which indicated plans to start a new village.

By 1913,  Coe was selling his ice house, wagon and all tools equipment and the grove he owned to members who were opening the Kashong Ice Company: George Ditmars, Peter Barmann, Gilbert Turner, Hassan Snyder, Frank Pearce, Dr. JB Covert, Catherine Covert, Eliza (and later David) Moore, and Charles Fox. Minutes from the first meeting list these officers:

  • President: Charles H Fox
  • Vice President: Peter Barmann
  • Secretary: George Ditmars
  • Treasurer: Hassan Snyder
  • Board of Managers: Gilbert Turner, Frank Pearce, and  Dr. JB Covert

The company was incorporated in 1914. Changes to the board over the years occurred, with new members joining – Frank Fairfax of Fairfax Bros. Co. – and others moving in and out of their positions, but George Ditmars would remain the Company’s secretary. The company furnished its ice houses with ice from the Keuka Lake Ice Company, though it may supplement from Geneva Ice Co. and CJ Brady in later years.

Each year’s annual report gives an interesting look at an ice business with a smaller clientele. As I’ve said previously, the price of ice each year fluctuates according to the weather and so does the quality. In the first few years, the company purchased ice at about 50¢ per ton with the selling price from $10-12 per ton. However, in 1919 the report said “during this winter it has been impossible to get any Natural Ice on account of the warm weather.” Purchasing price from Keuka was $12 per ton and ice was sold that year at $24 per ton.

Subsequent years would vary in selling price from $15-16 per ton, but the ice was always good. But 1925 proved unlucky as patrons and “the ice man” were unsatisfied with the quality of ice furnished from the Geneva Refrigerating Corp. and the source of ice returned to Keuka Ice Co. in 1926.

hand drawn map with property owners listed

1930 map of the Kashong Ice Company land area with other residents along lakefront.

Interestingly, a 1922 article in the Penn Yan Democrat indicates that ice was harvested from Kashong Creek as it was 12 inches thick, furnishing several ice houses. As the creek is so long, it’s unlikely that it was harvested from this area at Kashong off Route 14, but that it was deep enough to harvest and “pure” enough to distribute is what draws my interest.

A 1932 letter to Peter Barmann’s wife from George Ditmars indicates the ice house was in poor condition and Mr. HE Hovey (Market Basket) was in line to purchase it only if a deed could be furnished right away. A map from 1930 shows all the owners of the lakefront property and the property owned by the Company. The last annual report we have is in the late 1920s and with the poor condition of the house, we may surmise the company went out of business around this time.

To read more about the “Ice Wars:”

“Geneva was home to a bustling ice industry

Ice War Continueth, Part 2


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