(The following was written by Marilyn Gibboney, and is reprinted from “Reflections II”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)
Before the days of electricity on the farm, ice boxes were the only means of refrigeration for families in the summer. When you lived out in the country, the iceman did not come around each week. If you were fortunate enough to live near a creek, such as Big Darby you cut your own ice in the winter.
My maternal grandfather, Joseph Schlosser and his brother would work together and cut ice. The winters must have been very cold back then because each winter they would watch and wait until the ice was thick and hard enough to cut. They would hitch up a team of horses and pull a sled back to Big Darby where they would spend the day sawing, loading, and hauling ice.
Grandpa wore very heavy clothing for this event. He wore his heaviest coat, boots and had special mittens for his hands. Grandma always had to make sure the mittens were clean, patched and ready for the big day.
The ice house was located on the family farm on Lukens Road. The ice had to be unloaded and restacked inside the ice house. It was a small log building with a heavy door. The men would stack straw very tightly against the outside of the building so the ice would not melt when the weather turned warm. The ice was used by both families, and used sparingly. The ice was not the crystal clear manufactured kind, but rather rough looking with gravel and pebbles in it. When the weather turned warm the ice was used to keep the milk cool and other farm produce that needed refrigeration.
Big Darby was only a mile from their farms, so they would just drive the horses down Haenszel Road to the creek. Now there is no road past Harrisburg-Georgesville Road. It was in this area that they sawed and cut the ice.