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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Mackinaw City in Cheboygan County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Ice Harvesting

Mackinaw City Historical Pathway

 
 
Ice Harvesting Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, August 16, 2019
1. Ice Harvesting Marker
Inscription.  
Harvested in Mackinaw, shipped around the Great Lakes, the ice was used to cool food and people.

Selling ice for refrigeration to the fish houses, railroads, and homes was big business from the late 1800s to World War II, and Mackinaw City was one of the largest supplieers.

The Z & Z Ice Co. covered the area between the present railroad dock (where the Icebreaker Mackinaw is moored) and the State Dock (the big wide dock to the south). It was established in 1889 by Jack Ziggler and Paul Zaggmire. Z & Z purchased one million feeet of lumber to construct their two large ice houses that held 1,000 tons of ice. They employed 500 men during the ice cutting season. Ice also was cut to fill the ice houses of the three railroad companies and several local fish houses. Ice was shipped by boat or rail as far as Clevelend, Ohio. Ice harvesting continued until the 1960s when refrigerators made their way into most homes and businesses.

The ice was used to preserve food, to chill drinks, as ice cubes, and as a refrigerant to make air conditioned railroad cars.

How do you harvest ice?
Men
Ice Harvesting Marker - lower left image image. Click for full size.
2. Ice Harvesting Marker - lower left image
The Z & Z Ice Company's Ice Houses at Mackinaw City. Mich. 1889
began cutting ice when the bay ice was a foot thick, often in February. They swept the ice clear of snow, then marked off 2-foot square blocks and scored them halfway through with an ice cutter. Using a spud, the men broke a ribbon of ice free and floated it to a conveyer belt. A man at the base of the belt separated the ribbon into square pieces and pushed them onto the conveyor. A man at the top would position the blocks, some weighing as much as 250 pounds, in the ice house for later use. Sawdust and snow were packed between the blocks as insulation. (Marker Number 7.)
 
Location. 45° 46.702′ N, 84° 43.564′ W. Marker is in Mackinaw City, Michigan, in Cheboygan County. Marker is on South Huron Avenue north of Railroad Avenue, on the right when traveling north. Marker is next to the public restrooms at the southwest corner of Conkling Heritage Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 335 South Huron Avenue, Mackinaw City MI 49701, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Edgar Conkling 1812-1881 (within shouting distance of this marker); Mill Creek (within shouting distance of this marker); The Meneely Bell (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Commercial Fishing (about 300 feet away); Auto Ferries (about 300 feet away);
Ice Harvesting Marker - upper center image image. Click for full size.
3. Ice Harvesting Marker - upper center image
Bell's Fishery still stands today. [Bell's has been closed since before March 2017. In 2018, Minogin Market has been at 229 South Huron Avenue.]
British Colonial Shipbuilding Yard, 1761 - 1781 (about 400 feet away); Michigan State Ferry System / Michigan State Car Ferries (about 400 feet away); Mackinaw City Railroad Dock / USCG Cutter Mackinaw WAGB 83 (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mackinaw City.
 
Also see . . .  07. Ice Houses. Web page with audio tour file. (Submitted on August 26, 2019, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.) 
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels
 
Ice Harvesting Marker - lower center image image. Click for full size.
4. Ice Harvesting Marker - lower center image
Ice ribbon and spud
Ice Harvesting Marker - lower right image image. Click for full size.
5. Ice Harvesting Marker - lower right image
Conveyor belt
Ice Harvesting Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, August 16, 2019
6. Ice Harvesting Marker
 

More. Search the internet for Ice Harvesting.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 26, 2019. This page originally submitted on August 26, 2019, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 67 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on August 26, 2019, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.
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