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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Riverdale Park in Prince George's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

MacAlpine Icehouse

Town of Riverdale Park

 
 
MacAlpine Icehouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 28, 2018
1. MacAlpine Icehouse Marker
Inscription. You are standing near the remains of a 19th century icehouse. What is an icehouse? An icehouse is an underground facility designed to store ice during times of year when it is not easily available. Icehouses use the natural insulating qualities of the earth to store ice harvested from freshwater rivers and lakes, or ice manufactured by electrically powered factories. The MacAlpine Icehouse consists of a brick-lined pit approximately 25 feet deep and 20 feet in diameter; its above-ground wooden cover is now gone. The icehouse preserved within this modern masonry structure was built by the Calvert family in the late 1860s to store ice for their farm, MacAlpine. This ice house is one of only three surviving examples in Prince George's County.

Specialist firms in northern climates harvested and shipped ice by railroad and steamship to southern states like Maryland. Manufacturers patented, built, and sold ice boxes to city dwellers while farmers and rural households purchased large quantities of ice for long-term storage in icehouses. Government-supported rural electrification programs begun in the 1930s rendered the need for traditional icehouses, like this one, obsolete.
 
Location. 38° 58.176′ N, 76° 56.252′ W. Marker is in Riverdale Park, Maryland
MacAlpine Icehouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 28, 2018
2. MacAlpine Icehouse Marker
, in Prince George's County. Marker is at the intersection of Van Buren Street and Baltimore Avenue (U.S. 1), on the right when traveling east on Van Buren Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4439 Van Buren Street, Hyattsville MD 20782, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. ERCO and Calvert Homes (here, next to this marker); Riversdale Plantation (here, next to this marker); MacAlpine Farm (a few steps from this marker); Trolley (approx. 0.2 miles away); Calvert Hills: A National Register Historic District (approx. mile away); Calvert Family Cemetery (approx. 0.4 miles away); Eternal Tribute (approx. half a mile away); This Clock (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Riverdale Park.
 
Categories. Notable Buildings
 
Sketch of MacAlpine Plantation by Jack W. Phillips, 1934<br>Objects in Red No Longer Exist image. Click for full size.
Internet Archive
3. Sketch of MacAlpine Plantation by Jack W. Phillips, 1934
Objects in Red No Longer Exist
From The History and Construction Of Mac Alpine At College Park, Maryland, Tau Beta Pi thesis by Jack W. Phillips December 13, 1934.
Ice house, Harford County, Maryland by Frances Benjamin Johnston, 1930s image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress
4. Ice house, Harford County, Maryland by Frances Benjamin Johnston, 1930s
Cross Section of Typical Icehouse image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 28, 2018
5. Cross Section of Typical Icehouse
Close-up of image on marker
MacAlpine Icehouse Marker<br>& the Ercoupe image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 28, 2018
6. MacAlpine Icehouse Marker
& the Ercoupe
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 3, 2018. This page originally submitted on May 29, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 71 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on May 29, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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