|The only house in Plumersville with a dome under yellow sky.|
|Paul Plumer as you may see is happy today, he just finished putting an ICE sign on his old truck.|
|Every picture has a story behind it. I will tell you about the little ice truck..... It was commissioned by the daughter of the large
man in the middle, Arthur Moore.... |
Arthur took over the ice business from his father, and Grandfather, the whole family worked at it one time or another...The city of hallowell (only 2600) is on the banks of the Kennebec River. It was/is a sea port about 40 miles up river from the ocean, with a rich history. Ice was a thriving business on the river with well over a dozen companies operating giant ice houses, and shipping ice via schooner all over the world.
As a boy during WW2 I remember the ice truck, (not the one in the painting), a big flat bed with a canvas cover. Hanging on the sides were large and very sharp ice tongs and axes. Sometimes Arthur Moore or his men, "Harpy" (not Happy) came with a horse drawn wagon. My grandmother, (I lived with her for a time ), had an ice box not a refrigerator.
I think she had it till well after the end of the war. When she needed ice she put a big card in the front window so they could see it when they went by. There were numbers on it to tell what size block you wanted. We got milk and bread the same way. We also got a lot of town gossip that way.
In the summer the ice would melt some and the wagon was always dripping and made a path of drip spots in the then dirt road. The iceman would skilfully chop a block of ice just the right size from a bigger block. He would shave into a perfect cube with a sharp ax. Then he would put a big leather pad on his shoulder. He would grab the block of ice with the big tongs and heave it up to his shoulder, carry into the house and put it in the ice box. There was always a piece of fish or some butter to be moved out of the way.
On hot summer days, we the neighborhood kids, would follow the ice wagon around town to get the ice chips to suck on, that were left when the ice man cut a block to size. It was cold to hold in your hands but it tasted real good. In the barns the ice was buried in saw dust to insulate it and keep it frozen. It would last all summer. There was always a big pile of saw dust to jump into. In the ice houses, the ice was moved by hand mostly, on conveyers and down shoots which were excellent to slide down.