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Wilbert, Carl F. / History of the town of Mequon
([ca. 1990?])

Ice harvest


Ice Harvest
An interesting occupation or industry in Mequon occurred
every year in the winter when the Milwaukee River was
frozen to 12 or more inches in thickness. Ben Herziger
took it upon himself to organize the help and the teams of
horses necessary to prepare and to haul the ice from the
river to the ice houses. Nearly every tavern keeper had
an ice house where he stored the ice he needed in the
summer months, mainly for the refrigeration of the beer
he sold, but also for cooling the liquor and soft drinks
as well as for his private ice box in the kitchen. Mr.
Herziger also arran;ed for cutting the ice into square
blocks of whatever thickness generally over 12 inches. The
ice was frozen pulled them out of the water on to a plat-
form and from there on to the wagons or sleighs equipped
with platforms.  They hauled it to the icehouses.   This
also served as a source of revenue for the farmers and to
Mr. herziger to earn a little extra money in the winter.
It was a hard, cold job but everybody sort of enjoyed it,
being a diversion from the regular farming duties. It
also happened that at one time the ice was too thin and
a team of horses went through the ice and into the ice
cold water. Both horses and driver were rescued.    Aside
from a very cold dunking, neither man or horse suffered
too much. The driver of the team was taken home by a
co-worker to receive a good rub down and after a brisk


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