Saturday, August 9, 2014

Roper's Snapshot Saturday No.12 | 14 Comments - Click Here :

Denver Public Library
Denver Public Library
Denver Public Library

14 Comments - Click Here :
  1. Thank you Roper! (Geez! Is he really a dog?)

    Where were South Park Reefers iced in the 1880s and '90s? That is the fundamental question behind all of this head banging and file thumping. The "discovery" has been an industry that was both interesting and vital to our beloved railroads.

    There isn't any question to my mind of how HUGE the ice industry was relative to Denver, the North Fork of the South Platte Canyon, and the South Park RR in all of it's iterations - and not limited to those specifics either. I would submit that ice harvesting was likely the biggest industry in the Platte Canyon as there were ice operations everywhere. I have no proof of this but I have long suspected the little pond at Grant was indeed yet another ice pond. That long siding at Riverview was Ice Related. Indeed there were ice operations in and around Buffalo, the central focus of my "alleged" layout. And it all goes way back...

    I am working on fact gathering and tome assembly late into the evenings to share this with you. So I will leave you with those tasty thoughts.

    About today’s visuals; the top photo is of the CI&CS Co.’s big plant in Denver located on W. Colfax Avenue (practically under I-25 these days). This view was taken on April 3rd 1930 and you can see that the wagons had turned into trucks. The banner on the sides said “Ice” “From Pure Distilled Artesian Water”. I’m not sure what “Keystone 5277” was… yet. (Perhaps a Teamster Union Chapter?) We are standing in the intersection of W. Colfax and Cottenwood (the street sign on the telephone pole says so) looking more or less west. The description calls the Viaduct in the background the 16th Street but this is W. Colfax Avenue today (Colorado cities tend to be confusing anyway). The primary Railroad facilities into the property were on the west side of the plant between what would be Shoshone St. and Umatilla St. (Ooma-tee-ya, I believe). To our right should be a spur between the two buildings. Whether it is still there at this point I don’t know. Down the street (W. Colfax) would be the multiple tracks of the C&S and Sante Fe mainlines. The gondola is sitting on a spur next to what was the Rugby Coal Co. Yard and in car 17345 is a laborer unloading the car with a shovel. It also appears one of the two tracks of this spur has been removed. The brick building in the background (beyond the C&S tracks) was the foundry. The call number on this photo of the DPL is Z-11611 if you want a much better look – it is a fascinating shot!

    The next photo was taken of ice man John Burbank, on 4th Avenue in Longmont in the 1880s. It was such a great view of the special wagons used by the industry I had to use it. It would be a wonderful model subject. As you can see such wagons had a lot of depth to them. And they were often very ornate.

    Next is another view of an ice wagon and the similarities between the two are striking even tho this view was taken at 1400 Blake Street in Denver; a deep body with a low canvas top and a double team. Y’all should have half a dozen of these on your layouts – at least! In the background is the 14th Street Viaduct under construction and the photo is dated as 1898.

    The last two images came from the 1877 and 1881 Corbett, Hoyes and Co Denver Directories as advertisements for early “players” in the Denver and regional ice business. The Directories are fascinating if not time consuming studies and there is an amazing amount of information there for anyone diligent enough to go thru them (good gawd!).

    More on all of this soon.

    I hope you’ve ordered your Leadville Shops kits and gotten a start on your reefer fleet so you’ll be ready to ice the cars properly!


  2. Ice from the Rocky Mountains, as a Colorado Midland fan, I have developed a full clinic on the Ice Ponds, Ice Production, Ice Storage and Ice Delivery on the lines of the Midland and the D&RG in the area based around Colorado Springs. Crystal Ice Company was a major player in the Springs with a major home delivery effort in the Springs and Colorado City. The Midland it turns out had their major Ice Product and Ice Storage facility on the South Platte River at Lake George which is located at the eastern mouth of Eleven Mile Canon (called Granite Canon by the Midland). Their Ice Company was called the Cascade Ice Company with home delivery in competition with Crystal Ice Company in the Springs and Colorado City. The other major production site for the Midland was the Ice Ponds at Norrie on the Western Slope along the Frying Pan River. The ice was transported in box, stock and coal cars to the storage sites in Colorado Springs and Grand Junction. Both of these sites were co-located with major saw mills which provided a large amount of sawdust which was used to insulate the ice when shipped out to users. During the car shortages of the 1890s liberal use of sawdust allowed the movement of the ice blocks to Ice houses at both the east and west ends of the Midland for use in icing the reefers used to move fruit and other products to long distances. Midland ice was shipped into eastern Kansas and central Arizona by the Santa Fe for icing their reefers in the long runs from California to Chicago and New York. The sawdust allowed for minimal ice lost in the box cars used in moving the ice blocks from Colorado to those locations. By the way, broad gauge lines rarely used anything other than uninsulated box cars for the shipment of ice blocks. The stock and coal cars were used for online shipments from the production sites to the online ice storage facilities.

    1. Very interesting stuff, CM. As you know the CM was jointly owned by the C&S and the RGW during the period I am primarily focused on and the Sante Fe was engaged in a joint operation with the C&S along the Front Range south from Denver. So all of this infomation is generally applicable to TOC Colorado Railroading. How much was specifically applied to each company might be a matter of investigation. For instance there doesn't seem to be anything in the C&S files that confirms its s.g. used anything but ordinary box cars to ship ice and the narrow gauge offers no recorded examples of anything but boxcars either. But that does not mean stock cars and coal cars were not used. On the other hand much of the C&Ssg was operated well below 7000 feet in elevation and the Colorado sun, being what it was (and is), it seems doubtful that coal cars or gondolas would have been used. I would dare say most of the Midland was above 7000 feet and therefore 20 degrees or more colder than most of the C&S line - I'm talking s.g. of course.

      In talking about the CM shipping ice to Kansas there was an occasion in 1903 when the Sante Fe had to re route its cross country fruit shipments thru Denver because of flooding in Kansas. By that time both the S.F. and C&S were clients of the Colorado Ice & Cold Storage Co. which did most of their reefer icing in that district. That Company was able to ice something like 140 cars in less than 4 hours!! - No sweat as it were...

      I'd be interested to know who the founder of Crystal Ice in Colorado Springs was. Stephen Vinot started the Crystal Lake Ice Co. in Denver in the early '70s but seems to have disappeared from the region by 1880. Any chance he was involved with Crystal Ice?

      Sawdust was used universally as an insulator. Hol Wagner points out an incident described in the Rocky Mountain News; "The Capital Ice Company (successor to Bosler), was lost as a shipper, at least for a time, when its ice house in the Denver suburb of Valverde, on the South Park mainline, was destroyed by fire “of incendiary origin” ...on the night of June 11-12, 1901. It’s hard to imagine an ice-filled structure burning, but it was, after all, constructed entirely of wood and insulated with sawdust."

      By June a good deal of the ice may have already been distributed. Just how full of ice the warehouse might have actually been isn't known. But even if it was chock full of ice it would have still burned easily enough especially if someone was determined to burn it down as the article implies. Maybe there was justh a little more steam?

      I was aware that the CM iced their reefers at Lake Geoge having run across photos of the operation. As a kid I use to spend several days a year with an uncle who owned a cabin on Eleven Mile Reservoir. Of course the reservoir wasn't a source of ice as it came along after the CM ceased operations - naturally. It is a great place and was a fun time. Thanks for your input.


  3. Ice In Denver – Early Years

    The first “Corbett, Hoyes & Co. Annual Directory of Denver”, published in 1873, listed one ice dealer, Stephen Vinot, who lived on W. Adams Street between 3rd and 4th Avenue in West Denver. There were no commercial listings of ice dealers in the Directory.

    The Directories were published every year as Corbett “something” until sometime in the 1930s (so far as I have seen). They are surprisingly informative and interesting volumes that listed both residence and business locations, community organizations such as churches and clubs as well as civic information. They also listed street descriptions and anything else that had to do with the City Denver. They were much like our old phone books tho, of course, there were no phone numbers in the earlier volumes. What they did that the phone books didn’t do was indicate the occupation of the individuals in the residential listings. That is how we know Mr. Vinot was an ice dealer.

    By this point there were several railroads connected to Denver including the embryonic Denver South Park & Pacific, which would reach the town of Morrison the following summer. There is no reason to doubt that there was at least some ice traffic on the railroads even at this early juncture but there is no indication refrigerator cars were as yet a part of the Denver ice industry. The first narrow gauge reefers were still some 7 years away.

    In 1874 the C.H.&Co. 2nd Annual Directory listed 3 dealers in the residential section. These were George and Alfred H. Miles, (listed individually as) ice dealer, 163 S. 15th and Stephen Vinot. Since both Mr. Miles lived in the same house it is clear they were indeed related but since there were no commercial listings of ice dealers we cannot tell if they were two separate companies or even if they worked for Stephen Vinot - or vise versa.

    The first commercial listing of “Ice Dealers” appeared in the 3rd Annual Directory. Again there were 3 dealer; George T. Miles and Stephen Vinot listed in the residential section and L.L. Higgins, at 390 Lawrence Street, under the commercial heading. From this directory and those that follow it is clear that the Miles team were jointly operating their venture. Alfred was not listed at all in the 1875 Directory but would appear again in following Annuals.

    The 1876 Directory was more or less a repeat of the previous year except that the Miles had moved and there was no commercial listing of ice dealers. Higgins was listed in the residential section. But in 1877 we do find that there were 4 residential listings and 2 commercial listing. Alex Cramer was added to the residence listing and both Stephen Vinot at Holladay N.W. corner of 6th and L.L. Higgins at 376 Lawrence were the commercial listings. We also find an advertisement for “Crystal Lake Ice” with Stephen Vinot as the proprietor (see the 4th figure in Roper’s snapshot 12). We can now be certain there were at least 3 ice companies in Denver in the late 1870s.

  4. By 1878 the ice business was both vital and competitive. Names came and went in the directory but this was probably as much a function of the listing company as it was of competition between the rivals. At this point Higgins, Miles, and Vinot were all active players but only Higgins was listed commercially. There were also peripheral players such as Henry Bohlmann, “Practical Cabinet Maker” who offered both residential ice boxes and refrigerators for saloons. The city was apparently crawling with ice wagons during the summer month. But there is no indication where the ice companies and dealers got their ice?

    It is interesting to note that Vinot’s company was named for a location – specifically a lake. The sources at this time were almost certainly local as the region surrounding the City was dotted with both natural and man-made ponds and lakes. Local collection was either conducted by wagon or the storage facilities were located next to the source – as perhaps the Crystal Lake Ice company implies. But anyone who has lived in Denver for any length of time knows that winters are not always so cold and sufficient ice from these ponds may not have always met the demands. As the city grew this became a more critical issue. Increasingly, distant sources must have been accessed. Wagons could have been used – and probably were - but with so many railroads reaching the City there can be no doubt they were already contributing an important service to the industry. One has to wonder just how much Ice the Colorado Central and DSP&P were hauling in from the west and how much the Denver and Rio Grande might have been hauling in from the south. That isn’t to say the standard gauge lines were not bringing in ice from the north and east. We don’t know. But we can be certain that the railroads became involvement in this industry during this decade. While refrigerator cars may not have appeared to any notable extent in the 1870s raw ice must have been hauled in ordinary boxcars during those winter months.

    To be continued…

    Sources; DPL Corbett & Ballenger listings, Wikipedia, and the usual published volumes in my Library and unpublished files collection.

  5. Fascinating information Brother d! Patiently waiting for more!

  6. As I investigate the 19th century icing industry in Denver I watch for key names that come up later in relationship to the Railroad. One such name was Ambrose Bosler. In the 1879 Corbett, Hoyes & Co. 7th Annual Denver Directory we find Mr. Bosler in the apparent employment of the Denver Ice Co. as a driver. The office of Denver Ice was located at 376 Lawrence and indeed the president of the company was L.L. Higgins. You will recall that Mr. Higgins was the proprietor of L.L. Higgins as a Commercial Ice Dealer in the 1875 Directory. Also in the employment of Denver Ice were at least 3 more drivers, a laborer, and a collector. This last occupation is the only mention I’ve seen in connection with acquiring the product.

    Of particular interest in connection with Denver Ice was the name Stephen Vinot! However his particular occupation with Denver Ice was not revealed. On the other hand there is no mention of Crystal Lake Ice. Did Higgins and Vinot throw in together and create Denver Ice by combining their respective operations? It is interesting to note that the listed address of the company was for the office – not the warehouse. At this juncture we do not know where the warehouse was. If Vinot owned a lake and the L.L. Higgins, which appeared to be the dominant enterprise, had the capital, the two could have partnered and built a more substantial operation that included both a source and a significant warehouse. By all appearances Denver Ice was a growing company.

    In 1880 all of the drivers, including Ambrose Bosler, for Denver Ice were called teamster. This was the only version of the directory that used that term. There were four teamsters, 2 laborers, a collector and, of course, Higgins as the president and Vinot as an unknown. The only commercial listing under “Ice Dealers” was Denver Ice Co. with L.L. Higgins as the president. But there was still the Miles operation with Alfred as the dealer in the residential listings. Again this doesn’t seem to preclude that there were any other dealers. Names came and went and came back again.

    In 1881 the directory was called Corbett & Ballenger’s 9th Annual Directory. The single commercial “Ice Dealers” listed was the Denver Ice Co. In the residential section it was now G.T. Miles who was the dealer located at 407 Larimer Street.

    There was also an advertisement for Denver Ice Co on page 612 that claimed the company was a “Wholesale and Retail dealer in ICE”. This certainly suggests the capacity for volume. Indeed, Denver Ice listed two office locations at 376 Lawrence and 278 Larimer streets. The company now had 6 drivers. It had acquired 3 more drivers but apparently Ambrose Bosler was no longer with the company. Arthur T. Thayer continued to be the collector and there were two laborers.

  7. It would be interesting to know the details in how the company operated. During the summer months, when no collecting was going on, what was Mr. Thayer doing? During the winter he was obviously collecting and one can suppose the two laborers were assisting him. During the summer, of course, the drivers were delivering the ice. During the winter they were probably driving teams that helped stock the warehouse. This is all supposition but the company must have conducted itself in some similar fashion, as it was more than just a one-wagon affair. And the big question would be did they also take delivery of ice brought in from afar by rail?

    In 1882 the 10th Directory listed 3 companies in the commercial section. These were Bell Ice, City Ice, and Denver Ice. Of particular interest was City Ice, which was apparently Ambrose Bosler’s new company. Aside from the address of 368 Blake Street little else is know. The Bell Ice Company was managed by George Miles but his brother(?) Alfred was now in the real-estate business, which was also located at 223 19th.

    By this point the Denver South Park & Pacific had built 12 - 26 foot refrigerators. There is no description that I am aware of that tells us of any relationship between the Railroad and any of the Ice companies. Nor do we have any record of ice harvesting operations being conducted in Platte Canyon or anywhere along its line at this juncture tho it seems highly likely that such operations were already burgeoning in those areas. But the railroad was not in the ice business therefore it had to purchase ice from somewhere.

  8. Lets keep in mind that 12 cars being used on both the SP and the CC were not a daunting task even if all twelve were iced at once; more likely a few at a time as required. Most of the cargo they carried originated in Denver therefore Denver would have been the logical location for any large store of ice. That isn’t to discount the possibility of icing operations at Como or perhaps Leadville. But the volume at either of those locations probably would not have been even as significant as Denver. Thus Denver would probably be the only location where we might see anything more than a drive-up type icing practice. But was the icing of reefers even at Denver large enough to warrant anything more than drive-up loading? Moreover the railroad could have purchased large quantities of ice from such operation but then they would have had to store it themselves. Where would they have done this?

    I am of the opinion that the railroad’s demand for ice and its rather small contingent of iced cars did not yet demand anything but a drive–up operation. Even with its need for ice in passenger cars and various other needs – keep in mind they may have already been dealing with this demand for several years prior to the reefers. It would not be until the following year when in late summer the 27’ Tiffany cars arrived that ice demands might have warranted an on sight warehouse. In the meantime it seems most plausible that the relatively large Denver Ice co would have supplied the ice more or less on demand.

    There are problems with such an arrangement. The most significant issues would be the availability of ice on demand and the ability to have it delivered when the railroad needed it. Many times railroads iced their cars in the wee hours of the morning or in late evening – times that would have been less inconvenient to the ice supplier. A contractual arrangement would address this. It would also address the guarantee of ice availability through the summer months when the railroad could find itself in the untenable position of having perishable cargo and no ice to protect it.

    But as things go even contracts cannot prevent the “worst” from happening. While wagonning up a load of ice and throwing it in the side door might have worked on the very small scale of the early 1880s it can be assumed that as the 15 new cars showed there could have been greater cause to set up something more under the control of the Railroad. Since none of the cars had roof accessed ice bunkers an elevated platform was not needed. However there certainly would have been a need to store the ice. Yet we find no indication of such a structure in any of the early (and limited) references we have. Where might this storage taken place?

  9. We will get to the questions concerning the South Park shortly but there is still a little more information about the icing companies that needs to be disclosed in order to bring in what the South Park could have done about ice.

    In 1882 there were 3 Ice Dealers listed commercially in 10th Annual Directory. These included Bell Ice, City Ice of which Ambrose Bosler was the proprietor and, of course, the Denver Ice Co. still located at 375 Lawrence Street. On modern maps this address is located just S.W. of the corner of Lawrence and 7th Street but I have not been able to confirm that to contemporary maps. The location – in theory at least – would put the Denver Ice Co. at the S. W. end of the DSP&P shops or between the Artesian Ice Mfg.’s future location and the South Park shops in a space of about one block. (Somewhere in block 266 of the West Denver Plat.) Of course, there were no buildings because since 1874 it had all been covered in the tracks of the terminal. What e3ver bit of information missing it seems likely that the site of the Artesian Ice Mfg. and Denver Ice Co. were one and the same? As you will see this makes sense as things develop.

    Indeed, the very next year Corbett & Ballinger’s 11th Directory lists for the first time Union Ice Co. and it was located at 345 Lawrence! This would be across the street from the 376 address. But again the 300 block of Lawrence provided addresses between 301 and 333. Go figure.

    An understanding of the new company’s officers leaves no doubt that Denver Ice was now Union Ice. On page 59 of the 11th annual directory; Latham L. Higgins, President; George T. Miles, Vice President; Alvan Taylor, Secretary; Ambrose Bosler, Superintendent. There is no sign whatsoever of Denver ice nor is there another listing of City Ice. As the new name implies, Union Ice was the joining of 3 separate companies; Denver ice, Miles Ice and City Ice and Alvan Taylor was a former “teamster” for Denver Ice. (There was no mention of Stephen Vinot or his Crystal Lake Ice company.)

    Union Ice would continue into the early 1890s and Mr. Higgins would be involved in several enterprises that seemed to revolve around the Ice company. In 1885, for instance, there appears the Union Artesian Water Co. and along with Union Ice was located at 343 Lawrence street! The next year it appears the Water company’s name became Rocky Mountain Water Co. and both Union Ice and Rocky Mountain Water were located at the same address (more or less; RMW was actually at 343 ½ Lawrence).

  10. Latham Higgins was perhaps the biggest player in the Ice scene of 1980s Denver. He was president of Union Ice and held the title of Treasurer of Rocky Mountain Water. Nevertheless competition was stiff and growing stiffer with every year that passed. In 1886 there were Baker Ice on Colfax ave. near 7th Street, Crystal Ice at 323 Champa, Queen City Ice at 326 16th Street, Rocky Mountain Ice with an office at office 532 ½ Larimer Street, and Union Ice Co. now with its office at 339 Lawrence Street. Alvan Taylor was the proprietor of Rocky Mountain Ice but was no longer the treasurer for Union Ice.

    In 1887 Union Ice as well as Rocky Mountain Water opened their office at 1417 Lawrence Street. This was about 11 blocks N. E. of the plant location and across Cherry Creek into East Denver. Apparently the two companies sought more proper presentation to the public as their prosperity warranted. This location was not the gritty rural industrial locale as found at the S.W. end of Lawrence. Indeed there were nearly a dozen tracks in and around the 300 block of Lawrence Street – assuming there was actually a street! The DSP&P pretty much filled the row!
    Between 1887 and 1889 the Ice industry grew to 11 companies and no telling how many individual dealers and start-up companies that did not place commercial listings in the directories. One such company was Artesian Ice Manufacturing Co. This was the first indication of Artesian and the first mention of making ice for commercial distribution in Denver (that I am aware of).
    At about the same time Zang Brewery installed several refrigerator machines and an ice-making machine that produced 20 tons of Ice a day. That ice was for company use and there is no indication they distributed any of it commercially. The first successful ice machine was developed in Germany by Carl von Linde in 1876. Phillip Zang had taken a keen interest in mechanics and studied engineering while he worked for a textile mill in Kentucky in the 1850s. It was no surprise then that he and his son Aldoph who by now ran the would have been on top of the technology in Colorado. By the late1880 mechanical ice manufacturing had come of age where it was commercially viable and the Ice industry in Denver was about to embrace this new technology that would finally solve the problem of food preservation that the world had dealt with for thousands of years.
    Artesian Ice Manufacturing Co. was listed in the general directory in the 1889 annual. The following year the Annual presented the company’s first and only commercial listing. It also detailed the company officers to be Latham L. Higgins, President; George T. Miles, Vice President; Ambrose Bosler, Superintendent and the office location was at 1417 Lawrence Street – imagine that! But this wasn’t a reorganization of Union Ice for Union Ice continued to list as a commercial distributor. Rocky Mountain Water Co. also continued though it was not listed under a commercial heading.
    Then in 1891 the Colorado Ice & Cold Storage Company is listed as a commercial ice manufacturing plant. This new company was apparently the results of events that resulted in the acquisition of Artesian Ice Mfc by Franklin K. Sowers and whatever partners involved with him. The description of Union Ice on page 81 as follows; George T. Miles, Vice President; Ambrose Bosler, Superintendent most strikingly did not list the president. Nor was he listed as the Treasurer of the Rocky Mt. Water Co. t his residential listing his name is followed by “Mrs.” A search of the obituaries found that Latham had passed away on 25th Feb. of 1890. This likely opened the door for the Artesian Company to have been sold. Altho Union Ice was still listed on paper it seems certain that with Artesian went the essence of the operation. Union was not listed in the 1893 Directory (I could not find the 1892 Directory)

  11. We also find in records of building permits drawn on 1 Dec. 1890 by C.I.& S.Co. for a brick ice house and a brick barn (ever hear of a brick barn? – architects are funny people – itsa Stable!). Apparently these improvements to the old Artesian Ice Manufacturing property were completed at Grand Avenue and DSP&P (now DL&G, of course) tracks.

    Although the 1893 directory includes Artesian Ice co with its office at 1433 Lawrence and factory at 1722 Blake Street it is almost certainly not connected with CI&S. In both the UPD&G and C&S files the name “Artesian Ice Company” typically referred to the Colorado Ice & (Cold) Storage company. This was apparently the original name and, as we have seen, compelling evidence would seem to verify that as a fact.

    I am working on a set of illustrations that will help the reader visualize how all of this comes together practically upon the South Park’s back door. As you can imagine this is a huge amount of work. I realize most readers probably don’t care about all of the minutia. But I find the little devils in the details often determines the point of fact. This is an historical accounting after all. So hang loose and digest the foregoing confusion as best you can. More to come…


    1. Outstanding research Brother d!! Patiently waiting for more...

  12. I'm working on it Brother D. I hope people are really benefitting from this..

    Next up are detailed maps of the DSP&P's Denver Terminal, the site of the CI&CS at that time (1890) and even a bit of D&RG facilities.

    I'll warn every one right now that there isn't a conclusive answer to our initial question but there are several compelling options, all of which defy our past "conventional" wisdom. To me the story of the Ice Industry is fundimental to understanding how "wrong" our conceptions have been about icing the ng cars. Hopefully others witll see the connection - but I'll spell it out right here;

    We make assumptions based on our perspective of looking back at the past from today all the way back and assume things were always do the way they are today. But in 1880 the DSP&P did things from their perspective, which was looking at the present tense of THEIR day with no preconceived notions of what the Future (our past) might hold. They simply establishe what they needed based on what they knew at the time. This is succinctly WHY the Tiffany cars did not have roof hatches - all the other imaginings and explanations we've come up with NOT withsatanding!

    I swear! Human beings MUST answer every stinking question. It is so important to them to answer every question that even when they cannot find a factually based answer they will MAKE SOMETHING UP! Three little words; "I don't know" seem to be almost as difficult to say are "I was wrong"! Tch, tch, tch.....