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The Way it Was: Harvesting ice

The Way it Was: Harvesting ice

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The Way it Was: Harvesting ice

This undated photo shows an unidentified man using an ice saw to harvest a small field of ice on a frozen river or lake in the Coulee Region.

This undated photo shows an unidentified man using an ice saw to harvest a small field of ice on a frozen river or lake in the Coulee Region.

The harvesting of natural ice was a major industry in La Crosse from 1880 to the late 1920s with up to 80,000 tons of ice being cut annually from the Mississippi and Black rivers by local ice dealers, breweries and railroads. Much of the cut ice was hauled by horses and stored in ice houses to provide year-round sales in blocks of 25, 50, 75 and 100 pounds.

By 1930 the natural ice trade had diminished greatly due to the change from household ice boxes to electric refrigerators and the advent of automatic ice making machines.

Anyone with more information about this photo or wishing to donate photos of the Coulee Region may contact the La Crosse Public Library Archives at 608-789-7136.

From Tribune files: A look at life in La Crosse from 1900-1987

These photos are filled with many familiar faces and places from our area's past.

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