Ice House Site Preservation at Ellwood
Eagle Scout candidate Matt Irwin of Troop 325 and a small group of dedicated assistants recently aided the National Park Service and FoWB in preserving the 19th century ice house site on the grounds of historic Ellwood Manor. Following detailed instructions from NPS, Matt’s Eagle Scout project included removing 20th century debris and trash that had been tossed into the pit and then covering the top of the pit with a layer of sand, topsoil and grass seed.
The roughly 20 x 20 foot excavation was constructed sometime soon after the manor house was built in the 1790s and was lined with large stones. Most likely a wooden structure was erected above the pit to be used a as refrigerated storhouse. During the winter months, a small stream located north of the ice house was dammed up to create a pond. Frozen blocks of ice were then cut from the pond and stored for months in the underground structure.
What, if anything, is buried in the ice house pit? One can only guess .. perhaps nothing but more, older trash. Matt’s project has now sealed the ice house pit to preserve what lies below for possible future archaeological investigation.
Thank you Matt!