HAMPTON: A CENTURY OF TOWN AND BEACH, 1888-1988
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Chapter 15 -- Part 2
Most hotels and the Casino had their own icehouses, which the ice men filled. One winter, the Hotel Whittier bought 300 tons of ice from DeLancey, who had a large icehouse of his own on the Mill Pond off High Street. Between 15 and 20 men were used for the harvesting, which was done when the weather was the coldest and the ice the thickest. A cover of snow, which had to be removed, made the work much more difficult. Sometimes the ponds would yield two cuttings of ice, but ordinarily the men could supply their customers through the summer on one cutting. The ice was stacked high in the icehouses and covered and layered with hay or sawdust as insulation.
In February 1914, the Union reported that "Thomas Cogger has a new ice house on Guinea road and has filled it with 1,070 tons. He also has an icehouse at the beach." A year later, Cogger filled the new icehouse with 1,000 cakes of ice and he expected to cut the pond again before the end of winter. Other ice harvesters in this century were the families of David Lamprey and Eugene Leavitt, who had icehouses at Lamprey Pond on Woodland Road, and Oscar and Horace Batchelder, who continued their father's business on Towle Farm Road at the site of today's Batchelder's Park and Pond.
This pond was once just a tiny stream, but Nathaniel Batchelder scooped out a depression with horse-drawn equipment to make a small ice pond. Horace later enlarged the pond and was cutting ice there as late as the mid 1960s. In more recent times, the Batchelders had ice-making equipment, and eventually the old icehouses were torn down.
The Beach remained the major market for ice, and it was used in restaurants, by many small cottage owners who hadn't bought electric refrigerators, and also by fishermen who used the ice to preserve their catch. In hot weather, the icemen sometimes came to the Beach twice a day. Regular customers received cards that were placed in their windows. When turned a certain way, the cards indicated to the delivery man how much ice the customer needed. One of the last houses was Eugene Leavitt's on Woodland Road, which was destroyed by fire in 1963. The Lamprey family continued to use their icehouse until the mid- 1970s, when the building was removed. Many of the old ice ponds were popular skating areas. Once periodically scooped out and cleared of vegetation, these ponds are now filling in and will one day disappear.