In the late 1800’s ice harvesting was still the main source of keeping food cold in our area. Refrigeration was just becoming popular in the East coast, but it would be a while before Rockford would benefit from this technology. Until then ice would be harvested on lakes and sometimes even on calm portions of rivers. It would be hauled away to be stored in ice houses by businesses and the cellar of people’s homes. Ice packed with sawdust would keep for months during the summer providing meat to be stored and shipped even during the hottest months. This also allowed beer to be shipped by rail to areas far beyond their local market. Pictured is a scene from a glass plate picture of ice harvest on the Crow River. The Old Mill is on the left bank (west side) and you can see the bridge farther downstream. I image the people and horses are standing near where the new bridge is now looking towards Hanover. A dam is built at the mill which created a perfect spot for collecting ice during harsh winters. The ice looks to be about 2 feet thick.