Did Ranches have Ice Houses?

marshall trimble true west magazine ice houses

Did ranches have ice houses?

Ray Burden
Beckenham, Kent, England

Ice houses on the frontier could only happen if a rancher lived in the north country, like the mountains of Montana. Often, they were dugouts or cellars. In the winter, ranchers moved in ice from a frozen river or creek to keep canned goods and preserves cold. Unless the weather got unusually warm, the ice would last quite a while.

The 1870s brought about ice-making machines that eventually made their way west.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona Outlaws and Lawmen; The History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or email him at marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu.

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