Local historian puts area history on ice

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This month's Palmer Lake Historical Society program is about ice and its connection to railroads and local history. The society invites the public to “Colorado Ice Houses,” a presentation by historian Bill Reich, at 7 p.m. on May 16 at the Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent.

Reich will relate the results of his research into railroad ice houses in Colorado, including the local Doyle Ice & Storage Co., which, at the turn of the 19th century, was located on the eastern edge of what is now called Monument Lake. An ice harvesting operation was also located on the southwest side of Palmer Lake at about the same time.

There was a strong tie between ice houses and the railroads, which led to the establishment of many ice storage houses and businesses devoted to harvesting, storing, and shipping ice along local train routes. Some of these establishments were located on the Palmer Divide.

Reich's presentation will include photographs showing various aspects of the ice industry, such as the cutting of ice on lakes and the loading of large ice blocks into railroad box cars. Commercial ice harvests were a major business in this area 100 years ago.

He is the author of three books on Colorado's historical industries. “Colorado Railroad Ice Houses” and “Colorado Rail Annual No. 29 Black Smoke and White Iron: A History of Colorado Kilns, Ovens, Furnaces and Rails” are available at www.coloradorailroadmuseum.org. His other book, “Colorado Industries of the Past,” is available at many museums include History Colorado in Denver.

Reich is a Colorado native who grew ups near Denver Tramway's No. 83 electric interurban train line. He has degrees in business and mechanical engineering from University of Colorado, Boulder. He has spent more than 20 years researching Colorado's historical industries.

His Palmer Lake Historical Society presentation is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served after the presentation. For more information about this event and the Doyle ice business, visit www.palmerdividehistory.org.