This photo shows the ice business that shipped blocks of ice to the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad for their freight cars before there were refrigerated cars. Ice was also shipped to warehouses in Pueblo.
The ice was cut from what is now the Yale Lakes Estates pond. This lake was first Thompson Lake and then Ice Lake.
The American Refrigerator Transit Company started an ice business in 1925, but before that local men such as Harry Foreman cut ice and delivered it to local households for their ice boxes.
There was a huge ice house located in the area of Rocky Mountain Lumber.
They cut and shipped ice until April.
The men started cutting ice from the lake around Thanksgiving and loaded it on this gravity flow conveyor belt to send it down to the warehouse and railroad cars.
There were up to 30 men employed in this business at Ice Lake, at the warehouse and loading the box cars. They cut ice blocks 18 to 24 inches thick.
One winter in 1947 it was so cold they couldn’t break the blocks loose with a 5-foot metal bar.
One of the few years they could not cut ice on the lake was during a mild winter in 1937.
With the development of refrigerator freight cars, the ice business died in the late 1940s. The big ice house was torn down in 1952-53.
For more information on the heritage behind the history of Buena Vista, visit facebook.com/bvheritage.heritage