Collection Spotlight: Consolidated Ice Company Records

Consolidated Ice Company Records, 1814-1951, MSS 000                                             Extent:  11.5 linear ft. (12 boxes)

A view of the Consolidated Ice Company building in 1906.  Today the building serves as the home for the Heinz History Center.

A view of the Consolidated Ice Company building in 1906. Today the building serves as the home for the Heinz History Center.

History of the Consolidated Ice Company

The Consolidated Ice Company transported, stored, and distributed natural lake ice throughout the Pittsburgh region during the first half of the 20th century. The company operated out of the Strip District, with its main offices and primary facility located on 13th and Pike St. (now Smallman St.) within the building that is now home to the Senator John Heinz History Center.

The building was originally owned by the Chautauqua Ice Co., which sold ice harvested from Chautauqua Lake in Mayville, New York. Constructed in 1898, it replaced a nearly identical building that had been destroyed by a fire in the same year. Chautauqua Ice strategically designed its Pittsburgh operations for the optimal transport, storage, and manufacture of ice, as the Allegheny Valley Railroad lines provided its warehouse with convenient transport and delivery options. Its ice supply was shipped by rail from Chautauqua Lake as well as from Lakeville, Ohio and Sandy Lake in Mercer, Pa., and distributed throughout Pittsburgh on horse-drawn carts.

By 1901 Chautauqua Ice merged with other local ice companies to form Consolidated Ice Co. Advances in refrigeration technology allowed Consolidated Ice to make its own ice on demand, so the company shifted its focus from ice storage to merchandise storage, establishing Consolidated Storage in 1907. Consolidated continued to sell distilled water until 1948, as well as iced box cars for distributors in the Strip District. The company’s assets were ultimately sold to Adelman Lumber Co. in 1950.

Consolidated Ice Company coupon book

Consolidated Ice Company coupon book

Collection Summary

The Consolidated Ice Company Records contain inventories, correspondence, payroll records, and real estate records including property deeds, appraisals, and lease agreements. Much of the material documents the activities of the ice companies that merged to form Consolidated Ice. Several ledgers in the collection document the company’s ice shipments, financial transactions, and stockholder information. Box seven, containing payroll and tax information, has been placed on restriction. Also included in the collection is an oversized reproduction of a photograph of the Consolidated Ice Co. building in the Strip District.

Series I. Business Activity Records (c.1890-1950), Box 1 and shelf

Series one includes shipment journals, tonnage ledgers, and transportation records.

Series II. Consolidated Ice Companies (1843-1951), Boxes 1-3 and shelf

Series two includes records of merged ice companies, including business journals, by-laws, correspondence, and merger records.

Series III. Financial Records (1886-1951), Boxes 3-8 and shelf

Series three includes financial records for the Chautauqua Ice Company and the Consolidated Storage Company, including accounts payable records, tax records, cash books, and ledgers of receipts, sales, and stockholders.

Series IV. Incorporation Records (1871-1924), Boxes 8-9

Series four includes incorporation documents, charter records, and contracts for the Chautauqua Ice Company and the Consolidated Ice Company.

Series V. Real Estate Records (1814-1951), Boxes 9-12

Series five includes property deeds and appraisals, including the deeds for lots 23-29 of Smallman St. (formerly Pike St.) in the Strip District.

For more information, please see the finding aid for the Consolidated Ice Company Records.

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