Wellesley Historical Society

Morse's Pond Ice House - History Mystery, July 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14, 2014 - Question

The above picture shows past generations enjoying a summer day at the beach on Morse's Pond. The land was purchased by the town in 1931 and opened as a beach in 1935. Does anyone know what purpose the pond served before it was the popular town landmark it is today?  Check back on July 28th for the answer!

July 28, 2014 - Answer

Before being designated as a public beach, Morse’s Pond was used as a location for ice harvesting in the winter. The pond was owned by the Russell Ice Company in 1888, and then by the Boston Ice Company in 1902. Ice house workers carved blocks of ice out of the pond and loaded them onto a large conveyor belt which brought them to the warehouse atop the pond’s bank (pictured below). Ice was stored in the warehouse through the summer, and it was loaded nightly onto rail cars as needed.The Boston Ice Company remained a profitable business for about 20 years, and at its peak in 1923, the ice house was assessed by the town at over $250,000. However, with the advent of refrigeration and the impending Depression, the Boston Ice Company quickly declined in value and eventually closed. In 1931, the land was bought by the town for only $3,000, and the initiative to convert it to a public beach began.

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