This Week in Rockland: Newspaper Excerpts: Flashback Friday: Week of January 31

2020-01-31 TWIR Reynolds Protest

February 3, 1870 150 Years Ago
Rockland County Messenger

THE ICE SUPPLY  There was a time, not many years since when ice was considered a luxury, which in Summer was used mainly by persons of wealth, and by the keepers of large hotels, who were compelled to use it for the preservation of their meats, fruits, and vegetables. The increase of ice companies and ice houses, and a regular system of production, cheapened the article, until it at last came to be looked upon as a necessity to even people of moderate means. The crop gathered for many years in this vicinity has been not only amply sufficient to supply our local wants, but it has also been shipped in considerable quantities to other markets.  This Winter judging from present indications will be an exception to the successful prosecution of the business. The unusually mild weather that has prevailed during most of the present season has prevented the seeming of a new supply. The old crop is reduced to a very small stock.
     The business in New York had its origin in 1833 but was pursued with indifferent success until about ten years later, when it first assumed importance as an article of consumption. At first the principal sources of supply were the small ponds in the vicinity of the city. It was then chiefly used by ice-cream and soda-water venders, and two-carts supplied the entire city with what was needed. The whole crop was secured by the labors of fifteen or twenty men and ranged from 600 to 1,000 tons a year. The icehouse at this date was a single vault at the corner of Greenwich Avenue and Christopher street. In 1812, the increasing business required more space, and it was transferred to the foot of Hubert street, on the North River. The company thus engaged the Rockland Lake Ice Company, and the supply obtained from that locality amounted to about two thousand tons. Another company was soon formed, with equal facilities, and a sharp competition ensued between the rival interests. In 1848, a third ice company was established.
     In 1855, the quantity of ice used in this city ranged from 60,000 to 75,000 tons year, the sales being about equally divided between the three companies, who, during the same year, consolidated under the name of the Knickerbocker Ice Company, with a capital of $900,000. A few years after, the New York Ice Company was formed, with a capital of $750,000. This was subsequently merged in the Knickerbocker, whose capital stock was increased to $2,000,000.  The Washington Ice Company started in 1855, with a capital stock of $30,000; but it was managed with great ability and proved a success. From time to time, several smaller concerns, which had sprung into existence, became merged in the last named corporation, and its capital stock now stands at $1,000,000.
     The Knickerbocker Company annually secure about 400,000 tons of ice, and one of their buildings at Rockland Lake has a capacity equal to 40,000 tons. They have sixteen ponds, at various localities, where ice is cut but the main source of supply is at the Lake. From 1,300 to 2,000 men are employed during the season, and 20,000 tons are often cut and housed in a day. The entire capacity of their eighteen icehouses is 436,000 tons. The ice from all their ponds and the lake, is raised and deposited under cover by steam power. Four steamboats and thirty barges are constantly employed, from May to November, in bringing ice to the city. There are six depots of the company in this city, and two in Brooklyn.  The number of their double and single wagons is about 200, holding respectively three tons and a ton and a half each, according to size. These wagons are supplied directly from barges. The company have a manufactory in Twentieth street, near the Hudson River, where their wagons are made and repaired. Their horse stable, near-by, is one hundred feet square, and affords accommodation for the over three hundred horses.
     The Washington Company pack away about 350,000 tons of ice yearly. The number of wagons used by them to supply ice to Brooklyn and this city is about one hundred and fifty. Besides these companies, there is an ice company at Mott Haven, and one at West Farms that serves Harlem and vicinity with considerable quantities. About fifty wagons are also run by private individuals, who obtain their supplies from the larger dealers.
     The ice business is a very unhealthy one, and those persons who are constantly handling the article suffer severely with lung diseases, wasting away, or by paralysis.
     Icehouses are generally built of pine, with double walls, having a space between of about two feet, which is filled with sawdust.
     Old and experienced dealers calculate on securing their principal crop before the middle of January. It requires very clear, solid ice to withstand the intense heat of Summer, and after mid-winter there is a very strong probability that the ice will be porous, and less available for the market
     —Mercantile Journal

February 3, 1970 50 YEARS AGO
The Journal News

FROM POTS AND PANS TO THE PICKET LINE  Picketing has become "the in thing to do" these days and Clarkstown has had its share in the past few months.
     Monday morning saw some 50 mothers, many with children and baby carriages in tow, march in protest at New City against construction of a Reynolds Metals Company plant in Congers.
     Drivers passing the courthouse during the early morning drizzle slowed down to peek curiously at the pickets, many carrying signs such as "Can Reynolds," "Clean Air for Our Children," and "Save our Health."
     Sheriff's deputies were kept busy inside the courthouse trying to keep crying youngsters from disturbing court proceedings and forestalling tumbles down the marble steps.

REYNOLDS:  WE’LL QUIT IF THE TOWN OBJECTS  Supreme Court Justice Morrie Slifkin, Monday, at New City gave the Hudson River Valley Commission and the Reynolds Metal Company two weeks to file affidavits in the dispute over the company's plans to build in Congers.
     The HRVC had charged the company with failure to halt "preparation" activity at the site proposed off Route 303 for an aluminum can manufacturing plant.
     The HRVC had ordered the halt last Wednesday after a hearing at which Congers residents charged the $3 million plant would cause air and water pollution. The commission then obtained a show-cause order.
     Company spokesmen said construction has not been started but that contractors were working to keep the ground ready.
     Reynolds representatives indicated Monday the project would be dropped if there is direct opposition from local government.
     Two Clarkstown town councilmen, Dr. Frank Bolander and Anthony D'Antoni, said Tuesday morning they would not support the project until questions on pollution and environmental conditions have been cleared up.
     "I cannot go along with the proposal until charges of pollution have been disproved," Bolander said Tuesday morning, adding, "the burden of proof rests with Reynolds."
     The issue is expected to be brought up at Wednesday night's town board meeting.
     Officials at the HRVC said Tuesday morning they expected to be in contact with Reynolds representatives during the two-week period explaining they would call on them as the need arises for additional information.

This Week in Rockland (#FBF Flashback Friday) is prepared by Clare Sheridan on behalf of the Historical Society of Rockland County. To learn about the HSRC's mission, upcoming events or programs, visit or call (845) 634-9629.


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