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Saratoga’s Ice Was a Hot Commodity in the 19th Century

Each winter, ice from Loughberry, Geyser and Granite lakes was "harvested."

Ice harvesters at work on Loughberry Lake (George S. Bolster Collection/Saratoga Springs History Museum)

In the days before electric refrigeration, Saratoga Springs was a hotspot for the coldest of industries. Each winter, the ice that formed on Loughberry, Geyser and Granite lakes was “harvested,” and 250-pound ice “cakes” were then sold throughout Saratoga and as far south as New York City.

In fact, in the mid-to-late 1800s, the ice harvested from the upper Hudson River and surrounding lakes supplied the ice for most of the Eastern US. In the 1920s, Saratoga’s ice trade melted away with the advent of electric refrigeration, and the Saratoga Ice Company, the last remaining operator of its kind, was purchased by Stewart’s Shops’ founding brothers, Percy Dake and Charles Dake, who began making and selling artificial ice.

By the Numbers: Saratoga Winter

Number of official weather stations in Saratoga Springs 

63 Average snowfall, in inches, Saratoga sees each year

35 Inches of snow that covered Saratoga on December 17, 2020

1,500 Tons of salt used during said December 17, 2020 snow event

58 Inches of snow that covered Saratoga on March 12, 1888

400 People who died in the Blizzard of 1888

24 Number of snowplows that service 366 miles of county roads in Saratoga County 

15 Weight of one snowplow in elephants

18 Maximum tons of salt a Saratoga County snowplow can carry

1,000 Tons of salt used per “snow event” in Saratoga County, on average 

Natalie Moore

Natalie Moore is the director of content at Saratoga Living and Capital Region Living.

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