Monday, March 23, 2009
Childhood Visits to the Fulton Ice Plant
The Fulton Ice Plant was built during the 1920s "under the hill" on Main Street in Fulton and was continuously in business for many years. The ice manufacturing company was in Fulton's first shopping center outside the downtown area on property owned by the Gaither family. Located in this strip of buildings owned by the Gaither family were the Sinclair Service Station (later Smith's Shoe Store), the Fulton Ice Plant, Rushing's Fabric Store and Rushing's Sporting Goods.
Going to the ice plant as a child was fascinating and fun. On those hot and sweltering Mississippi summer days, the dark interior of the ice plant was cool and refreshing. Huge blocks of ice were dragged along the wooden floors and with the help of large tongs, those blocks of ice would be hoisted upon the saw table, then cut into 9 smaller blocks. It was always fun to stand near the ice crusher as those smaller blocks of ice were fed into the crusher. A fine mist of frozen ice particles would shoot from the noisy crusher, cooling your face. The crushed ice would drop into large brown double-layered paper bags holding twenty pounds of ice. I remember the ice from the Fulton ice plant was always crystal clear. During the summer months, watermelons in season would be sold ice cold from the building.
During the late 1950s I remember my mom would buy ice by the block from the ice plant and use an ice pick to chip away at the ice in a large dish pan. It seems iced sweet tea was better back then - maybe it was because of that quality chipped ice used to fill the glass.