From about 1897 through the 1920s, a distinctive feature of the Evanston landscape was the icing station. It was created as a joint venture between the Union Pacific Railroad and the Pacific Fruit Express Company of California. By 1914, the icing station included 2 large ponds and 9 wooden ice houses located along the railroad tracks.
Many of the icing station's workers were single men from Greece and Turkey who lived in small shacks that surrounded the ice ponds. These workers harvested ice in the winter and stored it in the ice houses.
When produce cars arrived at the station, ice blocks were delivered via conveyor to a long shed next to the railroad tracks. Men used tongs to carry and drop blocks of ice into hatches at either end of the produce cars. By the early 1920s, faster trains and electric refrigeration made the icing station obsolete.
Restoration Since the ice ponds were restored and refilled, they are used as a community gathering place for fishing, canoeing, and ice skating. For more information on the ice ponds, please contact the Evanston Parks and Recreation Department / District at 307-789-1770.