In 1826, Asa Thompson dammed a small brook from natural springs on his property and created Thompson Pond. Initially, he cut ice for his farm, but soon his neighbors wanted some, so he began a commercial ice business. Soon after, he built an ice house for storage of this sought-after commodity. Thompson Pond ice was sought after by local fishermen, yachtsmen, refrigerated trucks transporting shellfish, local and summer residents and even people who just wanted to make ice cream. Five generations of the Thompson family and two private contractors ran the ice business until 1985.
From his early childhood, Norman Hamlin remembered Mr. Thompson delivering ice to his family’s summer house in Christmas Cove. Once retired from his work as a naval engineer and professor, Hamlin worked closely with Herbert Thompson to secure nonprofit status and establish the Thompson Ice House Preservation Corporation. In 1987, Herb Thompson generously donated the ice house, property, pond and dam to the Thompson Ice House Preservation Corporation on the condition that it must be preserved and operated as a museum. The Corporation rebuilt the ice house using as much of the old wood as possible, and since 1990, the ice house has been a working museum. Naturally frozen ice is cut and stored each winter, weather permitting. Norman Hamlin served as the first president until his passing in 2007.
The Amthor Stone Welter Outdoor Museum display board shows photos of the 1964-65 ice cutting taken by Mr. Welter. Welter’s wife, Erica, was instrumental in forming the Thompson Ice House Preservation Corporation.
The Thompson Ice House was recognized by the National Historic Register in 1974, and is believed to be the only commercial ice house on the register to continue to store naturally harvested ice from a nearby pond in the traditional way.
Kenneth Lincoln, President • (207) 644-8808 • firstname.lastname@example.org