I ran across this when I was doing some research for the restoration of the Union Building, originally the Davidson Fruit packing house. When these well-insulated buildings where built circa 1905 they were outfitted with a state of the art refrigeration unit. Water from Wilson's reservoir was used to spin a turbine which compressed ammonia, the common refrigerant of the era.
This advertisement indicates they manufactured two grades of ice: a high-grade ice made with city water, and a lower grade ice made with Indian Creek water from the same source which powered the compressors. I think "London Smoke" is a brilliant piece of marketing.
Category: [Downtown Hood River]
I wonder what this ice cost in todays dollars?
JKG on 26th May 2020 @ 7:05am
Probably or more stable process of providing ice, than hauling it from the Ice Caves in Trout Lake.
L.E. on 26th May 2020 @ 9:02am
As part of the renovation they've repurposed some of the ice forms as planter boxes. The turbine/ compressor unit is still in the basement, and will be visible through a cutout in the 1st floor. I'm helping with some interpretive signage.
ArthurB on 26th May 2020 @ 9:40am
Are you saying the Wilson St water will be a tourist stop? Have always wondered what was in there.
I remember the neighbors put a tab in their window letting the ice man know they needed ice and what size. It was next to the Gold Star flag indicating a family member lost in the war (WW II). That went the way of the early morning home delivery of milk, in glass bottles of course. Which also included doing a chin up at the A & P grocery store where my mother would lay down stamps for sugar and coffee.
nels on 26th May 2020 @ 10:16am
Different water system, nels. There was a turbine on the drinking water pipe at the Wilson Street reservoir, but I'm talking about the turbine in the basement of the Union Building down by the railroad tracks. I don't think it will be open to the public normally, but hopefully we can get to see it by special arrangement. The owner is very proud of the history.
ArthurB on 26th May 2020 @ 11:36am
in addition to domestic use, this ice was probably used in the fruit rail freight cars? would guess that if it was it would have been the London smoke grade...probably had a coal flavor. yes, would love a tour
Arlen Sheldrake on 26th May 2020 @ 2:55pm
The major purpose for the ice plant was to make ice for the insulated rail cars. I think this was just a side market because they had capacity, especially when they weren't shipping fruit.
ArthurB on 26th May 2020 @ 4:19pm
I think I smell a story for the newspaper there Arthur!
nels on 26th May 2020 @ 10:06pm
All this time I have assumed that Wilson Reservoir was named for Henny Wilson, the lady at the photo shop.
Barbara Parsons on 14th January 2021 @ 6:54pm