At this time of year when many of us are wishing that all of the snow and ice would quickly melt, the Pennsylvania German settlers in this area were preparing to make use of the ice. This valuable commodity would be harvested from frozen waterways and carefully stored in thick-walled stone ice houses, where it would last into the summer months. Having ice on hand better enabled settlers to preserve a variety of foods and provided the luxury of serving guests a cool drink in warmer weather.
At the Dreibelbis Farm in Virginville, a pond located on the property is frozen with thick ice after many days of freezing temperatures. In the 18th century, the residents of the farm would carve blocks of ice from this pond and cart them to the nearby ice house on the property.
On Sunday, Feb. 9 at 2:30 p.m., the Dreibelbis Farm Historical Society (DFHS) will be hosting a presentation of 18th century Pennsylvania German ice harvesting at the Historic Dreibelbis Farm. The demonstration will include cutting and harvesting ice blocks from the ice pond, hauling the ice to the ice house, loading the ice house and a demonstration of the tools used. A bonfire and hot chocolate will be available after the presentation, and the farm grounds and nature trail will be open to the public.
The event is free to the public and will be held rain or shine, with only blizzard conditions cancelling. Attendees are encouraged to dress for the weather. For more information, please contact Mark Dreibelbis at 610-488-7896 or DreibelbisFarm@gmail.com, or visit us on the web at www.dreibelbisfarm.org.
The Historic Dreibelbis Farm is located on Route 143 south of the village of Virginville. GPS Address: 356 Hard Hill Road, Hamburg. Parking is available on-site.
The Ice Harvesting Demonstration is the first of several events to be hosted in 2014 by the DFHS, to enable them to fulfill their mission to preserve and protect the historic Dreibelbis Farm and to make it available to the public for educational, historical and environmental purposes. The second annual Wetlands and Wildflowers Walk will be held in May and the third annual Historic Farm Festival will be held in August.