American Ice Company

“American Ice Company ICE and COAL”

Captured just in time. 

Dating back at least 100 years (listed on 1875 atlases as the Knickerbocker Ice Co.), the icehouse was one of three in the Italian Market area alone, and stood as a reminder of the pre-refrigeration and pre-electricity era. The iceman would haul large blocks of ice on a horse-drawn carriage (and later in a truck) to businesses and homes, chiseling off pieces to fit in the icebox. The American Ice and Coal Company also supplied many of Philadelphia’s once-numerous local breweries. Similarly, coal carriages and trucks ran down the alleys behind homes, delivering coal through each house’s chute that emptied into rowhouse cellars. Abandoned for 40 years, the interior of the structure was so deteriorated that the building could not be rehabbed. The Redevelopment Authority designated the blocks around the icehouse “blighted” in order to condemn the structure. The icehouse was demolished in January 2008.

View, looking southeast, at other buildings in the complex, 1915. These no longer stood at the time the photos at top were taken. Philadelphia Department of Records. 27 November 2007. <>.

9th and Washington Avenue [map]

Thanks for the tip, Laura!

5 responses to “American Ice Company”

  1. Frank Jump says:

    I’m assuming these aerial shots are from a bridge. Great vantage.

  2. Lawrence says:

    Actually this (and others on the site) are screengrabs from, using their “bird’s eye” view. Found it while looking for a way to geotag these posts… has become a pretty useful tool for locating signs…

  3. Frank Jump says:

    Cool! I’ve been using Google but this looks even better.


  4. Dan says:

    Hello, thanks for the photos. I leave nearby and am looking for info on the demolition and development. I know I can check with the city, but was wondering if anyone knew offhand what the owners are doing with the site. Thanks, Dan

  5. Lawrence says:

    Dan –

    There is a link to an article in the text of the post. There is a little info there:

    “Councilman Frank DiCicco has introduced a plan that highlights an abandoned ice factory as blighted territory so the city can begin reconstructing it as a senior’s housing complex.

    The plan calls for the development of a mid-rise complex with commercial use on the ground level and residential housing on the upper levels.”

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