In 1878, the Lynn Milk Company (of Lynn, MA), opened a branch in Hampton. The owner, Curtis DeLancey, had been supplying ice to coastal communities for some time. In 1895, David Lamprey signed a ten-year contract to fill DeLancey's new icehouse in Hampton.
The Lamprey family business included providing ice to families and other businesses along the New Hampshire seacoast and in southern Maine. The biggest market for ice in Hampton was at Hampton Beach, with restaurants, cottage owners, and fishermen (who used the ice to preserve their catch) as the best customers. The Lampreys cut two thousand tons of ice each year. Ice harvesting took place at Ice Pond each winter, with huge cakes of ice cut from the pond and dragged (often behind teams of horses) to an adjacent ice house. There, the some of the ice was stacked and covered in salt hay or sawdust, and stored until the following summer.
In 1963, Eugene Levitt's ice house on the shore of Ice Pond burned to the ground. According to one resident, the foundation of that ice house is still below the surface of the pond. The Lamprey family continued to use their ice house until the 1970's, when their ice house was removed.
During the years when ice was being harvested from Ice Pond, the dam would be opened each summer by removing its stop logs. The pond drained so it could be mowed. Then the stop logs would be put back in place and the pond filled with water again during the Fall. This annual process ensured that the ice harvested each winter was clear and clean of any pond vegetation.
The pond on Woodland Road in Hampton, New Hampshire was used for decades by the Leavitt and Lamprey families to harvest ice.
Cutting ice with a large hand saw on Ice Pond. A circular saw, for laying out the cuts, is in the background.
Pulley systems lift heavy blocks of ice into the ice house for storage.
Historic photos courtesy of J. Lamprey