American Coal and Ice Company Ice House

Southeast Corner - 9th Street and Washington Avenue. Image provided by City of Philadelphia Department of Records

1101-1133 S. 9th street.

Until it was demolished in 2008, the ice house 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. A developer bought the parcel but has yet to announce plans for the site.