Saturday, July 18, 2009

Historic landmarks emerge

The guys have continued to clear the old fallen trees, vines, and brush. Here, they uncovered our historic ice house. We knew it was there, it was just covered in fallen trees & vines. It's set in a small hill beside the main house. I'd like to restore the ice house one day & use it to store canned goods and such. It's in my list of grand ideas for this property.

Here is what looks like some sort of historic well ~ it's right beside the ice house. It's about 3 feet round. If you take off the cover there's water down there. The walls are made from metal. The cover is also heavy metal.

This is what it looks like inside:

The interier well looks pretty deep; we aren't able to tell how deep it is. We were told it may be something from the historic days used to produce electricity which was run to the house. We have another historic water well on the property which looks nothing like this.

This house was built in the mid 1800's, and there was a prior house on this property from the 1700's. If you know anything about such things, please let us know! I've researched it, but have found nothing online.


Lee said...

That ice house is really cool. I'd love to see some pictures inside it. A root cellar is on my todo list one of these days. Too bad we don't already have one on site.

I'm trying to figure out how they would use a well for electricity production. A steam powered generator would need a source of water, but that seems unlikely unless the former owners were really wealthy. It's not an actively flowing water source like a spring that you could use to drive a turbine. Hmmm, very curious.

Razzberry Corner said...

We still need to clean out the inside of the ice house; it has trash/junk in it. It's just concrete walls, no shelves or anything that I noticed. I don't know why people put trash in there - there's an old mattress frame & some other junk... We have yet to clear out the tree stumps beside it & the vines in front. Several trees had fallen down right on top of the ice house & then vines grew over the whole thing. I'll post pics when we're all done with it.

Razzberry Corner said...

Lee~ An older man told us that chemicals were put down in the well which produced a reaction or something. I don't know much about it. There were some jugs of chemicals beside it, one of them was ammonia which about made me pass out when I opened it once. I haven't found anything online about this type of thing, so I really don't know... The well has a double tank, as can be seen from the pics, and it's metal. There's water in there, although it looks all rusted from the metal. It's not attached to the well system for the house. It's a mystery ~ and I don't like unsolved mysteries!! -Lynn

Lee said...

Very cool. Your property has all the neat antique things that I hoped ours would!

That is a mystery. The closest thing I could find was the ammonia motor. The basic concept is to use the force of expanding ammonia gas to power a piston much like a steam engine. Since ammonia is lethal and explosive, they would dissolve it in water to stabilize it, and use an inner and outer tank arrangement so that as the expanding ammonia chilled the inner tank the condensing ammonia could heat the outer tank. The time period is right .. first mentioned in 1822 and used to drive street cars by 1880s. However, on that site I linked to and it's references, I can find no mention of it being used for electricity production. Besides, that would suggest you have a steam engine to uncover nearby! :)

Another possibility is ammonia absorptive refrigeration. You can find a description here. A tank of water, ammonia, and a heat source can be used to create a chilling system. Not electricity production, but the proximity to the ice house made me wonder.

Razzberry Corner said...

Lee ~ This is just amazing! I read the links you provided & will to study up on the use of ammonia. I think the "well" has something to do with creating a chilling system for the ice house, since it is directly beside the ice house. Maybe it wasn't an ice house, but one of the first walk in refrigerator/freezers, instead! Thank you for pointing me in the right direction!! -Lynn