Thursday, March 5, 2015

Lorain Crystal Ice Company – Part 5

A few days after the conclusion of my series on the Lorain Crystal Ice Company, I received an email from Bob Kovach, who has generously contributed many great photos and reminisces to this blog over the years.

Bob has an interesting connection with the Lorain Crystal Ice Company. He wrote, "I have some pictures of the concrete plant that was across from the ice house. I helped tear down the concrete plant in the early 80's while working out of the old ice house for the Sewer Dept."

(As I mentioned on my post, Lorain Crystal Ice Company became Lorain Ready Mixed Concrete in the late 1950s, and the city acquired the property in the 1970s.)

Bob was not only kind enough to share his photos, but he also prepared some special graphics to document the layout of the ice house and the concrete plant, and where they were located relative to the road leading down to Hot Waters.

Here's his map of the area (below).

Bob Kovach's Map showing the layout of the ice house of the former
Lorain Crystal Ice Company, as well as the company's cement plant 
Regarding the ice house, Bob explained, "The only section I can say for sure of being part of the ice house was the first section that was on your left as you drove down the hill towards Hot Waters. It was a huge open area with walls lined with cork. By this time, the cork was deteriorating and falling off. The water dept used it to store cold patch. It did not have a connecting doorway to the next area. 
Compare this photo with Bob's map and explanation at left
to understand the layout of the building
"The next area was not insulated. It had an old wooden staircase that went up to the area with the old wooden barn doors. We could never go up there because the floor for that room was rotting away. The Sewer dept used it to store misc equipment and it did have a door connecting it to the next room. There were some sections in this room that were once lined with wood and behind the wood there was sand. Insulation maybe? Connected by a doorway the next room was a large open area were Sewer Department trucks were kept. The rest of it was just really old block wall rooms."
Next, Bob described what he remembered about the cement plant.
He wrote, "Now about the cement plant. In 1985, the Sewer Dept. was assigned the task of tearing down the structure. I believe that cinder block and possibly red brick were also made there because of the drying kilns and also many broken bags of red colorant of some sort. There was a ladder that went way above the whole structure. Why, I don't know – but you could see way out over the lake."

Here are Bob's photos of the cement plant. The oldest shot (showing the ladder) is from 1973 and the demolition shots are from 1985.

1973 view of cement works
Cement plant loading docks
Cement Works
Cement Works
Cement Works
Cement Works
Control Room
Amazingly, Bob even prepared a special aerial shot of the whole area with labels. I asked him where he got the photo and was surprised by his answer. Bob replied, "I use to rent out a plane and pilot from the flight school at the county airport a few times a year back then. That's what I did for fun!"
Here is Bob's vintage aerial shot of the whole Hot Waters area. You won't find this on Bing Maps!
Bob concluded, "I hope that between my description and map you get a little better idea of how it was set up down there. Wish I took more pictures back then but I am so glad I took what I did."
I am too, Bob – and thanks for sharing and making the story of the Lorain Crystal Ice Company more complete!


Wireless.Phil said...

I'm trying to figure out where this was?
Any street names?

Wireless.Phil said...

Never mind, I figured it out, near hot waters.

Dan Brady said...

Just saw your comments--glad you figured it out. The photo does show an unusual angle for an area that most Lorainites would normally recognize.