A 173-year-old business that was started to fill a need for Gloucester's fishing industry is still doing its job on the waterfront.
One day last week, plant manager Larry Memhard and his crew at Cape Pond Ice Company on Commercial Street were busy filling up the holds of local fishing boats with ice to keep their fresh catches fresh. Among the customers were the fishing vessel Sea Farmer II and Capt. TJ Ott's Hot Tuna, which is featured in National Geographic's reality TV show "Wicked Tuna."
Cape Pond Ice was started as Gloucester Co. in 1848 by blacksmith Nathaniel R. Webster, who recognized the need for supplying the fresh fish industry with a reliable, volume source of ice. Prior to that time fish – primarily halibut and cod – was preserved by salting and brine.
The fishing vessels pulling up to the company wharf take anywhere from 300 pounds to 30 tons of ice per fishing trip, according to Cape Pond Ice's website. Cape Pond Ice can pump at a ton per minute on up to three fishing vessels at a time.
The company is open year round, and round-the-clock for commercial appointments.