The Luxury Of Cold: The Natural Ice Industry In Boca, California: 1868-1927

Author(s): Leo Demski

Year: 2017


Before the invention of refrigeration and electrically produced ice, naturally harvested ice was an important seasonal commodity for food storage and heat regulation. In 1852, Boston ice was shipped to San Francisco and sold as a luxury. High demand soon led entrepreneurs to look for closer sources of ice, first in Russian controlled Alaska, and then in the Californian Sierra Nevada Mountains along the newly-completed transcontinental railroad line. The railroad transported ice to customers, utilizing it to ship perishable food items over long distances in refrigerated cars. The town of Boca, in the eastern Sierra, dominated the Californian ice market from the late 1860s-late 1920s, due to its extremely cold and dry conditions, purity of water, and proximity to the railroad. This presentation will discuss the archaeology taking place at Boca, as well as attempting to situate the Sierra ice industry in the broader context of economic and industrial development of the late 19th-early 20th century West.

Cite this Record

The Luxury Of Cold: The Natural Ice Industry In Boca, California: 1868-1927. Leo Demski. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430368)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -125.464; min lat: 32.101 ; max long: -114.214; max lat: 42.033 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17573