Learn At Our Historic Mill

The Ice Business

Grades:

4-12

Objective:

Understand how primary sources can be used to learn about the past, and use primary sources to understand how ice was used by local companies.

Method:

Students will read historic letter and answer questions based on their reading

Materials:

Time:

  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes
  • Class Time: 15-20 minutes

Procedure:

  • Explain that ice was chosen for many reasons. We can learn about the use of ice in the area around East Meredith from old letters that have been left behind.
  • Distribute copies of the Ice Business Letter. Since the letter is handwritten, the copy includes a transcription to help read the letter. You may wish to ask students to try to read the letter without looking at the transcription first.
    • Discuss what the letter is about with the class.
      Questions to ask:

    • Who wrote this letter and when?
      Answer: W.S. Pierson on October 25, 1902/li>
    • Who is the letter written to?
      Answer: D.J. Hanford and Sons – mill owners
    • What company did the writer of the letter work for?
      Answer: He was a manager at the Empire State Dairy Company
    • What is a dairy and what type of products does it handle?
      Answer: A dairy is an establishment that processes dairy products. The letter indicates it processes milk and cream
    • Why does a dairy have an ice house?
      Answer: They use the ice to refrigerate their dairy products.
    • Why do you suppose the writer wants a place to store sawdust?
      Answer: Sawdust was used as insulation in ice houses.
    • Where might he get the sawdust?
      Answer: The sawmill, which is also selling him wood for his building project..

Assessment:

  • Participation in class discussion (listening and speaking)
  • Completion of worksheet

NYS Learning Standards:

  • ELA 1
  • SS 4

Vocabulary & Spelling Words

    Creamery – n. an establishment where milk and cream are processed and dairy products are made. Also known as a “dairy”.

    Dairy – n. an establishment where milk and cream are processed and dairy products are made. Also known as a “creamery”.

    Hemlock – n. an evergreen tree, native to the U.S. Its wood is often used in making paper and in building construction.

    Icehouse – n. a building for storing ice.

    Sawdust – n. the tiny bits of wood that fall away when wood is sawn.