Cape Pond Ice Company 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. Webster dammed a local brook and built his first icehouse on what became known as Webster's Pond, today the site of Veteran's Memorial School and the Route 128 extension.By using our Gloucester trip planner, you can arrange your visit to Cape Pond Ice and other attractions in Gloucester.
The ice industry went through rapid growth, and within four years Webster built ice houses on Upper & Lower Day's ponds, where Foster's Service Station is located, and on Cape Pond in Rockport, which the company is still named for.
As the fisheries flourished in the years following the Civil War, so did the ice industry. Every body of water accessible by teams of men and horses was soon harvested for ice during the winter months.
In 1946 entrepreneur John Ryan built the present Cape Pond Ice manufacturing plant at the end of Commercial Street on the site of the Fort Wharf Company on Gloucester Harbor. This was a "modern" block plant, with 3,600 4' X 2' X 1' molds for 300 pound ice blocks. These blocks were manufactured in an indoor concrete "pond" that was refrigerated with compressed ammonia and harvested by overhead cranes. Over 300 tons of ice were made each day to reliably serve the needs of a then flourishing fishing industry.
In 1992 Cape Pond Ice's plant on The Fort was again modernized, with a 40 ton automatic TURBO machine which makes ice on stainless steel plates, two 50 ton capacity rake bins, and a delivery system to convey ice to trucks, boats, fish processors and the packaged production line.
The fishing vessels pulling up to the company wharf take anywhere from 300 pounds to 30 tons of ice per fishing trip. The company is open year round, and round-the-clock for commercial appoinments. Cape Pond Ice can pump at a ton per minute on up to three fishing vessels at a time, as well as loading tractor trailers and trucks with either block ice or blown crushed ice. Pallets of 30 pound, 40 pound, and 5 pound bagged ice are shipped around Cape Ann and New England.
In addition to commercial fishing vessels and processors, the company serves broccoli and poultry farmers, redi-mix concrete contractors, and custom ice sculpture markets.
Up to 30 workers are employed during busy summer months, working two shifts and operating up to four delivery vehicles. As locals know, on a hot summer weekend or July 4th, Cape Pond Ice is the source for ice bags and crushed ice for parties and picnics.
In addition to ice, Cape Pond Ice also has a complete merchandise line available on our website www.capepondice.com and in our Gloucester Shop. Popularized by the Perfect Storm, Mike Rowe from Dirtiest Jobs, and now Nat Geo's Wicked Tuna Series-Our iconic tee shirts have been worn by generations of Gloucester fishermen and now by "cool" guys everywhere.
Tours of our Gloucester Icehouse are also offered on a daily basis in the Summer and by appointment off season. On a hot summer day our 28 degree icehouse is the place to be!
Cape Pond Ice Reviews
I don’t even know what to say! Such a historic kind of place to visit! By land and/or sea this is a place to check out!! I have pictures...guess just not on my phone! So fun! more »
The video preceding our tour was fascinating....a real trip back in time. And learning about how the ice industry grew, and how it has been an essential part of the fishing industry was very interesti... more »
Bought some great t-shirts and a book. Very friendly, great conversation and laughs. I am more than happy to spend my money on the local businesses in Gloucester. The community has been so warm and welcoming.
Plan your trip to Gloucester
Get a personalized planA complete day-by-day itinerary
based on your preferences
Customize itRefine your plan. We'll find the
best routes and schedules
Manage itEverything in one place.
Everyone on the same page.
View all >
Side trips from Gloucester
Kid-friendly things to do in Gloucester
Hidden gems in Gloucester
Nearby attractions in Gloucester
Plans to Cape Pond Ice by other users
7 days in Gloucester BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, popular sights PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 8 days in New England BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, relaxing, romantic, beaches, shopping, popular sights PREFERENCES: October, relaxing, romantic, beaches, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 7 days in North of Boston & Greater Merrimack Valley BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, kids, hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium