Ice and Cold Storage Industry in Utah

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This page was last updated on July 19, 2023.

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During the period of the 1880s there were two types of ice available for use and sale to business and the general public. The most common was "natural ice" which was harvested from ponds, creeks and rivers during winter months then stored for use during summer months. The second type was the result of new technologies in the 1870s and 1880s, which allowed the manufacture of ice, usually known as "artificial ice," or "distilled water ice."

By its definition for industrial America in the early 1880s, cold storage meant storing a product on ice, or in an ice-cooled enclosure. The growing availability of refrigerators and freezers brought manufactured ice to the public's attention, as a replacement for natural ice. Cold storage was needed while products such as fruits and vegetables were stored in-transit, between the fields where they were grown and the markets where they were sold. Cold storage also applied to the in-transit storage of fresh meat, from slaughter house to market. Cold storage was also used in the shipment of eggs and dairy products, such as milk and butter. In 1883 the largest refrigerated storage building in the nation was reported to be the Quincy Market Cold Storage company of Boston, with the building measuring 80 feet by 100 feet, and 70 feet high. It held 600,000 tons of ice and was made of stone and brick.

Cold storage was vital for the storage of slaughtered chickens and turkeys, since the storage of slaughtered beef, pork, and mutton was less troublesome that the storage of chicken and turkeys, with poultry beginning to spoil within hours of the kill. Cold storage of dairy products (milk and butter) also needed almost immediate cold storage before turning sour.

Making Ice

The most common method of making artificial ice, or "distilled water ice," was by use of the anhydrous ammonia expansion process. The process included compressors to compress the ammonia to a liquid, then routing the liquid ammonia through pipes that themselves were run through tanks of circulating brine solution. The compressed ammonia was cold by its nature and removed the heat from the brine solution and reverted to a gas. The brine solution in-turn removed the heat from tanks of distilled water suspended the brine tanks, freezing the water. The water tanks were generally 11 inches by 22 inches by 48 inches, producing ice cakes that weighed 300 pounds. The freezing process took 50 to 60 hours. The water tanks with their frozen ice cakes were removed from the brine tanks and hot water was flushed over their exteriors, releasing the ice from the tanks. The ice cakes were then transported to storage rooms that were maintained at sub-zero temperatures, using refrigeration equipment that used a similar process to cool the air in the storage rooms.

The May 1891 issue of Popular Science had an excellent article, with illustrations, about the making of artificial ice.

(Read the Popular Science article) (PDF; 12 pages; 1.7MB)

Mountain Ice & Cold Storage (1890-1894)

There were regular references in the national media about the benefits of artificial ice and cold storage throughout the mid and late 1880s, so it shouldn't be surprising that the concept came to Utah soon after. The first company to offer ice and cold storage in Utah was the Mountain Ice & Cold Storage company, incorporated in Utah on March 21, 1890. As expected, the company was "organized for the purpose of making, gathering and storing ice and selling the same. Also to construct buildings and apparatus for cold storage rooms." By mid July construction of the foundations was under way, with the building being located in Salt Lake City on 3rd West between 8th South and 9th South, and measuring 158 feet by 95 feet. Its artificial ice making machine would be capable of producing 50 tons per day. It was reported that the ice factory would be twice the size of the plant in Denver, and would be the largest in the West.

Artificial ice was badly needed in Salt Lake City by early summer 1890, with the supply of natural ice being almost exhausted. In September 1890, pending the completion of its ice manufacturing plant, the Mountain Ice company was purchasing 400 tons of natural ice from the Ogden City Brewing company at the rate of a car load a day, for a total of 34 cars. The ice was being sold in Salt Lake City at the retail price of $1 per 100 pounds. The new plant opened in late September 1890, at 860 South 3rd West, and for the first time in Salt Lake City, offered "distilled water ice" to the public. At the time of its opening, the company sold artificial ice, as well as natural ice made from ponds filled only with pure waters from Parleys and Cottonwood creeks.

The earliest meat packing business in Utah was White & Sons located in downtown Salt Lake City. Throughout May 1890 the company advertised that they were in search of 100 acres of property away from the city to allow the construction of a packing house, cold storage plant, and stock yards. The new site was located just across the Salt Lake-Davis county line in North Salt Lake, adjacent to the newly organized Salt Lake Union Stock Yards, with a slaughter house incorporating a "chill room." The twin companies of slaughter house and stock yards opened in June 1892. The White & Sons company's cold storage warehouse was located on 1st South at the corner with 3rd West, but was used solely to chill and store slaughtered animal carcasses awaiting shipment to market.

In May 1890 there was a news item in the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper reporting that an Eastern company was searching for a location in northern Utah to build an ice factory. It was noted that the ice that company was already manufacturing was by the use of condensed steam. Artificial ice made by this process was chemically pure and much purer than natural ice, and could be delivered at a much lower price than natural ice. Along with its ice factory, the company was planning on offering a cold storage warehouse and a creamery for the manufacture of ice cream.

The Ogden Artesian Ice company was incorporated in Utah on April 26, 1893, "for the purposes of manufacturing and selling artificial ice and conducting a cold storage business." The company began construction of its plant on March 24th, and began producing artificial ice on May 29, 1893 from its newly completed Ogden plant.

No specific location was given for the Ogden Artesian Ice company. No further references to the company in available online newspapers other than a property tax complaint by the company in 1897. The company's license to do business in Utah was forfeited in March 1910, along with the licenses of thousands of other companies that failed to pay the state legislature's newly adopted annual business license tax. The companies were listed on nine newspaper pages, each with three columns of more than 200 companies, making a total of between 5000 and 6000 companies.

(It should be noted here that there was very little online newspaper coverage of artificial ice plants in any location other than Salt Lake City.)

According to data taken from the U. S. Census for 1900, the growth of the manufactured ice industry in that decade was dramatic. The number of ice manufacturing plants in the Western and Pacific states went from 20 to 73. The most growth was in Kansas and California, which increased from 4 to 15, and from 7 to 20, respectively. The census data shows none in Utah in 1890, and just one in 1900.

Unfortunately research in available online newspapers spanning the 1890s has shown little reference to manufactured ice in Utah after these early news items in 1890-1892. A few references noted that artificial ice was being made available in all the larger cities of the nation, and Utah would soon benefit from the growth of the industry. There were also news items from wire services complaining of the "Ice Trust" taking advantage of markets in the larger cities. The ads for Mountain Ice & Cold Storage in Salt Lake City newspapers ended in 1892, and an 1894 court case referenced an unpaid mortgage dated 1891, and trust deed court case against the company, without any further details. Additional references show that the company was reorganized as the Salt Lake Ice company, also in 1894. The plant had been out of service for several months, and repairs were completed in March 1894 by one of the experts associated with the Artesian company in Ogden. On January 2, 1895 the Salt Lake Ice & Cold Storage company, formerly the Mountain Ice & Cold Storage company, was sold to a local investor, with the note that during the past year the company, with its artificial ice plant, had secured practical control of the local ice market.

Salt Lake Ice Company (1895-1905)

During the the so-called "ice famine" of the summer of 1900, in regular public notices, the Salt Lake Ice company (the former Mountain Ice & Storage company) assured the public that they were operating their ice manufacturing plant at maximum capacity, and that their natural ice storehouses on East Canyon Creek were well stocked and furnishing plenty of ice.

At the start of the much publicized ice shortage of 1900, the Salt Lake Ice company began promoting its pure ice made from distilled water, indicating that its ice manufacturing plant was being operated successfully. During the first months of 1901 the company began advertising that they could deliver "pure Park City ice" in car load shipments to any station in Utah. In April 1901 the ads changed and began promoting both Park City ice, and "distilled water ice."

In a promotional item in the January 1, 1902 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune, the Salt Lake Ice company was noted as having succeeded the Mountain Ice & Cold Storage company in 1895. Its lakes and ice houses at Park City had an annual capacity of 15,000 tons of natural ice. Its ice manufacturing plant at 860 South 3rd West (with a daily capacity of 50 tons) was the only such plant in operation in the Intermountain West. The ice was made from water that was twice distilled and run through four maple charcoal filters. The plant had six storage rooms, each with three separate sets of coils that allowed any temperature to be maintained, from chilling, to deep and solid freezing.

The plant was situated on five acres [one city block], with rail spurs from both railroads: Union Pacific along 3rd (400) West on the east side, and Rio Grande Western along 4th (500) West along the west side. By the end of January the company also reported that it had already harvested 15,000 tons from its Park City ponds, and that an additional 3,000 tons would very soon be available. The ice being harvested was 14 inches thick, with recent cold wave increasing the thickness to 19 inches. The national standard for the highest grade, "High Standard," was 26 inches thick.

A June 1902 article about the Salt Lake Ice company laid out many details of the company's artificial ice plant. The freezing tank held 480 cans, with each can having a capacity of 220 pounds. It took 48 hours to freeze the water tanks, which were suspended in a tank of circulating brine solution that was maintained at 13 degrees below zero.

Tragedy struck on July 6, 1902 when the ice houses of the Salt Lake Ice company at Park City were totally destroyed by fire, along with two rail cars that were spotted at the ice houses for loading. It is unclear if the ice houses were rebuilt.

In April 1903, with growing competition for its commercial and industrial customers, the Salt Lake Ice company began to focus on its residential customers. The change resulted in many complaints of rising prices needed to cover the cost of shrinkage when the large 220-pound blocks were cut into smaller 10-pound residential blocks, as well as the cost of delivery. Previously the cost of delivery was spread out and was covered by all customers, but the reduced business from commercial and industrial customers meant that residential customers had to bare the full cost of delivery. Of course, the complaints became numerous and loud. Due to the ruckus from the local newspapers over consumer prices and the reported swindling by the company's drivers (overcharging for delivered ice), the company began advertising solely with the business-friendly Goodwin's Weekly and Truth newspapers.

The decline of Salt Lake Ice continued in June 1905 when the entire lot (165 feet by 330 feet) on which its ice manufacturing plant (150 feet by 100 feet) was situated, was sold to the Oregon Short Line for its new spur westward along 9th South. Although the ice company retained the remainder of its property (north half of the entire block), the Sanborn fire insurance map for 1911 shows all that remained on-site were an office, horse stables and a small ice house on the opposite side of the property, with an adjacent rail spur. In 1913 the entire south half of the block (minus the part used by the OSL spur across its southeast corner) was sold to American Foundry and Machine company, and later became part of the EIMCO industrial and steel fabrication complex in that part of Salt Lake City.

Throughout the 1900-1910 period, with the ready availability of small ice and refrigeration plants, from a wide variety of companies in the one- to ten-ton capacity, there were numerous accounts in the newspapers about multiple companies buying their own refrigeration plants. This rapidly expanding technology essentially did away with the need for both natural ice and manufactured ice for local commercial and industrial users. The remaining customers for the ice companies were the railroads shipping all manner of perishable items in refrigerator cars. This expanding market for ice continued to increase as the railroad refrigerator car traffic increased.

The other need was for the in-transit storage of both refrigerated and frozen foods, a need that was filled as the ice and cold storage companies all expanded their facilities to accommodate the growth. In those early years before World War I, there developed a growing need for in-transit refrigerated storage of butter and eggs, as well as freshly harvested fruits and vegetables. There were rail-served cold storage warehouses in many Utah cities, with the largest ones being in Salt Lake City, Ogden and Provo. But smaller cold storage warehouses were also located in almost every city along the Wasatch Front, and south into the eastern, central and southern parts of the state, and many of them were served by a rail spur, shipping and receiving as little as a single rail car per week.

Mountain Ice Company (1895-1902)

A new Mountain Ice Company was organized in January 1895, with plans for its own artificial ice plant. This was at almost the same time that the old Mountain Ice & Cold Storage was reorganized as the new Salt Lake Ice & Cold Storage company, on January 2, 1895.

In addition to its soon to be completed artificial ice plant, the new Mountain Ice company received natural ice from ponds located at Pleasant Valley Junction of the Rio Grande Western Railway. The ponds at Pleasant Valley Junction were fed by natural springs that had been certified as pure by the Salt Lake City health inspector. The new company was located at 534 West 3rd South. The two companies soon became fierce competitors (Salt Lake Ice's red wagons vs. Mountain Ice's white wagons), with the Salt Lake company continuing to advertise itself as the successor to the defunct Mountain company, and the Mountain company continuing to refute the claims. In the 1895 period, in addition to the Salt Lake Ice and Mountain Ice companies, there were smaller natural ice companies that included the Wasatch Ice Company, the Bountiful Ice Company, and the Park City Ice Company. All five had wholesale and retail outlets in Salt Lake City, serving commercial, industrial and residential customers.

By late 1897 there were several smaller artificial ice plants in Utah, with most of them being dedicated to one company and its own use, and not to serve the public market. All used the common anhydrous ammonia expansion process, freezing water that had been condensed from steam and filtered through charcoal filters. One example was a meat market that had installed both a chilling room and a freezer, with the refrigerator and ice machines being supplied by the Ideal Refrigerating & Manufacturing Company of Chicago.

There was in 1898 several references to unhealthy natural ice being sold, coming from fouled and stagnant water sources. The city and state boards of health became involved and began issuing certificates of purity. The ice companies ran regular public notices that they were reputable businesses and only obtained their natural ice from mountain streams in the Cottonwood canyons, from Parleys canyon, from the streams near Park City, and from spring-fed ponds at Pleasant Valley Junction. All of these locations were adjacent to the tracks of the Rio Grande Western Railway, with no reference to natural ice sources adjacent to railroad line of Union Pacific or its subsidiaries. There were several natural ice companies that maintained their own ice houses in Salt Lake City, including the Park City Ice company and the Salt Lake City Ice company. It should be noted that there were numerous businesses, such as breweries, that maintained their own ice ponds, for the harvesting of natural ice for their own use, and not for sale to the general public.

During late December 1898 Mountain Ice company was loading 50 cars per day of natural ice at Pleasant Valley Junction for shipment by the Rio Grande Western. The business was almost at the limit of RGW to furnish enough cars. The ice was shipped on RGW to both Salt Lake City and Ogden. In September 1898 RGW had signed a contract with Mountain Ice to furnish 33 car loads of ice (1000 tons; 2 million pounds) for the railroad's own use from its Pleasant Valley Junction location. The Pleasant Valley Junction ice was notable because its natural ice ponds were fed directly from adjacent springs that had been inspected and declared pure by Salt Lake City's health inspector.

In mid 1899 there were soon complaints of a local ice trust, made up of the 13 local ice companies. Natural ice still dominated the market, with manufactured ice taking up the slack during periods of high demand. This concept of on-demand manufactured ice allowed the ice companies to control the price of ice by limiting the supply by simply shutting down the manufacturing plant. Advertisements during the period of 1899 and 1900 specifically state that the Salt Lake Ice & Cold Storage company was the exclusive supplier of artificial ice to the Salt Lake City market.

In March 1900 the Mountain Ice company announced that they would build an ice manufacturing plant, to be located on 4th West between 2nd and 3rd South, near the proposed Union Depot. A new 4-inch water main was installed by the city, in advance of the expected completion of the manufacturing plant in mid July. City water was being used to make the distilled water, which in turn made "pure" artificial ice.

In late June 1900 the first of 50 car loads of ice from Denver was received by the Mountain Ice company. The natural ice supply in Salt Lake City was very near exhausted due to the mild weather during the past winter in Utah, making the annual ice harvest much less than normal. The ice manufacturing plant of the Salt Lake Ice company was working at maximum capacity to fill the need. The new plant for Mountain Ice was using the ice manufacturing equipment offered by the D. L. Holden & Brothers company of Philadelphia. Daniel L. Holden held at least eight separate patents for ice making machines, dating from 1869 to 1893.

Although the Holden equipment was installed by the Mountain Ice company's plant by September 1900, it apparently failed to operate correctly. In February 1902 Mountain Ice sued the Holden company for $35,000 for failing to make good on its guaranteed performance. Advertisements and news items in the issues of the Ice and Refrigeration magazine for the first half of 1900 show that there was a wide variety of ice making machines available from numerous companies. Mountain Ice happened to pick a non-performer. Instead of using the time consuming method of freezing tanks of water into solid blocks of ice, a process that took as long as 60 hours, the Holden design promised to produce flakes of ice that were then pressed into blocks of ice, in a process known as "regealed" ice. Mountain Ice's failure to manufacture ice became its downfall, and the building was later sold.

(No further references in available online newspapers for Mountain Ice Company after it sold its property to Salt Lake Ice company in August 1902.)

The disposition of Mountain Ice's building at 534 West 3rd South comes from the following nomination of the Western Macaroni Company building to the National Historic Register.

On May 5, 1900, the Mountain Ice Company applied for a permit to build a brick factory on the west half of Lot 8, Block 63. A mechanics lien filed in August 1900 suggests that C. Albert Rosten working for the D. L. Holden Company of Philadelphia was the builder. [Salt Lake Tribune, August 23, 1900] Access to the building was limited by existing houses and duplexes along 500 West and 300 South. In addition, ten brick cottages had been built on Denver Court just west of the property (demolished). The factory had a modest footprint and there was no possibility of a spur to the property even though rail lines ran along both 500 and 600 West. In 1902, the ice company sold the 500 West property to the Salt Lake Ice Company; however, the building appears to have been vacant between 1903 and 1904. [Both ice companies had another, more prominent, place of business. The 500 West property would have been a secondary location.] The Salt Lake Ice Company sold the property to John C. Lynch and Samuel Spitz, who owned the land and the building until 1945. In 1905, the Western Macaroni Manufacturing Company began leasing the building.

Ice and Cold Storage in Salt Lake City

Utah Ice & Cold Storage In Salt Lake City

(View a set of photos of the Utah Ice & Storage plants)

Utah Ice & Cold Storage had two plants in Salt Lake City:

November 2, 1902
The Utah Ice & Cold Storage Company was incorporated in Colorado "some weeks ago." the company had been incorporated in Colorado on October 21, 1902. (Salt Lake Telegram, October 21, 1902; Salt Lake Herald, November 2, 1902)

July 1, 1903
The Utah Ice & Cold Storage Company announced plans on October 21, 1902 that it would build an ice plant and storage rooms in Salt Lake City near the Rio Grande Western yard. The new plant was reported as having a capacity of 150 tons per day. A week after the initial announcement, a second announcement was made that gave the location as a lot 240 feet by 320 feet at the intersection of 3rd South and 5th West, with an expected cost of $200,000. The main building was to be 150 feet by 150 feet, and the adjacent cold storage building was also to be the same 150 feet by 150 feet. "One of the chief activities of the company is to supply ice for refrigerator cars in transit." The ice plant and cold storage plant were opened for operation on July 1, 1903. (Salt Lake Telegram, October 21, 1902; November 1, 1902; Deseret Evening News, November 1, 1902; Salt Lake Tribune, November 2, 1902; Deseret News, December 16, 1905)

The newly completed ice and cold storage plant, later known as the "Rio Grande Plant," had a unique rooftop searchlight (suspended 35 feet above the roof) used by the company to advertise that it was open for business. According to a newspaper dating from July 1903, this was the first searchlight to seen in Salt Lake City.

August 29, 1903
The Utah Ice & Cold Storage company advertised its distilled water ice for the first time. (Goodwin's Weekly, August 29, 1903)

In January 1904, the same officers and directors incorporated the Utah Ice & Cold Storage Company of Colorado Springs. (Salt Lake Telegram, January 29, 1904)

September 1910
Utah Ice & Storage company completed its new ice plant on 2nd North. The company had purchased the ground on 2nd North between 3rd and 4th West in late March 1910 for the purposes of building a new ice manufacturing plant and ice storage warehouse. With a reported cost of $200,000, the new facility was to have a daily capacity of 200 tons of ice per day. At the time, the existing plant on 3rd South had a daily capacity of 90 tons per day. Excavation work for the new plant began in mid April 1910. The new plant was completed in September 1910. By late November 1910 the new plant was producing 100 tons per day, half its planned capacity. (Ogden Standard, March 25, 1910; Salt Lake Tribune, March 25, 1910; Salt Lake Herald Republican, March 25, 1910; Deseret News, April 30, 1910; Salt Lake Tribune, June 15, 1910; November 27, 1910)

In early May 1910, the Oregon Short Line Railroad had built two spurs crossing 2nd North to serve the new ice plant and warehouse of the Utah Ice & Storage company. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 6, 1910)

Two photos made in 1911 by the Jeffery Manufacturing Co., makers of chain conveyors, shows a spiral conveyor on the icing platform at Utah Ice & Storage's Plant No.1 on 3rd South and 5th West, along with a chain conveyor at the company's Plant No. 2 on 2nd North and 3rd West.

The Sanborn fire insurance map for 1911 does not show an icing platform west of the Utah Ice & Storage building at 3rd South and 5th West.

In 1912 Utah Ice & Storage ran a six-inch cast iron pipe from its Short Line plant, located between 2nd and 3rd North and 3rd and 4th West, south for about a mile to its Rio Grande plant, located at the corner of 3rd South and 5th West. The distilling auxiliary at the Short Line plant had been built with "super abundant capacity" and was sufficient to supply distilled water for both plants. Both plants used the most modern equipment, with the Short Line plant having a daily capacity of 200 tons, and the Rio Grande plant having a daily capacity of 50 tons. The Rio Grande plant had recently been remodeled with a third story for ice storage, raising its storage capacity to 75 cars. The Rio Grande plant also furnished refrigeration, ice, electric power and lights to the adjacent Jensen Creamery and Crescent Ice Cream companies. Artificial ice had only been available in Salt Lake City since about 1903 ("nine years ago") and since that time the capacity had been raised from 80 tons per day, to 280 tons per day. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 14, 1912)

In April 1918, Utah Ice & Storage began construction of an ice plant in Ogden. (Read more about Utah Ice & Cold Storage in Ogden)

The following comes from the May 13, 1924 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune.

The growth of the Utah Ice and Storage company since its organization in 1922 from a daily capacity of eighty tons to its present capacity of 280 tons daily, with a storage capacity of 150 cars, is an Index to the development of Salt Lake City and the surrounding territory. Not the least interesting item of the plant's refrigerating machinery shown by Chief Engineer James B. Marshall, who smilingly explained how the ammonia taste in artificially produced ice exists only in the imagination, was that of a condenser formerly used In one of Utah's breweries. The Utah Ice and Storage company has two other Utah plants, located in Ogden and Provo, and, among other things, does the car icing for the Union Pacific, the Western Pacific, the Oregon Short Line and the Denver & Rio Grande Western railroads.

May 3, 1927
General Service Corporation, the new parent company of Utah Ice & Storage, was incorporated in Colorado on May 3, 1927. Among the five subsidiary companies in Utah, Colorado, and Nebraska, the Utah Ice & Storage company was noted as having five plants in Utah. (Provo Daily Herald, August 17, 1928)

August 11, 1928
At the time of the opening of the new joint D&RGW and WP rail yard "at the old church farm" (Roper), the Utah Ice & Storage company was noted as having a new icing dock at the same location with a capacity of 60 cars. The new icing dock was built at the expense of the two railroads. (Salt Lake Tribune, August 20, 1928)

August 20, 1928
In August 1928 the five plants of Utah Ice & Storage company came under the ownership of General Service Corporation, a new company incorporated in Colorado to own and manage the five plants in Utah, as well as six other plants of other new subsidiaries in Colorado and Nebraska. (Provo Daily Herald, August 20, 1928)

General Service Corporation declared bankruptcy in November 1935, along with its subsidiaries, Utah Ice & Storage, and Doyle Ice & Storage. The Doyle company was sold to American Refrigerator Transit in May 1936. (Salt Lake Tribune, April 6, 1936; May 12, 1936)

An aerial photo from 1937 shows a small icing platform adjacent to what was known as Utah Ice & Storage's "Short Line Plant" at about 430 West on 2nd (300) North. The icing platform was about six car lengths, and was sited along the eastern edge of the Union Pacific yard.

March 3, 1943
In March 1943 there was a newspaper reference to an "old ice plant" on 12th North and 3rd West in Provo becoming the collection point for tin cans for the war effort. The plant was located next to D&RGW's Provo Canyon Branch, and was served by a spur of that branch. The plant was not being used during 1935 when a fire destroyed the roof of the boiler and engine room. (Provo Daily Herald, September 2, 1934; July 29, 1935; March 3, 1943)

January 7, 1944
The Utah Ice & Storage ice plant at 12th North in Provo was "gutted" by a fire on January 7, 1944. The "old plant" had not been used since 1935. The plant had been built in 1909 by the Olsen and Dickson company, then sold to the Wasatch Ice company, then sold to the Utah Ice & Storage company. (Salt Lake Telegram, January 7, 1944)

Utah Ice & Storage began construction in May 1946 of a new addition to its Plant No. 2 at 430 West 2nd North in Salt Lake City. With a reported cost of $200,000, the new addition would increase Salt Lake City's ice production to 40,000 tons per year. The company's existing plants in Salt Lake City, Ogden and Provo produce about 85,000 tons of ice per year. The new plant was to be completed by July 1946. (Salt Lake Telegram, May 7, 1946)

At the same time as the changes in 1946 to the ice plant on 2nd North, Pacific Fruit Express built, and had completed by March 1946, a double-track ice dock about 1000 feet to the west, allowing access to trains of both Union Pacific and D&RGW. An overhead conveyor brought blocks of ice from the Utah Ice & Storage ice plant, to the new PFE ice dock. The new icing platform extended 550 feet, almost the entire distance between 2nd and 3rd North.

(View photos of the PFE icing platform in Salt Lake City, taken in March 1946)

A photo dated 1947, looking north along 5th West, shows a series of footings where the icing platform had been, and that the icing platform had been dismantled. This suggests that the function of icing refrigerator cars on D&RGW had either been moved to an icing platform at D&RGW's Roper yard (mentioned in 1934; 1,400 feet long; 30 cars), or as suggested in the item from 1959, below, to the new icing platform completed in July 1946 by Pacific Fruit Express near the Utah Ice & Storage ice plant on 2nd North (between 2nd and 3rd North; 550 feet long; 14 cars).

On June 28, 1949, the annex (No. 3 warehouse) of Utah Ice & Storage's "Rio Grande Plant" was destroyed by fire. The building was located a short distance south of the southeast corner of 3rd (300) South and 5th (600) West. Total reported damage was set at $1.3 million, and was reported as being the largest business fire in Salt Lake City's history. The large two-story structure was demolished and replaced by a new single-story freezing plant by early October 1949. (Deseret News, June 29, 1949; Salt Lake Tribune, June 29, 1949; Deseret News, June 30, 1949; Salt Lake Telegram, June 30, 1949; Salt Lake Tribune, October 3, 1949)

In a newspaper item in 1959 about a new cold-storage warehouse in Salt Lake City, it was reported that at its wholesale ice plant in Salt Lake City, at 2nd North adjacent to the Union Pacific yard, Utah Ice & Storage manufactured 200 tons of ice daily, and could store 4,000 tons of ice. "The greater share of this ice is used by Union Pacific RR, D&RG RR, Western Pacific RR, American Refrigerator Transit Co. and Pacific Fruit Express Co. for icing perishable fruit that moves through Utah by rail. Many of these train loads of foods use as much as 200 tons of ice at each icing platform." At the time, in 1959, Utah Ice & Storage was a subsidiary of Western Refrigeration Company, headquartered in Kansas City, Kansas. The same article also mentioned that shredded redwood bark, under the Palco brand name from Pacific Lumber Co., had been found to be the most efficient insulation for long-term storage of ice. (Deseret News, January 14, 1959; "Western Refrigeration Company, DBA [doing business as] Utah Ice & Storage Company, a subsidiary of Southeastern Public Service Company")

At some time between 1959 and 1965, the "Short Line Plant" on 2nd North was closed, and the "Rio Grande Plant" on 3rd South became the focus of operations. The 1959 date comes from an advertisement referring to the Salt Lake City "plants" having 200 tons capacity, and the 1965 date comes from an advertisement with a list showing the 3rd South plant as the only plant in Salt Lake City.

The Utah Ice & Storage building on 3rd South was demolished in December 2010. By that time, the building was alone on a vacant lot. The building that remained was the original ice plant built in 1903, and expanded many times over the years. By 2010, all of the expansions and add-ons had been removed.

By 1965 the three sites of the Utah Ice & Storage company were shown as being owned by Western Refrigeration Company of Utah, a division of Southeastern Public Service Company. The three sites were:

Western Refrigeration Company dates back to the early 1930s in Chicago, with references to it being "an Insull corporation," also owning the City Ice company with three ice plants in the Kansas City area. By late 1958, Western Refrigeration was advertising in local Ogden and Salt Lake City newspapers, offering their cold storage and freezer space and services. In June 1960, in a newspaper item about a new frozen food warehouse in Burley, Idaho, Western Refrigeration was shown as being a subsidiary of Southeastern Public Service company, with plants in Utah and California. The facility in Burley was to be built and managed by Sepsco, also a subsidiary of the Southeastern company, and was to be used by Idaho Potato Processors, Inc., for various products sold under the Ida Gold, Ida Pak, and Idaho Valley brand names.

The Southeastern Public Service company was a large holding company with interests in propane gas and natural gas production and distribution, ice manufacture and distribution, and cold storage facilities. It was a Delaware corporation in receivership in 1936, and had presented a plan to reorganize. In 1952 the company purchased the Railways Ice and Service company, which had ice plants in six states and three large cities, including Chicago, Memphis, and Kansas City. Missouri. The six states included Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Ohio. The Southeastern company continued to have a presence in Utah, through its cold storage and freezer plants, as late as November 1974.

In early 2021, a developer received approval by Salt Lake City to build a high-density residential development in Salt Lake City's Hardware District. The site includes the former site of the Utah Ice & Storage Plant No. 2, the Short Line Plant. To be known as the Ice House, the development would include 393 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments plus 41 town home units on 4.88 acres between 300 and 400 North.

Ice and Cold Storage in Ogden

The largest ice and cold storage facility in Utah was that of the Pacific Fruit Express company in Ogden, with the limitation that its facilities were solely for its own use. In 1954 PFE built a new ice manufacturing and storage facility at Riverdale, two miles to the south of the original site. The completion and continued improvements to PFE's Riverdale ice manufacturing and storage facility resulted in the reduced usage of its original facility adjacent to the main OUR&D yard in Ogden.

(Read about Pacific Fruit Express and its locations in Utah, especially in Ogden)

The PFE ice manufacturing plant in Ogden, located at 2550 Pacific Avenue, was sold to R. J. Wight, Inc. in early 1957. Wight also owned Ogden Poultry company, and the facility was used to store fresh and frozen turkeys and chickens. The Wight interests expanded the company's Ogden Quick Freezing and Storage company to use the entire former PFE facility. The Ogden Quick Freezing company had first leased space in the PFE facility as early as 1951. (Ogden Standard Examiner, November 7, 1957)

Utah Ice & Storage in Ogden

In addition to the large Pacific Fruit Express ice manufacturing and ice storage location in Ogden, Utah Ice & Storage had its own ice plants at two locations in Ogden.

September 1918
Utah Ice & Storage completed a new ice manufacturing plant in Ogden, with a reported capacity of 50 tons per day and 13,000 tons of storage. Construction of the new ice manufacturing plant in Ogden began in April 1918. The new ice plant was located adjacent to the existing plant of Pacific Fruit Express that was built "some 20 years ago." The ice was specifically to be used for the Pacific Fruit Express. Utah Ice & Storage had recently taken over the plant of the James Company on Wall Avenue, and together the two plants would furnish 80 to 90 tons per day. (Beaver County News, April 19, 1918; Ogden Standard, June 26, 1918; September 17, 1918)

The location on Wall Avenue had been originally built by the James Coal and Ice Co. in 1911, and was served by spurs of both Union Pacific and D&RG. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 12, 1911)

The fire in August 1919 that destroyed the five Union Pacific ice storage warehouses in Ogden, only did minor damage to the adjacent Utah Ice & Storage ice plant, leased to Pacific Fruit Express, and that plant was able resume operation immediately. (Deseret Evening News, August 9, 1919)

Research suggests that after the fire destroyed the Union Pacific ice storage warehouses, Pacific Fruit Express continued to provide icing services for its refrigerator cars by using the undamaged single-track ice dock, and receiving ice from Evanston and Carlin, as well as contracting with Utah Ice & Storage to supply and store the needed ice.

In addition to having its own ice plant at Ogden after August 1921, PFE also contracted with the Utah Ice & Storage company to provide 50 tons of ice daily. They had a single track platform long enough for three cars. Icing of Railway Express Agency cars in passenger trains was performed by PFE employees using PFE equipment (ice lift trucks) at Ogden Union Depot as required. Solid blocks of REA cars were run along the PFE ice platforms and handled in a timely manner.

In June 1923 Utah Ice & Storage built an ice dock at its ice plant on Wall Avenue and 22nd Street, to reload railroad cars. The ice plant was served by a spur from Union Pacific, and a spur from D&RGW. (Ogden Standard, June 17, 1923)

Western Gateway Storage

March 31, 1926
Western Gateway Storage company was incorporated in Utah. The company was purchasing the former plant of the Utah Cereal Food company at 29th Street and Pacific Avenue in Ogden. The organizers were John Browning, M. A. Browning, and L. A. Farr. (Ogden Standard Examiner, March 31, 1926, "today")

March 26, 1927
The Brownings sold all of their stock and interest in their Western Gateway Storage company to the American Packing & Provisioning company. The storage company's building on Pacific Avenue, and former home of the Utah Cereal Food company, had recently been sold to the Royal Milling company for use as a flour milling plant. American Packing & Provisioning announced that its older and former beef and mutton division freezers, cooperages and shipping department on West 24th Street would be converted for use by their newly organized cold storage division. (Ogden Standard Examiner, March 26, 1927)

(Research suggests that American Packing & Provisioning was receiving requests to allow in-transit cold storage at its packing plant, but found it difficult to keep its wholesale slaughter and packing business separate from any retail operation. To fill the need to serve retail customers and commercial businesses, the company took action to allow its original facility, completed in 1906 and later used for beef and mutton cold storage, to be used as a retail cold storage warehouse by its newly acquired subsidiary, Western Gateway Storage.)

May 15, 1927
The Western Gateway Storage company announced the opening of its new 75,000 square-foot facility at 390 West 24th Street in Ogden, adjacent to the American Packing & Provisioning facilities. The company provided cold storage, non-refrigerated storage, and packing facilities, serving as a "bonded" warehouse and cold storage facility. (Ogden Standard Examiner, May 15, 1927)

December 5, 1943
James H. DeVine, one of the organizers and original officers of American Packing & Provisioning (and Western Gateway Storage after 1927), passed away at age 63. His son, James M. DeVine was named to succeed his father as president of both companies. (Ogden Standard Examiner, December 15, 1943)

James H. DeVine came to Ogden in 1905, and immediately began the practice of law. He became assistant city attorney in 1905, and in 1908 was named city attorney. During this time he was instrumental in the purchase by the city of its present water system. Mr. DeVine was general attorney and secretary of the American Packing & Provision Co. from 1920 to 1939, and had been president of the company from 1937 to the time of his death. One of the organizers of Ogden livestock show, and prominent in the livestock industry, he also had been president of Ogden Union stockyards from 1930 to 1937. (Ogden Standard Examiner, December 8, 1943)

(View a photo of Western Gateway Storage in the 1940s, with the larger American Packing & Provisioning plant in the background)

March 9,1945
"W. D. Brown, vice president and general manager of Western Gateway Storage Co., announced today he had submitted his resignation to the board of directors, of which James M. DeVine is president, the resignation to be effective on March 15. Mr. Brown said his resignation should not be construed to mean his complete retirement. His leaving Gateway, he added, was inspired by his need to lighten the business responsibilities he has borne for many years. His immediate plan, he said, is to devote his entire attention to his own firm, Brown Brokerage Co., which he founded in 1916. Western Gateway Storage Co. was organized by Mr. Brown in 1927, since which time he has been the general manager. The company has enjoyed a continuous growth and now has branch offices in seven states." (Ogden Standard Examiner, March 9,1945) (Wesley David Brown passed away on July 30, 1947, at age 75.)

June 27, 1949
Swift & Company leased the packing plant of American Packing & Provision company, but not that company's associated Western Gateway Storage. (Ogden Standard Examiner, June 26, 1949)

(Swift & Company's occupying the former American Packing & Provisioning facility was apparently a lease from 1950 through 1970. No records has been found that shows transfer of ownership. With the lease of its property to Swift, the American Packing & Provisioning Company changed its name to The American Company, still in the control of the DeVine and Eccles families. The American Company was combined with its subsidiary, Western Gateway Storage, in April 1950, retaining the Western Gateway Storage Company name, and in late 1950 completed a new warehouse and cold storage facility at a new location at 130 West 28th Street in Ogden.)

April 16, 1950
Western Gateway Storage began construction of a new warehouse and cold storage facility at 130 West 28th Street in Ogden. The new building was to have 60,000 square feet of storage space, along with loading docks for six rail cars and ten trucks. The new warehouse was to be the new home of the combined Western Gateway Storage, and the American Company, formerly American Packing & Provisioning. The company planned to move to the new facility on July 31st. The actual move was delayed for five months, and a formal open house was held on January 24, 1951. (Ogden Standard Examiner, April 16, 1950, with artist rendition of new facility; July 9, 1950; January 25, 1951)

Ice and Cold Storage in Provo

Provo Ice & Cold Storage (later Utah Ice & Storage) had two locations in Provo. The "old ice plant" was built in 1909 and was at 12th North and 3rd West (about a block west of today's BYU stadium). It was served by a spur from D&RGW's Provo Canyon Branch along 2nd West. This ice plant was gone by the time of the 1925 Sanborn fire insurance map, although the mill race on the Provo River, and rail spur were still shown.

The "new ice plant" was built in 1924-1925, and was at 6th South and 2nd East, adjacent to the D&RGW Provo yard. (The first newspaper ad for the new location was in late December 1927.)

"Provo had an ice house and platforms for reefer icing that were used in the 1960's. Fruit and vegetables were loaded on the ex SL&U Orem Branch and at Spanish Fork and Payson on the Tintic Branch. ART reefers were often used, but SFRD and PFE were seen here as well." (Steve Seguine, email dated July 2, 2016)

"Utah Ice company" [Utah Ice & Storage company] provided icing services for traffic on the D&RGW in Provo, and "emergency icing" services for Pacific Fruit Express. The PFE contract was closed in the mid-1950s. (Pacific Fruit Express, 2nd Ed., page 306)

The icing platform at Provo was located along the northeast edge of D&RGW's Provo yard, adjacent to 600 South, at about 300 east.

(View a photo of the Provo yard area, with the icing platform visible on the left side of the photo)

Aerial photos show that the Provo icing platform was in place as late as 1969, but had been demolished by 1972.

LeRoy Dixon, Utah state senator, was one of the incorporators in 1905 of Provo Ice & Cold Storage, and by 1925 had continuously as its president. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 4, 1925)

July 21, 1906
The Provo Ice & Cold Storage company held its annual stockholder's meeting, indicating that the company had been incorporated at least one year. (Deseret News, June 21, 1906; public notice)

August 16, 1906
This description of the Provo Ice & Cold Storage facility comes from the August 16, 1906 issue of the Deseret News newspaper.

The Provo Ice & Cold Storage company, composed of Salt Lake and Provo persons, which has an ice plant north of this city equipped with the best modern machinery, with a manufacturing capacity of twelve tons of ice every twenty-four hours, located on an ideal site, where pure spring water is converted into ice, has been compelled to close down for the season. The reason is that now, during the low-water season, when the farmers use all the water they can obtain for irrigation, the company cannot operate its plant, which is run by water power, continuously, and this must be done in order to make manufactured ice successfully. The company will probably not try to operate any more this season; but next season It will install steam power, and be prepared to run to its full capacity the entire season.

In July 1913 a minimal assessment was made on the stock shares, allowing delinquent shares to be sold at auction. (Deseret Evening News, May 23, 1913; public notice) (This was a common action by a board of directors and an interested person or persons to gain more control of a public company, usually to allow a take over or a reorganization.)

November 9, 1915
The Provo Ice & Cold Storage facility was located on 11th North in Provo, adjacent to the city-owned irrigation canal (known as the City Race) along 2nd West. The company was starting to sell coal from a newly constructed coal yard at its already existing site. (Provo Post, November 9, 1915) (This location today is very near the baseball diamonds on today's Freedom Boulevard.)

For the 1923 season, D&RGW had 64 refrigerator cars available in the Provo yard. Empty refrigerator cars had been moved from the east, and the "Utah Ice & Storage" company was able to do the initial icing of 25 cars at its Salt Lake City plants at one time. The iced cars would then be moved to Provo for loading, and re-iced if needed before their trip east. (Provo Post, August 10, 1923)

November 26, 1923
Utah Ice & Storage company announced that it would build a new ice storage plant in Provo, adjacent to the rail yards, on the site of the former Garden City cannery, and next door to the ZCMI warehouse. The building was to bee 60 feet by 100 feet, and three stories tall. (Provo Daily Herald, December 2, 1923, "it was announced Monday"; Salt Lake Telegram, December 5, 1923)

(The above news item suggests that by this time, Utah Ice & Storage controlled the Provo Ice & Cold Storage company.)

April 20, 1924
Provo Ice & Storage sold its wholesale and retail ice sales and ice delivery business to the Knight Coal company, which changed it name to Knight Coal & Ice company. Provo Ice & Storage would continue manufacturing ice. The sale was finalized in early May. (Provo Daily Herald, April 20, 1924, "this week"; May 5, 1924)

November 13, 1925
Provo Ice & Cold Storage received Provo City approval to build a steel ice conveyor across Sixth South, 155 feet west of Second East. The conveyor was to be 75 feet long, four feet wide and 22 feet above the street. (Provo Daily Herald, November 13, 1925; public notice)

(The new ice plant provided ice to the icing dock served by D&RGW as part of its Provo yard. An ice conveyor connected the ice plant with the icing dock by crossing above 6th South, with the ice plant on the north side and the icing dock on the south side.)

"The Utah Ice & Storage company is both a manufacturing and storage concern. The plant was built in 1926 in the railroad yards with trackage serving all three railroads. It serves the cold pack industry and is equipped to handle the apple crop of Utah county as to provide modern cold storage facilities for the city of Provo and Utah county in general. It is open to the public for storage of meat, poultry, dairy, fruits, vegetables and food products requiring refrigeration. The manufacturing plant has a capacity of 350 tons of ice daily. The latter is sold wholesale to ice dealers, for refrigerator car icing and to railroad companies operating in Utah county." (Provo Daily Herald, January 31, 1936)

November 30, 1926
Provo Ice & Cold Storage completed its new ice storage plant in Provo. (Deseret News, November 30, 1926)

(At some date prior to May 1927, the Provo Ice & Cold Storage company was controlled by Utah Ice & Storage.)

May 3, 1927
The new parent company of Provo Ice & Cold Storage, General Ice Corporation (sic: General Service Corporation), was organized in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Fort Collins Express Courier, May 3, 1927)

November 4, 1927
The General Ice Corporation (sic: General Service Corporation) was granted a license to sell stock in Utah. "The corporation is reported to have acquired a control of the Utah Ice & Storage, and the Provo Ice & Cold Storage companies, and wishes to expand the facilities of these plants." (Deseret News, November 4, 1927)

(Newspaper ads for "Provo Ice & Cold Storage" continued in the Provo newspapers throughout 1928. There no further ads after 1928.)

(Research suggests that the few references after 1928 in news items were for the Provo company more out of habit and tradition rather than it being the actual name of the company operating the site at 6th South and 2nd East.)

(See the Utah Ice & Storage entries after 1927, above, for later information about the Provo location.)