Saturday, November 14, 2009

Remember the Ice Truck?

This scene from the 1940s-50s shows a common sight on streets in Florida; the ice company's trucks making their rounds delivering huge blocks of ice to homes and businesses. Before air conditioning and efficient refrigeration, Floridians depended on ice to keep food and beverages cold and fresh. Florida's fishing industry absolutely depended on ice to keep their catch fresh long enough to get it to a restaurant or ship it out of town or state.(Ice companies were a very profitable business and to visit one and feel the cold air behind the giant plastic curtains on a sweltering day was heaven, a quick trip to Alaska.) Early Frigidaires - which is all my mom and grandmother ever called their "ice boxes," used motors and fans to blow the room's hot air into and past the ice blocks and circulated it down and around food stored in the "ice box." It worked pretty well, but you still looked forward to visiting the big movie theaters, cafeterias such as Morrison's and some fancy department store like Maas Brothers for real air conditioning. Heck, I can remember going to one drive-in theater that offered air conditioning that attached to your car window along with the speaker. Pretty cool, eh? Most cars did not have A/C so that and buttery popcorn were the big draws...oh, and your steady girl to share the experience with.

This mural is another portion of one I posted yesterday of West Tampa's Main Street. The West Tampa Revitalization Corporation commissioned the mural in 1984. It is BIG. It covers two entire exterior walls of the recreation building at the Rey Park Center and Playground on North Howard Avenue.


  1. Another very nice and meaningful mural. And I do remember ice trucks. From my childhood - in Minnesota! We had an icebox for a time when I was very young! Back in the "good old days," which often weren't quite so good as some people think they were!

  2. A time that has gone, I don't think we ever had them in the UK although large old country houses did have what they called an ice house. A small building in which ice was stored and I guess stayed cold for a good while. Keep shooting those murals.

  3. You really brought back some memories with this one Frank! My grandmother always called hers the "Frigidaire" and she used to tell me about the first one she had that ran on kerosene. I remember how we used to love to go to the Winn-Dixie grocery shopping so we could cool off. By the way, I posted a picture yesterday of a brick pathway at Maclay Gardens that was built using recycled bricks from an old street in Tampa.