From: Danny Clark
Received: March 15
Sure, the old National Ice Plant is an old building, falling apart and sad, but as we all should know there is a lot of history and memories there. At the very least, the building deserves some respect, not only as the place where my grandfather worked for a living while I was growing up, but I think that it also deserves respect from all the families who ever picked up bags of ice for family picnics, parties, reunions or any other gathering that called for quantities of ice bigger than a couple of ice-cube trays in the refrigerator could provide.
The building was the deep freeze for the county, before side-by-sides, before built-in ice makers, before ice chests in convenience stores on every corner.
Sure, it has been many years since my brother and I walked to the ice plant after movie matinees at the Crump to hang out with our grandfather while he worked to keep the machinery running. I wish that I would have been old enough to understand how all those huge engines, belts and wheels actually made the ice.
I’ll never forget how wonderful it was on a sweltering July evening to go with our grandfather down to refill the ice vending machine (maybe the first vending machine in town as far as I know). We’d go inside the freezer, amazed to see all the chunks of glassy bluish ice, as big as building blocks, stacked over waist high and enough to skate on, and all the while knowing that outside it was hot enough to fry an egg.
Sure, the building can’t be renovated easily or at an affordable cost, and sadly maybe it is time to be put to rest, but can’t it be with a little dignity and a little gratitude for the building and its people who worked all their lives to bring a little pleasure, cool comfort and cool treats to people suffering in the heat back in the days when there was no air-conditioning, or even longer ago when the building was really the only working refrigerator in town?
When they tear it down and build yet another parking lot, all we’ll get treated to will be another stretch of asphalt and a clear view of the backside of the youth center. So who’s to say what constitutes “ugly?”