Featured Artifact of the Week

Ice Gaff

From the Collection

Ice Gaff (also known as an Ice Hook) made after 1850. The tool was used for moving ice at one of Westford’s commercial ice houses. Similar tools are made today, usually with more modern materials such as aluminum. Before refrigeration systems, ice was harvested and stored in insulated buildings for sale during the summer months. Quarry workers often worked at ice houses during the winter, when granite quarries closed for the season.

Westford had two ice houses. The first opened in the 1850s on Burgess Pond, where East Boston Camps are today. The second opened on Forge Pond in 1864. It was located where the Town Beach is today. The ice houses on Forge Pond burned down in 1920, rebuilt, and again burned down in 1931. The fires and more commercially viable refrigeration technology ensured the end of the ice harvesting business in town.


Discover hidden Westford with Geoff Hall and Bob Spinozzi.

In this podcast Geoff and Bob will discuss the history of the ice industry in Westford.