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The Morgantown Ice Company created manufactured ice at this location from 1901 to 1946. It provided manufactured ice to local businesses. From 1946 to 1957, the business was owned by North Pole Ice Company. The operation was then purchased by Chico’s Dairy company until acquired by Beech View Place to build a mixed-use apartment complex for students at West Virginia University. The State on Campus apartment now occupies all of block 15 in Morgantown’s Sunnyside neighborhood. The Morgantown Ice Company’s history reflects the wide range of businesses located in Sunnyside in the twentieth century.


  • The Morgantown Ice Company, established in 1901, was sold to the North Pole Ice Company in 1946. The building complex was later purchased by Chico's Dairy and then demolished to make way for State on Campus. West Virginia and Regional History Center.

Situated along the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad where it intersected Third Street, the Morgantown Ice Company built and expanded an ice manufacturing business from 1901 to 1946. The Morgantown Building and Investment Company sold the first tracts of land on block 15 to the Lough brothers in 1894. In the coming years the Lough brothers built their own business, a carriage works, on Beechurst Avenue, the first factory in Sunnyside. In March 1901, the Morgantown Ice Company purchased a piece of the Lough brothers’ land at the corner of the newly paved Third Street and the B&O Railroad. By 1904, the Morgantown Ice Company had built a substantial manufactory to the west of the Loughs’ house.1

The presence of an ice manufacture in Morgantown so early in the twentieth century suggests a lot about the history of the ice industry in America. The use of ice at home dates back further than the commercial ice industry. Families and communities with access to freshwater collected ice during the winter for food preservation. In the early nineteenth century, entrepreneurs began to take advantage of the demand for ice, with New England and New York being the first major producers. The ice industry was profitable, in high demand, and promoted innovation in harvesting and storage techniques. After the Civil War, the ice industry became essential to food transportation on railroad lines. By the twentieth century, manufactured ice grew more popular and desirable than natural ice, especially in southern and foreign markets where natural ice was less accessible. With the end of the natural ice industry, individuals and small producers could now afford to compete in the market using manufactured ice. World War I increased demand for American perishables, sustaining demand for ice around the world. The Morgantown Ice Company began operations amid these changes in the industry and technological advancements.2

At the Morgantown Ice Company, the ice machine ran day and night, driven by a steam-powered brick furnace. By 1906, the structure had changed dramatically. The company solved a sun exposure problem by building a one-story frame shed alongside the southern edge. In addition to the shed, the company acquired a new condensing icemaker and added a second brick furnace. At the end of the year, the company purchased two additional tracts of land from the Loughs. By 1908, the company was regularly listed in the expenditures columnn of West Virginia University.3

By 1911, Morgantown Ice Company had increased to the north and west, making room for a second ice machine and a third brick furnace for steam power. The General Woodworking Company joined the Morgantown Ice Company on the same block. These two companies may have had a symbiotic relationship since sawdust was one of the most effective ice insulators. 

The Morgantown Ice Company would purchase an additional tract of land in 1925 from the General Woodworking Company and expand once again. The General Woodworking Company had moved, but a new partner had arrived: the Chico-Mahoney Ice Cream Company.4 The nearby Chico’s Dairy may have purchased ice from the Morgantown Ice Company to package their ice cream. 

In 1946, the Morgantown Ice Company sold to the North Pole Ice Company, which operated until 1957. The building and its contents devolved to the company’s president, Tom Viglianco, who sold it to presumably his son, Andy Viglianco. It is uncertain whether Andy operated the business in the interim, but he eventually sold the land and building to the Chico Dairy Company in 1966. By this time, the Chico Dairy Company had systematically bought almost every property on block 15. Chico eventually sold the whole block in 2010 to Beech View Place, LLC, now State on Campus, as pressure for new student housing grew.5

1. Deed of Sale, Morgantown Building and Investment Company to Lough brothers, 1894, Monongalia Co., West Virginia, Book 38, p. 418-419, Monongalia County, Morgantown, WV; Sanborn Map Company, Morgantown, Monongalia County, West Virginia: May 1899, Map 6, 50ft=1inch, Fire Insurance Maps for West Virginia, West Virginia and Regional History Center; Deed of Sale, Lough to Morgantown Ice Company, March 1901, Monongalia Co., West Virginia, Book 57, pgs. 20-21. Monongalia County Courthouse, Morgantown, WV; Sanborn Map Company, Morgantown, Monongalia County, West Virginia: May 1904, Map 6, 50ft=1inch, Fire Insurance Maps for West Virginia, West Virginia and Regional History Center

2. Richard O Cummings, The American Ice Harvests: A Historical Study in Technology, 1800-

1918 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1949), 1-110. 

3. Byron D. Halstead, ed., Barns Sheds, and Outbuildings: Plans, Design, and Construction (Brattleboro, VT: Alan C. Hood & Company, Inc., 1994), 170-176; Sanborn Map Company, Morgantown, Monongalia County, West Virginia: October 1906, Map 11, 50ft=1inch, Fire Insurance Maps for West Virginia, West Virginia and Regional History Center; Deed of Sale, Lough to Morgantown Ice Company, Monongalia Co., West Virginia, Book 94, pgs. 141-142, Monongalia County Courthouse. Morgantown, WV; West Virginia University. Biennial Report of the Board of Regents and the President. (Charleston, WV, 1908) 38-130. 

4. Sanborn Map Company, Morgantown, Monongalia County, West Virginia: Nov. 1911, Map 13, 50ft=1inch, Fire Insurance Maps for West Virginia, West Virginia and Regional History Center; Deed of Sale, General Woodworking to Morgantown Ice Company, 1925, Monongalia Co., West Virginia, Book 205, pgs. 326-27, Monongalia County Courthouse. Morgantown, WV; Sanborn Map Company, Morgantown, Monongalia County, West Virginia: April 1927, Map 2850ft=1inch, Fire Insurance Maps for West Virginia, West Virginia and Regional History Center.  

5. Deed of Sale, Morgantown Ice Company to North Pole Ice Company, 1946, Monongalia Co., West Virginia, Deed Book 392, pgs. 164-167. Monongalia County Courthouse, Morgantown, WV; Deed of Sale, North Pole Ice Company to Tom Viglianco, Monongalia Co., West Virginia, book 553, pgs. 220-225, Monongalia County Courthouse, Morgantown, WV.; Deed of Sale, Tom Viglianco to Andy Viglianco, Monongalia Co., West Virginia, Book 554, pgs. 313-315, Monongalia County Courthouse, Morgantown, WV; Deed of Sale, Andy Viglianco to Chico Dairy Company, 1966, Monongalia Co., West Virginia, Book 660, pgs. 220-222, Monongalia County Courthouse, Morgantown, WV.

Images:

“North Pole Ice Company, Morgantown, W.Va.” Photo. Circa.1930-1940. West Virginia Regional History Center at West Virginia University Libraries. Accessed January 2018. http://wvhistoryonview.org/catalog/wvulibraries:23751  

Research compiled by Anthony Padovano. Edited by Elizabeth Satterfield and Pamela Curtin.