Ice Houses! Edisto Island, South Carolina

It is HOT. Summer on Edisto. Ovenesque. Of course we all think, now, of ice. But consider this. The beautiful ice house on Botany Bay Plantation. Imagine the life here in the early 1800’s when sea island cotton ruled. This building is one of the only ones that remain intact on this majestic spot.

According to my online search, “Ice was first shipped commercially out of Canal Street in New York City to Charleston, South Carolina in 1799. Unfortunately, they say, that originally there was not much ice left when the shipment arrived. New Englanders Frederick Tudor and Nathaniel Wyeth saw the potential for the ice business and revolutionized the industry through their efforts in the first half of the 1800s. Tudor, who became known as the “Ice King”, focused on shipping ice to tropical climates. He experimented with insulating materials and built icehouses that decreased melting losses from 66 percent to less than 8 percent. Wyeth devised a method of quickly and cheaply cutting uniform blocks of ice that transformed the ice industry, making it possible to speed handling techniques in storage, transportation and distribution with less waste.”

©2011 Charlotte Hutson Wrenn

Botany Bay Icehouse, Edisto Island, SC


That’s all I know really. Would love to know more. Imagine.

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I was called to be an artist. And as an old old midwife said to me "If the Lord wants you to do something, you won't have no good luck' til you do." So, here I am, sharing what I love, longing to illuminate the work of art, which is everywhere.

Posted in architecture, art, beauty, Charleston South Carolina, South Carolina History, travel
11 comments on “Ice Houses! Edisto Island, South Carolina
  1. Diane O'Malley says:

    Charlotte….you may not remember this, but my dad had an ice house at his service station in Mooresville in the 50’s. He had huge blocks delivered from the ice house in Davidson, and he
    had a crusher to crush it. It was then bagged and sold out of the little ice house. Certainly not
    a story from the era you related, but a little tidbit of my own family history. Thanks for continuing
    your sharings…I love passing them around. Love and hugs to you, Diane

  2. Joseph McGill, Jr. says:

    I’ve visited this place. I wish that there were other historic structures there.

  3. Joan says:

    I love that little building. It’s been so bright the times I’ve been out there it’s been hard to get a good photo. It is such a different style for the lowcountry.

  4. downthelanegirl says:

    My husband and I have fallen in love with Edisto. Botony Bay is beyond words for me. As we traveled down the tree lined drive I could close my eyes and hear the clip-clop of horses hooves from a hundred years ago. That place makes my imagination soar!

  5. best tropical islands…

    […]Ice Houses! Edisto Island, South Carolina « Charleston through an Artist's eye[…]…

  6. Anna Marlis Burgard says:

    “Ovenesque”–I love that! Lord I miss living in the Lowcountry…

    I heard that the icehouses were used to hide valuables during the war…of course eventually the invaders would use the ice and find what was lying beneath but there’s something lovely about thinking about all that silver etc. resting in wait beneath blocks of ice. Edisto was evacuated pretty quickly from what I’ve read, leaving little time to hide and no room to take valuables on the boats… But who knows.

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What’s this?

Welcome to my blog about the Lowcountry of South Carolina, a place proud with beauty, history and art. Sometimes we feel a call, to be, to go, to do. I was called to be an artist, and as an old midwife from Alabama said, “If the good Lord wants you to do something, you won’t have no good luck until you do it.”

So here I am writing about what I know, about the 'under glimmer' as the poet Basho, says, the way I have learned to see, to notice. I am inspired by, and talking about the history and art and culture of this place that has called me to herself. By the ancestors.

My background includes a degree in fine arts from a small private college in Florida, and before that, four years of all girls' boarding school in Asheville. I worked as a professional photographer, helped my children grow up, and now and I love seasoned things, good food, better conversation, beauty, my beloved and beautiful Italian Greyhound, Beau. Moved by the sacred places and stories of this beautiful historic land called the Lowcountry, I am here in spirit and I hope to infect you with my love of this place.

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