Posted on February 06 2010
We have to share an excerpt written by local Hallowell historian Sumner Webber: “In 1826, the ice industry began in earnest, employing thousands over the next 75 years. Frozen blocks loaded onto Hallowell's schooners travelled as far as Cuba and the West Indies.”
We share this because of the ridiculous weather we’ve been experiencing! Days have been so warm here, that for the first time locals can recall, the river partially thawed in January. The Kennebec rose up and flooded half of downtown Hallowell due to ice jams on either side of town. Noel Mount took this photo a few days ago. As you can see, the river is already refrozen, but the washed-up ice reminded him of Hallowell’s history in the ice trade. Webber continues to say: "Other local products exported via the Kennebec from Hallowell included sandpaper, textiles, rope, linseed oil, oilcloth, wire, books and shoes." And here we are, enriching history further by honoring its traditions in trade. May we also point out Webber's mention of linseed (a.k.a. flaxseed) oil? Although linseed oil comes from a different type of flax than what we use in our Linen blankets, we're heartened to add another bead to the string of Hallowell's bygone era.