Big Ice Plant



Dublin Core


Big Ice Plant

Alternative Title

Rand Yard Ice House


Sanford (Fla.)
Ice industry--United States


Excerpt from When Celery Was King by Charlie C. Carlson. The excerpt includes an image of the Rand Yard Ice House with accompanying text. The Rand Yard Ice House was located on Rand Yard Road in Sanford, Florida. The ice plant was built in 1926 by the Mountain Ice Company of Chicago, had a 700 ton storage capacity, operated 24 hours a day, ranked second in the U.S. for ice production, and was once Seminole County's largest building for somet time. During the late-1800s, individual ice factories were comprised of a machine room, boiler room, ice store, loading platforms, and other office space. Large cans were used to mold the ice. When ice was needed, workers would operate a crane system to carry the ice block into a warm water bath where the ice could be removed from the reusable can. Although working at an ice plant was known as dangerous and hard work, employees enjoyed a steady well paid job. By 1928, the Rand Yard Ice House employed 73 African-American workers.


[Above] The big ice plant, operated by the Mountain Ice Co., supplied trains with ice.


Carlson, Charlie C.


Carlson, Charlie. When Celery Was King. Sanford, Fla: Sanford Historical Society, 2000.

Date Created


Date Copyrighted


Has Part

Original black and white photograph: Ice Collection, Sanford Museum, Sanford, Florida.

Is Format Of

Digital reproduction of original excerpty by Charlie C. Carlson: When Celery Was King. Sanford, Fla: Sanford Historical Society, 2000.

Is Part Of

Ice Collection, Sanford Museum, Sanford, Florida.
Carlson, Charlie. When Celery Was King. Sanford, Fla: Sanford Historical Society, 2000.
Ice Houses of Sanford Collection, Sanford Collection, Seminole County Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.




625 KB








Sanford, Florida

Spatial Coverage

28.801031, -81.274659

Temporal Coverage


Accrual Method


Audience Education Level

SS.K.A.1.2; SS.K.G.2.1; SS.1.A.1.1; SS.1.A.2.2; SS.1.A.2.4; SS.1.E.1.2; SS.1.E.1.3; SS.1.E.1.4; SS.1.E.1.6; SS.1.G.1.5; SS.2.A.1.1; SS.2.E.1.1; SS.2.G.1.2; SS.3.A.1.1; SS.3.E.1.1; SS.3.G.1.1SS.3.G.2.6; ; SS.4.A.1.1; SS.4.A.7.1; SS.4.E.1.1; SS.4.E.1.2; SS.5.A.1.1; SS.5.G.1.4; SS.6.W.1.3; SS.7.E.1.3; SS.7.E.1.5; SS.7.E.2.4; SS.7.G.2.3; SS.8.A.1.2; SS.8.A.1.5; SS.8.E.1.1; SS.8.E.2.1; SS.8.E.2.3; SS.8.G.4.4; SS.912.A.1.1; SS.912.A.1.4; SS.912.A.1.6; SS.912.A.5.4; SS.912.A.5.12; SS.912.E.1.1; SS.912.E.1.3; SS.912.E.1.9; SS.912.E.2.3; SS.912.E.2.12; SS.912.G.1.2; SS.912.G.1.4; SS.912.G.2.1; SS.912.W.1.3; SS.912.W.1.6; SS.912.W.7.4


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Originally created by Charlie C. Carlson and published by Sanford Historical Society, Inc., Sanford, Florida..

Rights Holder

Copyright to this resource is held by the Sanford Historical Society, Inc., Sanford, Florida. and is provided here by RICHES of Central Florida for educational purposes only.

Contributing Project


Cepero, Laura

Digital Collection

Source Repository

External Reference

Carlson, Charlie. When Celery Was King. Sanford, Fla: Sanford Historical Society, 2000.
Flewellyn, Valada S. African Americans of Sanford. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub, 2009.
Wallis-Tayler, Alexander James. Refrigeration, Cold Storage and Ice-making: A Practical Treatise on the Art and Science of Refrigeration. London: Crosby Lockwood and Son, 1902.
Hiles, Theron L. The Ice Crop, How to Harvest, Store, Ship and Use Ice: A Complete Practical Treatise for Farmers, Dairymen, Ice Dealers, Produce Shippers, Meat Packers, Cold Storers, and All Interested in Ice Houses, Cold Storage and the Handling or Use of Ice in Any Way. New York: Orange Judd Company, 1893.
Sanford Historical Society, Inc. Sanford. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2003.


Prior to Cutting his crops, Carl would order railroad boxcars to be iced and delivered to the side tracks nearest his fields. The average refrigerated car could carry about 400 crates of celery. Sometimes farmers, with smaller shipments, would work out a deal to share a boxcar. These were non-mechanical refrigerated cars, cooled by insulated bunkers in each end, which were loaded through a roof hatch with several tons of block ice.
In 1926, the Mountain Ice Company of Chicago built a huge ice plant in the Rand railroad yard near the town of Lake Monroe. This big facility, with its 700 ton storage capacity, kept up with demands for ice by operating 24 hours around the clock. It ranked second in the Nation for ice production, and in volume size, was Seminole County's largest building. Likewise, the Rand railyards, were among the busiest switch yards in the Southeast. On the eastside, farmers were serviced by a branch ice house on Beardall Avenue, which at one time was operated by Charlie Carlson Sr. In 1926, F. F. Dutton, using methods for precooling citrus, developed a
way to precool celery for shipment. Dutton operated large packing houses on Sipes and French avenues. In June 1928, the Dutton Packing House on Sipes Avenue, burned to the ground in a huge fire.
In spite of a forty-percent drop in farm prices, Carl Carlson's best celery years were between 1921 and 1924, when he was getting between two and six bucks per crate. He now owned a 1921 Model T touring car and a 1923 Model T flatbed truck. But all plowing was still done by mules and horses, which also pulled the 50 gallon spray wagon for applying insecticides to the fields. Carl put more faith in his work animals than he did motorized vehicles. A farmer once remarked about Carl, "That Swede would feed his animals before he would feed himself "

[Above] The big ice plant, operated by the Mountain Ice Co., supplied trains with ice.

Document Item Type Metadata

Original Format

1 book excerpt


Carlson, Charlie C.. “Big Ice Plant.” RICHES of Central Florida accessed December 7, 2023,



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