LS: History Here and Now January 09, 2009

I was 4 years old at the time my parents moved to the Fruitvale area at 3069 E Road (which at that time was listed only as Route No. 1, Grand Junction) in May of 1922.
In moving from Hiawatha, Utah, to Grand Junction, my mother had $2,400 sewn in her corset to purchase a 10-acre parcel of land with a two-story house, barn, packing shed and an ice house.

An ice house was unique to the property. The purpose was to store ice for personal use during the hot days of summer. My dad and other farmers would help one another in cutting ice on the river. They would drive the team and wagons onto the river. The ice was cut with a saw that was made specially to cut ice, manually.

Once the ice was cut, ice tongs were used to pull the blocks out of the water. You would always pull out the blocks downstream, as the water pressure would help to lift them out.
The ice shown in the picture was 15 inches thick. Not every year was the same as some winters were not as cold as others.

The ice house was about 5 feet underground and another 5 feet above ground. To be able to keep the ice from melting, a thick layer of wood shavings was used.

In those days, my dad would make homebrew, and this made a great place to store this beverage during the hot summer days.

I am not exactly sure what years this took place, but assume that it was from the middle ’20s to the late ’30s.

My dad was quite a craftsman, and he built an ice box that would hold a 100-pound block of ice.

After that time, the modern refrigerator took over.

We must remember that the Great Depression happened during these years, so it was more important than normal to make adjustments in the way we lived. My parents were not wealthy people, by any means, so they had to do whatever it took to support the family of six children.

The farm consisted of some fruit trees, such as pears and apples, and open ground that was planted in strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet corn and other vegetables, some of which were sold, and others for personal use, such as canning.

Also, Dad would raise hogs, cattle and chickens, which were slaughtered and processed for family food.

In the summertime a Sunday treat would be fried chicken with all the trimmings and homemade ice cream, using a hand-powered ice cream freezer.

As children, we had to take our turn doing the cranking. We were never hungry, but ready cash was not that readily available.

We survived, and it was an unforgettable experience. With this in mind, that’s why it was so important to be able to store and preserve food in any way possible, year-round.


Bill Floryancic owned Bill’s AG Market (now called Family Food Town) in Palisade for 30 years. Since retiring, he has stayed busy with Palisade Lions Club, local government and volunteering at the Palisade Chamber of Commerce.

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