Ice. To generations accustomed to electrically-powered refrigeration, it’s impossible to convey how important ice was in a community whose livelihood depended on the most perishable foodstuffs. If you were a fisherman or a homemaker, you needed ice. And chances were good that you dealt with Joseph DeRiggs (±1874-1954), who came here from Faial in the Azores, or his son Charles DeRiggs (b 1895). A home customer might buy a book of coupons for, say, 5,000 pounds of ice, in “denominations” ranging from 10 to 100 pounds, redeeming the coupons when the iceman came. This gambrel-roofed house from the early 20th century served as headquarters of the DeRiggs Ice Company, which was still listed here as late as the 1966 phone book. The ice house stood on East Harbor (Pilgrim Lake) until the early 1940s, when it was destroyed in a storm.
¶ Adapted from Building Provincetown (2015). ¶ Image from the collection and courtesy of Stephen Borkowski.