The Ice Factory

History of Punta Gorda Walking Tour

The Ice Factory

Punta Gorda, Florida 33950, United States

Created By: SW Florida Walking Tours


Town founder, Colonel Isaac Trabue opened the Ice Factory in 1891. The train stopped here to pick up ice to keep mullet fresh during transport. This factory produced 15 tons of ice a day. Steam driven boilers powered ammonia compressors which created ice! The plant closed in 1897 for two reasons.

  1. A new ice factory (now The Ice House Pub at Virginia Avenue and King Street) produced 25 tons of ice daily and sold electricity to nearby homes and businesses.
  2. A dispute between Henry Plant of the railroad and Colonel Trabue resulted in Plant removing the train tracks and bypassing the Ice Factory in favor of Punta Gorda Ice and Power Company.

The Ice Factory also stored bodies of the deceased in coffins, keeping them cold until they could be transported by train for burial back home.

Image of town founders Colonel Isaac and Virginia Taylor Trabue. They named the streets after family members.

Song: He Is Coming To Us Dead
Grayson and Whittier (1928)

One morning when the office was opened
A man quite old in years
Entered the express office
Showing signs of grief and tears
And when the clerk approached him
The old man then did say
I'm waiting for my boy, sir
He's coming home today

Well. You have made a silly mistake
And you must surely know
This is the telegraph office, Sir
And not a town depot
If your boy is coming home
The clerk did smile and say
You'll find him with the passengers, Sir
At the station just all the way

You do not understand me, Sir
The old man shook his head
He's not a-coming as a passenger
But by express instead
He's coming home to mother
The old man softly said
He's coming home in a casket, Sir
He's coming to us dead

Then a whistle pierced their ears
The express train someone cry
The old man rose in a breathless haste
And quickly rushed outside
Then a long white casket
Was lowered to the ground
The scene was filled with the grief and pain
Of those who gathered around

Do not treat him harshly, boys
It contains our darling Jack
He went away as you boys are
This way he's coming back
He broke his poor old mother's heart
Her fears have all come true
She said, it's the way that he'd come back
If he joined the boys in blue

This point of interest is part of the tour: History of Punta Gorda Walking Tour


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