California Ice and Coal Company's Ice House Spur in Antioch

This tree line in the photo below, located in Antioch, IL appears to be just any old patch of trees, but it actually marks part of the right-of-way of a long abandoned railroad spur.

Yep, Railroad Lines are everywhere. (FRRandP Photo)

The California Ice and Coal Company operated an ice house in Antioch, using Channel Lake and Lake Catherine for production, and shipping via railroad. Almost no trace of this spur exists, but the neighborhood to the east of Lake Catherine is to this day known as the California Ice and Coal Subdivision. 

Ice houses on winter lakes are a remnant of a time before refrigeration, and would be the only source of ice during the summertime for most places outside of the Earth's poles. Ice house spurs also existed in Fox Lake and Round Lake.

Interestingly, this leads to some interesting deeds and requirements of property ownership. Keith Johnson commented that, "when I bought my first house in Fox Lake on Pistakee Lake, the title deed was one of those old carbon copied scrolls. It told me that on Tuesdays I had to allow a Mrs McFetridge (or a name like that) access through the property, and I couldn’t sell the ice from the lake. I also found some placards for an ice company in the house. There are 2 houses on Arlington Road that I was told were one one single ice house, which was cut in half to make the two homes."

There were two lines, one spurred from the Soo Line, immediately north of where Antioch Station is today, leading to Lake Catherine. From that line, another spurred north, ending southeast of Wilmot, WI. This spur served what was a gravel pit that has since been converted into a campground in the area

Both were only in service for less than twenty years, and disappeared off of maps after 1925.

1925 USGS Topo Map

Thanks as always for reading!


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