At the end of Race Road is Ice House Road, leading to Shank Painter Pond, a harvesting site for the ice industry from the 1800s to the early 20th century. Before mechanical refrigeration, natural ice was an important source of cooling, especially for the fishing industry. On a shoreline tract belonging to the Provincetown Conservation Trust, you’ll spot a foundation wall for the enormous ice house maintained by John Darrow Adams and depicted by the great Provincetown painter, Ross Moffett. Cutting gangs would go out onto thick ice, mark off sections, and begin sawing. These great blocks would be assembled into a gigantic mass within the ice house, insulated with sawdust, hay or straw, and allowed to drain. Talk about fire and ice: Adams’s building burned down in 1918.
More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.