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 De Riggs, who came here from Faial in the Azores, or his son Charles De Riggs. 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 De Riggs Ice Company. The ice house stood on East Harbor (Pilgrim Lake) until the early 1940s, when it was destroyed in a storm.
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.