Ice. To generations accustomed to electrically-powered refrigeration and air-conditioning (even the author, old as he is, counts himself in this happy crowd), it is probably impossible to convey how important a commodity ice once was; especially in a community whose livelihood depended on the most perishable foodstuffs. If you were a fisherman or a homemaker, you needed ice. And if you needed ice, chances were pretty good that you were dealing with Joseph G. DeRiggs (±1874-1954) or his son Charles J. DeRiggs (b1895). The older DeRiggs arrived in this country from Fayal in the Azores when he was two years old.
He worked in the ice business with Kibbe Cook, fished with his father aboard the Panther and then, in 1897, established the DeRiggs Ice Company, which he ran until the early 1950s. (“J. G. DeRiggs Dies, Funeral Today,” The Advocate, March 25, 1954.) The DeRiggs ice house stood on East Harbor (Pilgrim Lake) until the early 1940s, when it was destroyed in a storm. DeRiggs married Mary Silva. Their son Charles, who lived next door at 196 Bradford Street, took over the ice company from his father. Their daughter Frances (DeRiggs) Francis (1906-2000) taught the first grade in Provincetown for more than 40 years. (“Frances (DeRiggs) Francis, 93: Former First-Grade Teacher,” The Banner, Feb. 17, 2000.) As shown above, DeRiggs customers bought books of coupons, like that pictured below, that could be exchanged for fixed amounts of ice when the iceman came.