Park Restores Icehouse in Appomattox

Appomattox Co., VA - There's been a lot going on lately at the Appomattox Courthouse National Historical Park. It's all thanks to a $30,000 donation by the park's 'Friends Group' the Appomattox 1865 Foundation. It's in large part an effort to prepare for the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War.

The sesquicentennial celebration for Appomattox is only three years away. Folks at the park are working to make sure the village is in tip top shape come 2015. Their current project is to renovate the old icehouse.

To preserve food back in the Civil War era folks had to get creative.

"They had to have something to keep the meats," said Todd Roach, exhibit specialist.

The McLean's in Appomattox used an icehouse.

"Back then, they didn't have a refrigerator, this was their refrigerator," said Roach.

The last time this ice house had been restored was back in the 1960s and since, it has started deteriorating.

"The ends were so rotten on the corners that it was actually caving in," said Roach.

Park Exhibit Specialist Todd Roach is in charge of rebuilding the icehouse, Civil War style.

He followed 50-year-old instructions on how to do it.

Roach, with a team of helpers dismantled the old icehouse, and log by log started building a brand new one.

"We kind of kidded that it looked like Lincoln's cabin," said Ernie Price, chief of education and visitor services.

The pit of the icehouse{}is 11 feet in dimension and{}five feet deep, but will look very different once the roof is on.

"Oh yeah it's going to be hard to see then because it gets pretty dark," said Price.

Without the money from the Appomattox 1865 Foundation to restore the ice house this piece of history may have been lost for good.

Now,{}thanks to some hands-on preservation the ice house will stand strong once again.

"The guys working on this now, their kids and grand kids can come back and see the icehouse that they restored back in 2012," said Price.

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