Conklin and Gray/Conklin & Sons Co.


According to 1888 ad: (First Picture)
  Offices 634 W. Main St. & 111 S. Pinckney St.
  Coal Yard 634 W. Main Street near Chicago Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific. Depot
  Ice House 322 E. Gorham St.

Conklin Ice House – Operated from 1854 until 1936. The icehouse was one-half block long and the building had sawdust-filled walls two-feet thick in order to store ice all summer. Crews of several hundred men cut and harvested ice from the lake’s surface as a steam-powered conveyor moved 500-pound blocks of ice inside. The ice industry boomed from the 1850s to the 1890s. Ice cut from Lake Mendota was considered a superior product because it was thicker and free of pollution. The Conklin icehouse was torn down in 1939.

"Conklin & Sons coal yard at 614 West Main Street. The coal yard was next to railroad tracks and sold coal, wood, and ice." (Caption of Second Picture)

From the WSJ May 24, 1924 & Jan 31, 1931 - Cap Times Dec 16, 1932
Started in 1854 by James Conklin & Frank Gray. In 1911 incorporated as Conklin & Sons Co.
Sons: James, Matthew, & J. W. Employee: Frank H. Beswick.
One westside coal yard and two eastside coal yards. Westside is main yard near CMSt.P&P. Eastside yards are near C&NW. The ice, which is of high purity and quality as shown by frequent laboratory tests, is obtained from Lake Mendota. Bought the Knickerbocker ice house on Monroe St about 1894. The company at first maintained offices at its yards, 634 W. Main St. With the expansion of the business the company office was moved to 24 E. Mifflin St.

From HMI 2007 Calendar
In 1895, Chicago's Knickerbocker Co. built an ice house on Lake Wingra. The three-story, windowless structure had a capacity for 30,000 tons of ice. Trains using a railroad spur off the Illinois Central track transported the ice to meat packers, brewers, and retailers in Illinois and cities as far south as Memphis. In 1920 the ice house was sold to Madison's Conklin & Sons Co. The Depression and home refrigerators put the ice house out of business. In 1937, the Conklins demolished it and turned the land over to the city.