Workshop of the World

stories of industry in & around Philadelphia

Pasted Graphic
"Kensington Hygeia Ice Co." (1895), Hexamer #2836.

Kensington Hygeia Ice Company
, 1895
Trenton Avenue and Huntington Street, Philadelphia PA 19125 (northwest corner)

Carmen A. Weber, Irving Kosmin, and Muriel Kirkpatrick, Workshop of the World (Oliver Evans Press, 1990).

As with many business ventures of its time, the Kensington Hygeia Ice Company was begun as a corporate venture in 1895; in fact, one of the company's vice presidents was Albert Frederick Schoenhut, President and General Manager of the A. Schoenhut Toy Piano Works. 1 The plant was constructed along the Trenton Avenue spur of the Pennsylvania Railroad at Huntingdon Street. The company operated well into the twentieth century, consistently employing about 30 people. 2
Two buildings remain from the complex. The three story, five bay building at the corner of Trenton Avenue and Huntingdon Street has brick pilasters and copper ornamentation on the facade and cornice. The building's pediment holds a plaque that has been obscured by stucco. The three story, four bay building with brick pilasters at 2187 Huntingdon Street was once connected to the main building.
When in operation, the corner building held one ice machine with a 60 ton capacity. Powered by steam, the machine used an ammonia condenser to convert filtered well water into ice. The smaller building on Huntingdon Street was for ice storage; an office and wagon shed once stood between the two buildings. The freezing tank room was in a two story building adjoining the rear of the wagon shed; this building has also been demolished.
At present, the building appears abandoned.

1  Philip Scranton and Walter Licht, Work Sights: Industrial Philadelphia, 1890-1950 (Philadelphia, 1986), p. 84.
2  Depart of Labor and Industry, Pennsylvania, Second Industrial Directory of Pennsylvania , (Harrisburg, 1916); and Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade, Philadelphia, Industrial Directory of Philadelphia: Data for 1943 , (Philadelphia, 1944).
3  Hexamer General Insurance Survey #2836 (1895), "Kensington Hygeia Ice Co."

Update May 2007 (by Torben Jenk):
Demolished. Replaced by an addition to the multi-block complex stretching up to Lehigh used by Charles Jacquin et Cie to distill liquors and spirits, as they have in Philadelphia since 1884.