The Thompson Ice House Preservation Corp. will drain and dredge the almost 200-year-old pond behind the ice house this year to recover depth and rid the pond of invasive plants.
“It’s a big project,” said Ken Lincoln, president of the South Bristol nonprofit. South Bristol resident Toby Plummer and his company, Plummer Excavation, will do the job. The crew will dig down 16 to 18 inches into the pond bottom, Lincoln said.
The primary culprit among the invasive plants is common bladderwort. “It was taking over,” Lincoln said.
The pond is already draining and the dredging, the first since the pond was dammed, will take place in late August or early September.
Lincoln and a crew of volunteers still harvest ice from the pond and store it in the ice house, the historic headquarters of a commercial ice-harvesting operation, every February. “If we’re going to harvest ice, we need a pond,” Lincoln said.
The draining of the pond has already uncovered some junk and at least one small treasure. Lincoln’s brother, Todd Lincoln, found a button from a Civil War uniform while metal-detecting on the pond bottom.
Ken Lincoln estimates the cost of the project at about $50,000. “That’s going to hit our endowment pretty hard, so we’re hoping to get some help” in the form of donations, he said.
The people at the Thompson Ice House’s annual old-fashioned ice cream social June 30 enjoyed their homemade ice cream and sundaes despite the draining pond, where young visitors sometimes swim during the summertime kickoff event.
The band Greenfields, which plays Celtic and folk music as well as patriotic standards and sea shanties, provided live music and South Bristol resident John Harris offered rides in his antique cars.
Children helped make ice cream with an antique hand-crank machine and many visitors toured the Thompson Ice Harvesting Museum.
For more information about the Thompson Ice House, visit http://www.thompsonicehouse.com.