Walk the Line

McGill's Historic Timeline


The McGill Dairy, owned by Kennecott Copper, furnished milk products to the residents of McGill in the early days with a team. The dairy stood below McGill near where the swimming pool is now, and the buildings still stand. Among those remembered as working at the dairy are Batiste Piccollo, Jimmy Bell, and a Mr. Williamsen.

White Pine Historical Society - Madeline Fransen Collections
Ely Daily Times donated by Bob Pratt

Not many people remember the days when we had ice boxes before refrigerators. This was a time when you had a small icebox in the kitchen, with a drip pan that sat below to catch the water when it melted, and most women had a mop in the kitchen or rags to clean up the excess water from the floors, long before most homes had any electrical appliances. The milk wagon in McGill went all over town from house to house taking blocks of ice, and fresh milk from the dairy to every ones homes.  This was one of the luxuries of the days before electricity in the early 1900’s.

The dairy was down below McGill on part of what used to be the McGill ranch, close to where the swimming pool is now, although the building and the service of the dairy men of yesterday is long gone. Many of the children and grandchildren of those who had this service can still remember the wonderful taste of fresh milk with the cream on top.

The World Book Encyclopedia - lists Ice, An older form of manufactured ice, called block ice, is made by pouring water into huge metal cans. The cans, which have rectangular sides and open tops, are then placed in brine (salt water). The brine had a temperature of 6 degrees to 18 degrees Fahrenheit. Ammonia gas, which is passed though pipes in the brine, acts as a refrigerant and chills the brine. After the pure water in the cans has frozen into blocks of ice, hoist lifts the containers from the brine. The cans are then dipped in warm water to remove the blocks of ice.

In 1851 a surgeon named John Gorrie of Apalachicola, Florida built the first commercial ice-making machine. Gorrie used the ice to make his patients more comfortable by cooling their rooms. In 1868, the first factory to produce manufactured ice was stabled in New Orleans. The first ice-refrigerated railroad car was built in 1867 in Detroit. Such railroad cars could transport meat, dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables from one part of the United States to another without any spoilage.