This rather nondescript, and I believe currently unused, building on Russell Street (or is that Russel Street?) in Madoc is a small mystery for me, and I am hoping that you readers will help me figure it out. Tonight, in other words, it’s you and not I who must jump into the roadster, grab Bess and George, and make like Nancy Drew.
Every time I drive by this building a vague thought along the lines of “cold-storage place” comes into my mind. That’s because this building was, back in the days of my childhood at the Manse in Queensborough (just a 12-minute drive from Madoc, which is generally “town” for us), a cold-storage place. Or at least, I think it was. In my memory this building is associated with large blocks of ice and large pieces of meat – like, half-cows and the like. So what’s the story on that?
Was it a butcher shop? I don’t think so. Was it a place that simply sold meat by the large quantity? I do remember that back in those days it was quite common for people to buy a quarter or a half of a beef cow – and maybe pigs too? – that would be cut and ground up into the usual forms for serving – roasts, steaks, hamburger, soup bones, etc. – by the butcher or seller, and these pieces, wrapped in dark-pink paper and carefully labelled, would be stored in “the deep freeze” (as we called freezers back then, especially chest freezers).
Okay, so if people stored these large quantities of meat in “the deep freeze,” why was there a need for this cold-storage place? Is it possible that, in those long-ago days when maybe not everyone had a deep freeze, people rented freezer, or at least cold-storage, space in places like this?
If my vague memory is at all right, I kind of like the fact that this building still has one of those buy-your-ice-here boxes out front. (Though I imagine it is empty, given that the building itself seems to be.) A nod to its former use.
I was also intrigued, as I took some photos of it this afternoon on my drive home from work, by the fine old wooden doors you can see off to the left side in the photo at top. Here’s a closer look:
Those are great old wide wooden doors – three panels’ worth each!
And have a look at the old wood-and-metal apparatus that comes out of the wall immediately above them. I’ve got no idea what it is, but I wonder if it’s something to do with hooking up large slabs of meat (like, half – or whole – cows) and hauling them in to the cold storage.
Am I close? Am I way off base? People, please share what you know!