An auction in November could mean a new owner for the shuttered Ice Box, 3890 Washington St., where generations of Bostonians went when they needed a lot of ice.
Falcucci Properties bought the roughly half-acre property, which also includes a single-family house, for $2.4 million in 2018. It promptly shut the ice and bottled-water business, then tried to sell the buildings and land for $6 million in 2019. A seller signed a purchase-and-sale agreement, but the deal fell through. Now Falcucci has hired JJ Manning Auctioneers to auction off the land on Nov. 16.
10% certified deposit of which $100,000 by certified or bank check due at the auction and remainder of 10% due by 4pm ET on Friday, November 18, 2022. 30 days to close.
The former Ice Box building is on land zoned for light industrial uses.
ISD records show the Boston Ice Co. built a "retail ice sales station" at the location in 1928, back when refrigerators and freezers were just coming into vogue and people and companies still needed large amounts of ice.
Boston Ice, founded in 1866, originally harvested ice from Massachusetts ponds in the winter (it eventually bought the Jamaica Pond Ice Co.), and used a large fleet of horse-drawn carriages to deliver it as it grew through acquisition.
In 1877, in what became a precedent-setting contract case, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a Boston man who had grown dissatisfied with the company's ice delivery and switched to another company did not have to pay Boston Ice for the ice it delivered after it then bought that company and began delivering his ice again. The court ruled the man had no contract with Boston Ice for the new deliveries and so owed it nothing.
In 1901, the Supreme Judicial Court absolved the company of blame for injuries suffered by two young South End boys - 6 and 5 - when one of the company's ice-delivery men beat them with an ice-axe handle after one of them picked up the axe, which he had left unsecured on the sidewalk as he went to deliver some ice, and dropped it, causing it to break. The man testified he wanted to teach the young urchins a lesson; the court ruled that beating young children was not part of his normal job, so the company was not financially responsible.
In 1905, Boston Ice stopped serving Roslindale and West Roxbury "owing to the long distance it had to haul ice."
But by the 1920s, Boston Ice, then headquartered on State Street downtown, had begun to make its own ice, in several large plants around Boston, using electricity and ammonia to chill water enough to freeze it.
On May 31, 1928, the company got a building permit for its one-story ice store on Washington Street, near Forest Hills.
Over the decades, the store chugged along. Boston Ice eventually sold the facility. City records show the owner in 1958 as Kenney Ice and Fuel Co. and in 1966 as Northeast Petroleum Corp.
By 1986, Richard Lillis of Westwood had become its owner; in 1988, he got a building permit to add a two-story extension in the rear so he could make his own ice, rather than buying it from a supplier. In 1989, he added bottled water sales.
Currently, the Boston assessors list the value of the ice and bottled-water part of the property at $830,100, the 1,426-square-foot, three-bedroom colonial at $526,600.
H/t Abner for spotting the auction notice.