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W.T. Churchill Sign

Trade sign for W.T. Churchill, early 20th century
Probably made in Duxbury, Massachusetts
wood, paint; iron hardware
Dimensions: 19” (h) x 29” (w)
DRHS Purchase (2012.31)

Walter T. Churchill (1884-1982) was a life long resident of Duxbury. Around 1910, he married Gertrude A. Glober. He is buried in Mayflower Cemetery, in Duxbury.

The 1930 Duxbury Census confirms that W.T. Churchill was a dealer in ice and was located on Chestnut Street. At that time, he had become a widower at the age of 45 and had four children: Evelyn F. (age 16); Ralph S. (13); Madeline (7); Walter T. (1 ½)

The millponds in Duxbury were an abundant source of ice during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Ice was harvested once it became 8″ thick. Workers would saw through the ice with long saws, pulling the large, heavy blocks onto sledges which they dragged to nearby storage buildings. There the blocks were covered with sawdust and piled high. So well insulated, the blocks would last through the summer and ice cut from these blocks would be delivered to area homes and businesses. The ice business survived until the 1940s, by which time most homeowners had bought refrigerators.