The Marquand Park Foundation is delighted to announce the completion of a full restoration of the icehouse on the Park grounds by the historic restoration masonry firm A. Pennacchi & Sons. This joint effort preserves one of a handful of icehouses that remain in New Jersey. The before and after photos illustrate the professional and dramatic transformation of this iconic structure.
What is an icehouse? Up to and throughout the 19th century, an icehouse was a way to conserve food such as dairy items, meats, and vegetables during the warm seasons, as well as to preserve ice throughout the year. Domestic icehouses were not an unusual feature on an estate. Given the horticultural passions of the Marquand estate owners, it is possible that the Marquand Park icehouse may also have been used as a cold house for plants or bulbs they wanted to keep dormant during the summertime.
How did it work? As a way of keeping the temperature cool, part of the structure was underground, typically built into the north side of a hill or mound, preferably with some large trees for shade nearby. A drain underneath would carry off ice melt to prevent dampness. The ice was closely packed inside; perishables could be stored in a vault above or in an antechamber. Thick stone walls with a layer of stucco helped to insulate the interior from outside temperatures.
The restoration: The work began on August 28, 2020. This major project included re-setting all of the loose and dis-bonded stone work, stone pointing, prepping and cleaning the mortar joints and stone work, installing matching stone to the front facade over the block work, re-pointing all mortar joints, installing a steel vent to the rear upper wall for ventilation, removing existing interior spalling cementitious lime wash off the interior walls, and re-plastering and waterproofing the interior stucco.
The A. Pennacchi & Sons crew also removed the existing concrete slab at the entrance of the icehouse and installed a new properly pitched perimeter drain in front of the doors. A new stone veneer of Williamson Fieldstone was installed to the front facade wall of the icehouse. The roof has been covered with earth, and awill soon be green with new plant material.
All that remains to be done is to repaint the doors, and the Marquand Park Foundation is currently exploring some novel approaches to this finishing touch!
About A. Pennacchi & Sons, Inc.: A. Pennacchi & Sons was established in 1947 by Anthony and John Pennacchi. Anthony and John’s father, Gaetano, came to Trenton from Italy in the early 1930s, and started a masonry business in the Chambersburg section of the city. Paul Pennacchi, President of A. Pennacchi & Sons, Inc and his brother, Anthony, Jr., represent the third generation of the family business. Some of the many services they offer are masonry restoration, brick and stone pointing, masonry repairs, waterproofing, plastering, and historical restoration. https://apennacchi.com/
We hope you are enjoying Marquand Park! In this stressful time it is important to enjoy the outdoors and fresh air. If you wander through the woods, look for bluebells growing in the understory. These are native Virignia bluebells, Mertensia virginica
We have put together a digital tour on Google Earth. You can explore the park from your couch – or on a socially distanced walk! Either way, we hope you will enjoy learning more about the remarkable collection of trees at Marquand Park – A Certified Arboretum! Follow this link to take the tour. Google Earth is available as an App for your phone or you can view it on your computer.
Because of mandatory social distancing guidelines, all events at the park have been canceled for the foreseeable future. The playground at the park is closed however the grounds are open to visitors.
Many local and state jurisdictions have flagged exercise as a key component for maintaining mental and physical health during the outbreak. In a joint statement released by the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA), they emphasize how parks provide natural beauty to enjoy, and plenty of open space for individuals to spread out and exercise in accordance with the CDC’s recommendations for social distancing.
Please do your part to keep Marquand Park open to visitors. Maintain 6′ distance and family groups only. Stay tuned for online programming and enjoy the park responsibly!
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