People’s Ice and Fuel Company, Grosch and Mader
Grosch and Mader were partners in People’s Ice and Fuel Co.. All winter long, they harvested ice on the river and stored it in warehouses, packed in sawdust, where it stayed frozen until it was needed during the summer. The delivery of ice was primarily a summer business. The iceman would deliver blocks of ice to home iceboxes several times a week. In winter, they delivered fuel.
At first, the ice and fuel were delivered by horse and wagon. In 1914, Grosch and Mader bought one of the first trucks in La Crosse at a cost of $4,000.00. This would be about $85,000.00 today. The truck had an H.E. Wilcox motor, an all wood steering wheel, and wooden wheels with hard rubber tires. It was white with “Grosch and Mader” painted in bold lettering on the sides. (This truck still runs and is owned by Frank Mader.)
Later it became more practical to make ice artificially. This plant was located near the West Channel Bridge between La Crosse and La Crescent. The coming of electric refrigeration put an end to the ice block business.