Renewing the Old Ice House
Every town has its legends and oddities. After a half-century of abandonment, the Ice House property near the railroad in Edmond and directly west of the Edmond farmer’s market is about to become a community hub–again.
To understand the new concept, you must appreciate the old. The Edmond Ice Plant began in 1909, providing the exciting, new, American trend of “refrigeration” in the form of ice blocks. In 1921, Shelden’s Ice Cream and Butter Factory opened next door in partnership with Rodkey Flour Mill. These three properties became an industrial center and a gathering place to share cold drinks.
Now, a hundred years later, the site is returning to its original purpose as a creamery. The idea resonated with development partners, Brandon Lodge and Patrick Myers. Patrick’s family, who owns and operates a local dairy farm, was seeking the right place to open an urban creamery.
“We plan to truck fresh milk in from Cushing, OK every day to process into cheese and ice cream,” said Patrick. “The creamery was new and innovative a century ago, before the rise in industrial dairy farming. Our approach brings us back to fresh, community-grown products. We think that shortening the food supply chain will resonate with people.”
Although the creamery has become the heart of the Ice House renovation, it’s just one piece of the concept. The entire property, which includes a variety of buildings, has evolved into a complex of unique restaurants dedicated to promoting local food producers.
Here’s the quick tour:
The Ice House: Because the brick icehouse is the “crown jewel” building, it is being saved and repurposed.
The Creamery Complex: The central metal building is the creamery, which includes a bakery and coffee shop. The surrounding buildings include a brewery, taco diner and a unique pizza eatery.
The Courtyard: A large outdoor area, fenced for child safety, will have seating, edible landscaping, and a large interactive grasshopper art piece.
The Stable Events Space: The old horse stable is being converted into an intimate event space with a secret garden, working in conjunction with the larger event space, Venue 102, located in the renovated Farmers Grain building next door.
“We’re not just creating a real-estate development, we’re promoting a lifestyle of sustainability,” Patrick said. “We’ll have food growing on property using advanced urban agriculture systems. Even the spent grains from the brewery will be fed to the cows. We think this approach is how people want to eat, and so we’re creating this “destination space” where people will also want to spend their time for holidays, events or kid’s field trips.”
“It’s really a social project. That’s why we’ve decided to brand the area The Icehouse Project,” Brandon said.
“We want to honor the site’s history and keep its past spirit of innovation alive for the community,” said Chandler Bennett, development partner and marketing manager.
“I love the historic districts in Oklahoma City, Guthrie, and Edmond. I want to save our beautiful old structures, especially in Edmond, where I live,” Brandon said. “The original Icehouse introduced a new way for people to gather for ice-cold refreshment and conversation. Now, it will be reintroduced as a venue where families can go for great local food, drink, and socialization. The past Icehouse and the present Icehouse will have a story that intertwines,” said Brandon.