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Before it was Lake Duffy, it was the Colebrook Ice Dam.

You might already know that ice harvested from the former lake in Mt. Gretna would be stored and later sold, as well as being saved for the summer military encampments held at there. Saw dust was use to insulate the ice and keep it cold.

But how did the ice actually get harvested?

Penn Live visited the Dreibelbis Farm Historical Society in Berks County, where they took the video below of a demonstration ice harvest.

YouTube video

The process is labor intensive, to say the least.

Want to know more about the Colebrook Ice Dam? Enjoy reading these clips from the Lebanon Daily News over the years. (Shoutout to Les Stewart who had clipped some of these on Newspapers.com.)

January 13, 1894

Lake Duffy and lands surrounding were acquired by the Pennsylvania Game Commission from the Pennsylvania Department of Military Affairs in 1938 and 1941 with 1,921 and 736 acre acquisition, respectively.

Here’s what it looked like around that time, circa 1940, thanks to the Penn Pilot photo archive.


State Game Lands 145 is 2,816 total deeded acres, 87% which is forested. Deer, turkey, grouse, rabbits, squirrels, fox, raccoons, ducks, and pheasants can all be found here.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission drained Lake Duffy/the Colebrook Ice Dam in 1987.

Want more? Here are links to some of our previous posts about this area.

Gretna’s now-gone Lake Duffy was named after a Lackawanna County WWI hero

Remembering when the PA National Guard helped defend the Mexican border after mustering in Mt. Gretna

Before the Pennsylvania Farm Show, there was the Mt. Gretna Farmers’ Encampment

With Soldiers Field purchase, Pennsylvania Chautauqua secures a legacy for historic military training site

Mt. Gretna Soldiers Field purchase complete as Pennsylvania Chautauqua pays Eastern Enterprises nearly a million dollars

Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments or send us an email to tips@leb.town.


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