The wharf was built shortly after July 7, 1896 when Fred Smith purchased a fairly large tract of land and soon began construction of the wharf extending into Mussel Ridge Channel. Smith and his partner Whitney, sold ice, coal, wood, gasoline, water and fishermen’s supplies from the wharf, as well as fish, lobsters, and scallops. The sailing vessel and small steamboat tied up at the wharf were likely there for supplies.
Smith built an earthen dam below a marshy area to form a pond for winter ice harvesting. Blocks of ice were taken by horse and sleigh via an access road, 1/3 of the way up the pond from the dam, down the Holiday Beach Road to the ice house, the tallest building on the shore. There the ice was packed in sawdust or hay for year round storage. Also on this property was a natural spring from which water was taken and sold to summer cottage clientele as well as boats stopping for supplies.
Fred Smith operated a successful business from the wharf until about 1916, when his health started failing and with it his business ventures. Not much remains today to indicate that this wharf and business even existed. The dam still holds, and a few rotting pilings from the wharf are still visible, as well as a fairly large area of rocks spread over the beach which had been used to hold and stabilize the cribwork for the wharf.
The ice house was the last building standing in the mid 1920s. A strong wind came up late one day and my grandmother, Christina Ross, walked to the shore to see if her husband, Charlie, was in from fishing. Turning to go back home, she heard a loud crash and looked behind her to see the ice house collapsing.
Kay Ross Dodge
Mussel Ridge Historical Society