Ice Ice Baby: This obscure Alexandria monument celebrates all things frozen

This Obscure Alexandria monument celebrates all things frozen

Imagine wanting iced tea and having to fish for it!

It’s an obscure Alexandria monument dedicated to one of the premier luxuries of the 18th and 19th centuries — cold, hard ice!

Alexandria’s Historic Ice Well, located at the corner of North Royal Street in Old Town, is right next to Gadsby’s Tavern. Although it’s technically underground, you can peek inside if you go down a short set of hidden stairs around the corner from the restaurant.

Back in 1792 when the ice well opened, Old Town was a part of D.C., and Gadsby’s was known as the City Hotel — lodgings for high-rollers and famous figures, such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Ice was brought in through a secret tunnel that ran underneath the hotel, after blocks of it were cut directly from the Potomac River, and lowered into the well. In the 18th century, ice was considered a rare luxury, reserved for high society — quite different from rummaging through your freezer today!

WTOP’s Matt Kaufax decided to head to Old Town to check out the ice well, and catch up with some familiar friends along the way. Check out the video of his latest adventure.

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Matt Kaufax

If there's an off-the-beaten-path type of attraction, person, or phenomenon in the DC area that you think more people should know about, Matt is your guy. As the features reporter for WTOP, he's always on the hunt for stories that provide a unique local flavor—a slice of life if you will.

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