ur family originally settled in the Burnside section of East Hartford in 1826. “Burn” is a Scottish word for brook or stream and the water is very much an important part of our business. The original ice house and pond was built
by my grandfather, Albert McClellan, on land that is now part of the East Hartford Public Golf Course. The company was founded in 1911, delivering harvested pond ice to homes in town via horse and wagon. The current ice house located at 776 Tolland Street, was built in 1933. To this day, it is the second oldest family-owned business in town and is now owned and managed by Robert L. McClellan, 3rd generation iceman.
As the demand for ice changed in the early 1950s, Burnside Ice Co. diversified into selling rock salt and and home heating oil and coal, as well as snow removal during harsh New England winters. As time moved on, the American population found new venues to enjoy their leisure time and ice then became an important commodity in this equation. As American society became more mobile with the family automobile, trips to the beach, mountains and distant road trips became commonplace, necessitating the need for ice. As the demand for ice grew, so did our realization that we had to move with the times and install ice making and packaging machinery.
Today, our Frosty Nuggets Ice Crystals are hygienically produced and packaged in a resealable bag for consumer convenience. The Burnside Ice Co. is the last block ice plant in Connecticut, one of only three remaining in New England, and is currently being considered for designation on the national historical register. In 2002, The Burnside Ice Co. was honored by the UCONN Family Business Program with the Connecticut Family Business of the Year Award, coming in first in the small business category. This prestigious award recognizes those family businesses that embody core family values and the best of American free enterprise, focusing on business success, positive family and business linkage, multi-generational family involvement, dynamic contributions to community and industry, and innovative business practices or strategies.
Ice is American as apple pie, but often taken for granted. Our family’s ice making tradition is one of pride, history and dedication in providing the public the best quality ice product available, regularly tested by State-approved laboratories for quality assurance, with a secret family recipe passed down from generation to generation. This summer, try our recently introduced new ice product called Cooler Fuel specifically for use in chilling canned or bottled beverages in your cooler. Ice chunks, broken from hardened 300-lb blocks, lasts longer than cocktail cubes and is packaged in a convenient 15-lb reusable handle bag.
Check out this video tour of Burnside Ice Co., produced by Forris Day, Jr.