Northeast Tarrant

Cool Christmas ornament celebrates Grapevine history

Talk about a n(ice) way to highlight a Christmas tree and Grapevine history at the same time.

For 2013, the city chose for its annual limited edition Christmas ornament to honor the importance of ice before electric refrigerator/freezers became a staple in every home.

The 2013 limited edition Grapevine Ice House ornament is available from the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The decoration honors the original Grapevine Ice Company — a long defunct commercially owned business — and its replica, which is under construction and upon completion will be home to the Grapevine Historical Museum.

For more than 30 years, the Grapevine Ice Company served customers in Dallas, Tarrant and Denton counties.

Earl Copeland, the founder of the Grapevine Ice Company, selected Grapevine because he saw the city’s growth potential, according to Pam Price of the Grapevine Historical Society.

Businesses such as his ushered in the modern era, transforming Grapevine into a regional commerce center.

David Klempin, the city’s historic preservation officer and manager. said the ornament will evoke fond memories of the ice company.

He said when they began making plans for the replica for their museum — which will look from the front like a mirror of the original building — they spent countless hours researching the old business so that the new site would be as close to the original as possible.

An article in the “Grapevine Area History” book, published in 1979, by Wade C. Cummings tells the story firsthand of the Grapevine Ice Company.

Grapevine Ice Company was built by Copeland in 1940. It was located on Highway 114 — now called Northwest Highway — one block west of Main Street.

Cummings, who was an engineer during its construction, purchased the ice company in 1946 and operated the business until it was sold in 1967 to Dr. Ira Woods, then-mayor of Grapevine. Operation of the plant was discontinued in the early 1970s.

The plant output was originally 10 tons a day until expansion in 1947 increased daily tonnage to more than 15. During the summers, Coppell, Hurst, Keller and Roanoke were furnished ice by this company, and some was sold to Dallas and Irving. An ice route covered the Grapevine area.

According to the book, an everyday sight was the old familiar ice card in the window of many homes.

“The cards were square with the numbers 100, 50, 25, and 12 ½ printed, one on each edge of the card,” the book says. “These were placed in the window with the number at the top indicating to the iceman the size of the block of ice the housewife wished to purchase that day.”

In the mid-1950s, ice crushers and coin-operated vending machine were installed to dispense small blocks and bags of crushed ice. Farmers and construction workers came early in the mornings to fill their kegs with a day’s supply of ice and drinking water for their workers.

“Truck farmers also used crushed ice to keep produce fresh during transport,” the book says. “To many homes in the rural areas where no electricity was available, ice was depended upon to keep insulin for the diabetics, to provide milk for the baby and to make good old-fashioned home-cranked ice cream.”

Klempin said the already completed front of the replica building has the fascade of that historic ice house. It can be viewed at the Ted R. Ware Plaza, a collection of museums that tell the story of Grapevine and its early settlers.

In addition to a Prairie Water exhibit, the plaza, located at 206 W. Hudgins St., includes the ice building and three others. Settlement to City Museum chronicles Grapevine’s development from a pioneer settlement.

The ornament is available at the Visitor Information Center at 636 S. Main St. during normal business hours: 8 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.

For ornament cost and more information go to