Marquand Park is fortunate to have a tunnel-shaped structure believed to be of the 1800s. Except that the entrance door was probably smaller and likely enlarged to accommodate changing needs over time, the mysterious structure still retains the appearance and integrity it had for the past 200 years. Built into a bank just past the Japanese maple, the building currently is used as a storage shed.
Its original purpose is uncertain, but on a 1917 hand-drawn map of Guernsey Hall the building is listed as an ice house. It appears next to the lily pond (circled on the map) which probably froze in winter and may have been the source of the ice or it may have been delivered from Princeton Ice Company, now Mountain Lakes Preserve**. The lily pond no longer exists but landscape is indelible, and you can still see the dip in the ground where it once was. An opening, which could have been used as an ice chute, is visible in the interior ceiling vault. Two of Eleanor Marquand’s grandchildren remember the building as an ice house and a root cellar, recalling “In the days before refrigerators, people would store large blocks of ice insulated with layers of sawdust in root cellars. Then in winter, the same places would become storage places for veggies like beets and potatoes.”
**To read/see more about ice delivery history in Princeton go visit the Mountain Lakes Preserve on Meadow Road