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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
Historic Alexandria
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Page updated Apr 12, 2011 11:19 AM

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Ice in Historic Ice Well Completely Melted!

Ice Melt Contest Comes to an End over the Weekend

Gadsby’s Tavern Museum staff is mourning the loss of several tons of ice from its 18th-century subterranean ice well. First stocked on Friday, February 18, the last of the ice melted early this past weekend, ending a contest that had participants guessing the day when the ice would be completely melted. That day was Saturday, April 9.

Liz Williams, Assistant Director at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, has been documenting the Ice Melt Contest through her blog, “History on the Rocks.” Williams had noted in recent days that the remaining ice had been about the size of a cat and then just a guinea pig. But she was still shocked and saddened when she discovered on Saturday afternoon that not even a cube or a sliver of ice remained.

Contestants bought guesses at $10 apiece to help raise money to restore the historic ice well and to get a chance at cool, “ice”-y prizes like a diamond bracelet, Waterford crystal and a gift certificate to PX. Yesterday, museum staff notified the three winning contestants who correctly picked the date of April 9.

Though the contest is officially over, Williams is continuing her blog to help raise awareness of the importance of Gadsby’s Ice Well in the museum’s interpretation of travel and hospitality in the early years of our country and in Alexandria’s history. Currently, the ice well is in need of extensive restoration and about $250,000 still needs to be raised for the final phase of the project.

For more information, call 703.746.4242 or visit