Philadelphia Information Locator Service
Agency Information

Ice Boats, Trustees of

[Record group 153]
Alternative/Former Names
Bureau of Ice Boats

Agency Function
This Board has ceased to function.

The purposes of the Trustees of the City Ice Boat(s) was to operate a vessel on the Delaware River which would be instrumental in breaking the ice during winter months and ensuring a free and open passage on the river to the Port of Philadelphia. The vessel could also be used for towage and, in emergencies, be deployed to assist other ships in distress not only in the Delaware River and Bay but along the adjacent coasts.

Agency History
The Trustees were established by an ordinance of March 2, 1837 which provided for the annual election by City Councils of twelve citizens who were given complete charge of the boats' construction and operation and the setting of their fees. An ordinance of 1880 raised their number to thirteen. In pursuance of the Bullitt Bill the boats were in 1887 placed in the charge of the Bureau of City Ice Boats of the Department of Public Works. In 1907 that bureau was transferred to the Department of Wharves, Docks, and Ferries. While under that department's control the boats were eventually used only as dredges due to the gradual disappearance of ice from the Delaware River.

Archival Records
153.1 Log Book (1869-1884)

153.2 Cash Journal and Ledger (1837-1877)

153.3 Receipt Notices (1837-1846)

153.4 Warrant Stubs (1854-1865; missing August 1857-April 1861)

153.5 Towage Account Book (1842-1855)


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Last updated on July 9, 1999