The Ice House Mall & Village Shops is nestled in the heart of downtown Barrington, Illinois. The Ice House Mall was originally built in 1904 as the Bowman Dairy. Farmers brought milk cans to town by wagon, poured the milk into vats, the cans were washed, steamed and slid down an outside ramp to be picked up again. The dairy bottled whole milk in pints and quarts, separated the whole cream and sold the skim milk to farmers for their hogs.
In 1926, the Bowman Dairy became the Suburban Ice Company which transformed the dairy to an ice plant. Jefferson Ice Company purchased the plant in 1930 and enlarged the ice making and storage facilities. Water for the manufactured ice now came from wells on the property, not the lake (as they had before). Huge brine tanks were cooled by cold pipes filled with ammonia gas to 18 degrees above zero. Pure water in cans immersed in the brine, froze solid in 24 hours. The cans were dipped in vats of warm water to allow removal of the 400 pound blocks of ice, which were then stored. The ice was shipped out as block ice, in cubes or crushed and bagged.
During World War II ice plants were classified as essential because of the need to preserve food. The east portion of the ice company housed the refrigerated locker-rooms. People would rent lockers where they could store their food until ready to use in their home.
In 1974, the Jefferson Ice Company was purchased by a group of Barrington businessmen and the renovation of the Ice House Mall began. In the summer of 1978 hundreds gathered to watch the 62 year old Barrington train station be moved across town to the west side of the Ice House Mall. In 1980, a restaurant and shops were opened. A major renovation and an addition have transformed the original building into today’s charming village of specialties shops. It is now a shopping destination preserved with graceful turn-of-the-century architecture. It is a piece of preserved history – where you can eat, drink, shop, do business and pamper yourself all day!
Visit our stores, see your friends, and meet the businesses that call the Ice House home. Dine in a 1927 vintage Illinois Central Commuter Railroad car. Clothing from toddlers to sophisticated adults, footwear, Girl Scout supplies, fine and custom jewelry, Fine Art and more is available every day at our stores. For more shopping mall information call 847-381-6661.
Bowman Dairy Historical Exhibit Opened September 20 to January 2015 at the Ice House Mall and the Barrington Historical Society.