By Pam Russell of the Lake Bluff History Museum
On Friday June 28, the Lake Bluff History Museum will present the newly restored 1931 Lake Bluff Ice Truck to the community, starting with the grand “reveal” at 5 pm at the fire station, and continuing until 8 pm on Block One of Scranton Avenue. Following the reveal and a brief gathering to meet the individuals responsible for the restoration and learn the truck’s history, the truck will be driven to Scranton Avenue for a block party to support the museum’s efforts to bring the ice truck back to life and share it with the community. The block party will feature the Lake Bluff Ice Truck, several antique cars, a special ice truck brew from the Lake Bluff Brewing Company and other refreshments.
The Lake Bluff Ice Company and ice truck were owned by Lake Bluff resident Stephen Meutescu. Meutescu cut ice from local lakes and delivered it to homes in Lake Bluff during the 1930s and into the 1940s. Once refrigerators became common household appliances, the need for ice delivery was eliminated and the truck was put into storage. In the 1960s, Meutescu gave the ice truck to his grandson, Tom Wisdom, and the truck was moved to DeKalb.
Fifty-some years later, Wisdom donated the truck to the museum. It travelled to Lake Bluff on a flat bed truck and the restoration project began. The evening’s events represent the culmination of three years work by a team of volunteers that has dedicated time, talent and ingenuity to locate parts, repair, sand blast and paint the truck to bring it back to life. The truck – or parts of it – have made three prior appearances since returning to Lake Bluff. The unrestored truck appeared in the 2010 Lake Bluff Fourth of July parade: the restored chassis and engine were displayed in the 2011 parade. A more intact version was paraded for the crowds in 2012.
This year, the Lake Bluff Ice truck will roll in the parade under its own power. The June 28 event was scheduled to provide an opportunity for people to celebrate this accomplishment, view this masterpiece up close before the ice truck rolls in this year’s parade, and provide support for both restoration work that’s been done and the museum’s future plans to showcase the Lake Bluff Ice Truck!
The Lake Bluff History Museum connects people with Lake Bluff’s history by researching, organizing, and preserving artifacts relevant to Lake Bluff and its past and present inhabitants; sharing knowledge by telling stories of the people and the social history of Lake Bluff; and creating activities that bring history to life. Located at 127 East Scranton Avenue, Lake Bluff, the facility is open Tuesday and Thursday from 1-4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., or by appointment. For additional information on Lake Bluff history, call (847) 482-1571.