Texans have always looked for ways to beat the heat, which means ice was big business here in Dallas. Prior to 1878, ice was sent by railroad car (often ones packed with beer) from the Great Lakes to Galveston and then up to Dallas, where it was sold for 15-cents a pound. Eventually, ice plants popped up all over the city, including the East Dallas Ice Factory on Swiss Avenue in 1886, which burned to the ground a year later. Within a few months, competitor C.H. Alexander opened the Dallas Ice Factory on Hall and Swiss. It manufactured 150 pounds of ice daily, and in 1897 also began producing electric currents. Rebranded the Dallas Ice Factory, Light and Power Company, the company was embroiled in the “ice wars,” which led to a lawsuit in 1904. Plaintiff Joe B. Wills, who sold ice, unsuccessfully sued the company for creating a monopoly with other ice producers that led to unfair pricing structures, while dealers who complained saw their supply cut off. More bad news would follow as many of the plant’s workers developed mesothelioma from the asbestos in the building, leading to more lawsuits. (Source: The Dallas Morning News, Wills vs. Central Ice and Cold Storage Co.)
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