Before modern refrigeration, Ice Houses were used to store perishable food, especially in the hot summer months. While many households had small ice boxes to keep food cool, a working model dairy farm as large as Loeb Farms needed a substantially larger area to store enough ice to keep the farm supplied. Also known as the Octagonal Tower because of its eight-sided shape, the Ice House originally boasted a pyramid shaped roof, and was used as a storage facility for ice (Loeb Farms, 1918-1927). Large blocks of ice were harvested in winter from Lake Charlevoix, hauled up Loeb Creek, then stored in the Ice House to keep foods cool during the summer months. Visitors at Loeb Farms were able to stroll the grounds, buy milk, cheese, and ice cream (which was stored in the Ice House).
The Castle, which was built in 1918, was inspired by the architecture of castles found in Normandy, France. The decorative arches and buttresses of the Ice House are similar to ones found on castles throughout the French countryside. The center arch where the minister now stands with the bridal couple, was originally enclosed, just like the other arches in the tower. When the Castle’s current owner, Linda Mueller, decided to use the Ice House for outdoor weddings, she had the center arch opened to make a more attractive ceremony site. This earned it a new name: the Knight’s Chapel.
Look high up, and you’ll notice the crenelations topping the tower walls. Archers at real castles sought cover behind defensive battlements such as crenelations to shield themselves from arrows launched by enemy troops. History doesn’t tell us how, when or why the original pyramid roof was removed, but Linda added stairs and a topside viewing platform during her restoration. Photographers often capture phenomenal weddings photos from the top of the Ice House.
From essential refrigeration to romantic ceremony location, the Ice House or Knight’s Chapel provides couples with a unique backdrop for their wedding day.