JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — The crane lifting two massive ice-making machines through the roof at 724 W. Walnut St. Thursday told the story: A century-plus of ice and coal distribution from Harman Ice’s original home ends in just a few weeks.
Long a fixture on West Walnut, Harman sold the property to the City of Johnson City last year and is moving to Rocky Top Road, just off Interstate 26 in south Johnson City. They’ve been allowed to continue operating while the eastern portion of the West Walnut Street revitalization began, but the city will soon raze the buildings for water retention, green space and a street extension.
The icemakers were scheduled to spend Thursday night on the legacy property, where they’ve been the linchpin of Harman pumping out thousands, if not millions, of tons of ice through the years.
On Friday, forklifts will move the massive icemakers onto flatbed trucks for the short journey to Harman Ice’s new location.
After the machines get reconditioned, they’ll go into the new building the same way they came out of the old one, through the roof.
The machines have been working overtime in recent weeks to prepare for an extended period of downtime. Andy Harman said a massive freezer at the current site is “jam-packed” to get the company through the next couple of months.
Harman has until Dec. 31 to be off the property it’s called home for more than a century. Harman said they’re on track to easily meet that deadline. Making ice at the new site is another matter.
“We’ve got to do all the ammonia piping, we’ve got to wire it in,” he said.
Harman has three other ice plants, so if the Johnson City-based company runs through its supply here before flipping the switch on Rocky Top Road, they’ll just bring it to this market from their other plants, Harman said.