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Elli Morris



Each evening, I became the official gatekeeper of the family’s frozen treasures.


Elli Morris is a freelance photojournalist and writer. Her photography regularly appears in newspapers, trade journals, magazines and on commercial Web sites. Morris’ diverse assignments include being the photographer for a scientific expedition in the rainforests of Belize, documenting historical landmarks in a mining town in Virginia, and investigating hurricane recovery efforts on the Gulf Coast. She is a contributing writer for various newspapers and has several monthly columns in trade journals covering such topics as women in the funeral industry and ecologically-sound business trends.

Morris has lived in fifteen cities in twelve states in the U.S. and wandered on her own around the globe through fifty countries, hitchhiking, stowing away in boats, and sleeping in different locations every night for months at a time. Her eclectic work world includes being a segment producer for PBS, curriculum developer/instructor of a botanical outreach program serving inner-city third-graders, legislative liaison, art gallery director, textbook reader for the blind, window and art model, tree data collector, kayak and horseback guide, loggerhead sea turtle patroller, ski lift operator, waitress and bartender. Morris has a bachelor’s degree from University of Kentucky in forestry and studied photography at University of Nevada-Reno as a graduate special.

Intrigued with her findings at the old family icehouse she called home for one year, Elli Morris began exploring the history of the 300-pound block ice business. She uncovered the accidental beginnings of manufactured ice, the rise of ice from luxury to necessity, the amazing amount of machinery and power needed to make the big cakes of ice, the variety of businesses that relied on ice in their production and why manufactured ice had been one of the top ten industries in the United States.

Morris sums up her journey back in time, writing:

[A]long the way, I discovered a huge hole in American history. I discovered a larger story than my family history, larger than even the state where we had our business. I discovered an entire region profoundly affected by the manufacturing of block ice, and how valuable that industry was for our nation as a whole.

Through entertaining anecdotes, insightful facts and artistic imagery, Morris presents an intimate look at the monumental history of the men and women who created cold.

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