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South Texas Living

Is it icehouse or convenience store?

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Rainy Days and Starry Nights
May 30, 2012 | 2,574 views | 7 comments

Old habits are hard to break. It is hard for me to say “convenience stores.” I love little grocery stores. Floresville used to have many grocery stores, big and little.

When H-E-B came into town, they ran out the last of the locally owned grocery stores, Baumann’s. That made me so sad. But I also like icehouses -- or as the young generation says, “convenience stores.”

When I first was married in the 1950s we always went to the “icehouse.” Especially Lone Star Ice House, a well- known name in San Antonio. They had a cooler out front where you reached into the cooler, grabbed your bottle of ice-cold pop, then went inside to pay for it.

Well, they probably would be afraid to do that nowadays. Would they trust kids to take a soda and go inside to pay for it? I don’t think so. They also sold bread, beer, milk, and a few staples like sugar and cigarettes. There was always a good supply of comic books for the kids, as well as candy.

Originally, they were places that not surprisingly sold ice. Texas summers being famous for the scorching heat, and since electricity didn’t come to many people in the early days, ice was delivered to homes from the icehouse.

Then those icehouses began to sell soda pop, beer, bread, cigarettes, and things like that. That was when we called them icehouses. We had Lone Star Ice House, then came Mr. M’s, 7-11, and Stop ’n’ Go. Our icehouse was a Mr. M’s at Cherry Ridge and 410, and also at Vance Jackson and 410; also we went to Lone Star “icehouse” at Vance Jackson and Future (I think that was Eddie’s favorite).

Years later, when we moved to North Texas, we had a Mr. M store right around the corner on Hurstview in Hurst, where we lived for 37 years, which was so exciting for my kids when they built it.

Before that, they had to ride their bikes about half a mile to Bedford Euless Road to the Stop ’n’ Go, where they rushed to spend their $1 allowance every week. Or was it 50 cents? They also bought candy for 1 cent and sold it for 2 cents to the neighbor kids in the “Clubhouse” that Eddie built in the back yard. That was good profit for my kids, Derek and Kristi. They learned to double their money!

Eddie never got used to calling them “convenience stores.” He always said, “I’m going by the icehouse to get a pack of cigarettes and a loaf of bread.” I knew what he meant. He would go by Lone Star Ice or Stop ’n’ Go.

It is sad, because the icehouses have become a thing of the past. In remembrance of my husband, I think I will go to the icehouse and get a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread!

Lois Zook Wauson is the oldest of eight children who grew up on a farm in Wilson County in the mid-20th century. After many years living in other parts of Texas, she now lives and writes in Floresville. Her two books are available from the Wilson County News office.

Your Opinions and Comments

June 4, 2012 7:00am
One voice - Yes I am old enough to remember when you would see people driving without the "bags". When it was legal to drive while drinking a beer - As long as you were not drunk of course - Then they changed the ... More ›

One Voice  
June 1, 2012 5:52pm
Retired - I remember those paper bags - I heard them called Baptist Bags. lol Thanks Lois - it brought back my young memories too!

Fred Ohnesorge  
Floresville, TX  
June 1, 2012 2:10pm
The last icehouses i can remember still being active were around Jones Ave by CPS and one i think at the intersection of Goliad and Highland Blvd. They are by no means as nice as they used to be though. Thanks for the great article !!

Ken Semlinger  
Poth, TX  
June 1, 2012 10:21am
Great article Lois.

Lois Wauson  
Floresville, TX  
June 1, 2012 8:56am
Nothing like good old fashioned "ice house" in a neighborhood. Good memories for me too.

June 1, 2012 3:51am
I have good memories of the "icehouses" in Houston - Many small stores that are now called convience stores would have large tanks typically used for cattle watering filled with beer/soda iced down and they were much ... More ›

Elaine K.  
May 31, 2012 9:28pm
I used to walk to the local Lone Star Ice House on Fairlawn in San Antonio with my kids to get a soda or something. It was our little excursion. Thanks for the memories, Lois!

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