Until the mid-1920s, the Buena Vista Ice Company of Germantown (now Cascade), Maryland, was located on this site for the harvesting of natural ice used to preserve produce and dairy products during shipment. It was one of the southernmost operations of its kind on the East Coast.
From December to February , the ice in the center lake was measured daily. When it reached a thickness of at least eight inches, a loud steam whistle summoned workers from the mountain. Through snow drifts and over ice-rutted dirt roads, 50 to 100 hardy men came to the lake. They worked from dawn to dusk for $1.35 to $1.75 a day. The ice was stored in eleven wooden ice houses, each capable of holding 32,000 pounds of ice for up to three years.
In 1926, the Maryland National Guard selected this area for the building of a summer training camp. (Camp Albert C. Ritchie) and the Buena Vista Ice Company passed into the pages of local history.