Before the development of modern refrigeration , ice cream was a luxury reserved for special occasions. Making it was quite laborious; ice was cut from lakes and ponds during the winter and stored in holes in the ground, or in wood-frame or brick ice houses , insulated by straw. Many farmers and plantation owners, including . Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson , cut and stored ice in the winter for use in the summer. Frederic Tudor of Boston turned ice harvesting and shipping into a big business, cutting ice in New England and shipping it around the world.