Dragons of Duluth: Uncle Harvey’s Mausoleum

Dragons of Duluth: The Ice House of Uncle Harvey’s Mausoleum

Uncle Harvey’s Mausoleum, also known as the Icehouse or the Cribs, is one of Duluth, Minnesota’s most famous ruins. Rumors abound about how the crooked, partially-submerged cement structure came to be just off the shore of Canal Park, and just what it was used for—an icehouse, a bunker, even an illegal gambling den during prohibition (though the steeply-angled floors inside might make that a bit difficult). According to a historical marker put up by the city, it was built by Harvey Whitney, who thought he could make a short-cut to loading and unloading his wares, and avoid the need to pass through the canal into the harbor. But as so often happens when men try to cheat Gitchigami, the lake had the last laugh—with no harbor to shelter the loading dock, ships couldn’t safely reach it to use it, and the cement structure was swiftly abandoned.

On the rare hot summer days, students are frequently seen sunbathing and leaping off the structure into the lake, but otherwise the ruins are mostly a nesting sight for birds. During bad winter storms, the structure can be nearly engulfed in icy waves. What better place for dragons hide and take advantage of the nearby feast of fish and seagulls?