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Homemade ice palace in St. Paul destroyed by vandals

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Ice castles are meant to be temporary but Gary Pruitt thinks the one he built would have lasted until May. If not for a couple of golf club-wielding vandals who brought the 10-foot tall castle tumbling down before President's Day.

The Pioneer Press has the story of the homemade ice castle that took two months to build and far less time to destroy. Pruitt tells the newspaper he heard a commotion in his yard at 4 a.m. on Saturday and saw two boys he estimates were 10 to 14 years old. The kids took off running after he yelled at them, he says, but by then the palace – 50 feet long and made with 700 blocks of ice – was in ruins.

Pruitt tells the Pioneer Press his project was inspired by the ice palace of St. Paul's 1992 Winter Carnival, which is featured in a poster that hangs in Pruitt's home. He says he started filling milk jugs and shoe boxes with tap water in December to form the bricks. He built a castle out of them during this year's Carnival and shined lights on it to make the castle glow.

That 1992 palace was on Harriet Island and was enjoyed by many visitors who came to the Twin Cities for the Super Bowl that winter. The Winter Carnival has a page devoted to its ice palace legacy.

Gary Pruitt tells the Pioneer Press he decided against trying to rebuild his homemade ice castle and instead used a sledgehammer to finish its removal.

But in addition to photographs there is another remnant in his possession. It seems that, like Cinderella fleeing the ball, one of the young vandals lost a shoe as he scurried away from the scene.

"The shoe's my war trophy," Pruitt tells the paper. "I'm thinking of bronzing it and putting it on my roof."

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