Missing: Part of famous Duluth ruin, which vanished from Lake Superior shore


For Duluth, it's as if the Leaning Tower of Pisa finally leaned over all the way.

Part of an architectural curiosity on the shores of Lake Superior has mysteriously vanished.

Called one of Duluth's "most recognizable landmarks" by City Pages, it's known to locals as "The Icehouse," "The Cribs," or, more colorfully, "Uncle Harvey's Mausoleum." The site is characterized by a tilting main structure and a nearby concrete pillar – the latter of which is inexplicably gone.

Duluthian Mike Scholtz told City Pages he investigated the ice where the pillar had been, only to find an opaque surface and no trace of what might have happened.

The structures are more than just a quirky landmark – they're historical artifacts. According to Zenith City Archive, the ruin is what remains of one Harvey Whitney's (the namesake of "Uncle Harvey") venture to build a "sand and gravel" hopper nearly a century ago. The organization says its purpose was to help Duluth construct an "outer harbor breakwater," but the plan was scrapped and the concrete buildings abandoned.

The disappearance of the pillar may have been long in the making, however. The Duluth News Tribune quotes local freediver Jim Richardson as saying the structure was slowly rotting away.

"It was only a matter of time," he said. "The column was composed of timbers sheathed in concrete but much of the concrete below water level was eroded away, leaving bare wood."

The mystery may be solved when the lake thaws, but Duluth's shoreline will surely look a little different from now on.

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