This is a Duluth landmark known to locals as the Ice House. On federal navigation charts it is referred to as Cribs, and has also been called Uncle Harvey’s Mausoleum. Although the subject of several local legends — it’s a remnant of a former prohibition-era casino, or a bunker — the truth is less spectacular. It is the foundation of a former sand and gravel loading dock, the brainchild of Harvey Whitney, one of the Whitney Brothers of Superior, Wisconsin.
Whitney speculated that the City of Duluth might resurrect an outer harbor breakwater which had protected this area of the shore but had been abandoned in 1872. In anticipation, he built this dock.
Unfortunately, the breakwater was never rebuilt. Subsequently, due to the punishing weather and erosion from Lake Superior, The Ice House only lasted three years, from 1919 to 1922.
The Ice House is now a diving platform for adventurous swimmers.
Above: swimmers enjoying a dive from the Ice House in June of 2012.
Update: Sometime between New Years Day and February 15th, 2015, the pillar part of CRIBS disappeared beneath Lake Superior, and some speculate the Icehouse portion may soon follow.
Photos by Troy Larson, copyright 2017 Sonic Tremor Media