Duluth’s ‘cribs’ sinking out of sight

"The Cribs" or "Uncle Harvey's Mausoleum" near Duluth's Canal Park have been an iconic part of the city's "naturally industrial" motif for years. PHOTO: Pete Markham, Flickr CC

“The Cribs” or “Uncle Harvey’s Mausoleum” near Duluth’s Canal Park, seen here in July 2012, are a popular swimming spot and iconic part of the city’s landscape. PHOTO: Pete Markham, Flickr CC

It’s an interesting phenomenon when abandoned skeletons of industry become endearing local landmarks. Part of the their appeal is that these ruins endure without human aid; in fact, they survive active hostility. So it’s a strange, sad feeling when these vestiges of the past succumb to natural causes.

This has been the case as Duluth’s Canal Park “cribs,” otherwise known as “Uncle Harvey’s Mausoleum” or “The Duluth Ice House.”

There was quite a local tizzy a couple weeks back when the concrete pillar in front of the larger structure disappeared. Divers located the pillar under water.

Cory Fechner reports on Perfect Duluth Day that the whole works is now sinking. It seems unlikely survive the ice-out.

UPDATE: I’ve been had! As a comment writer here points out, the post is a hoax. But the Cribs is certainly beginning to sink. It’s just a process that may take years rather than weeks. Really, aren’t we all sinking?

In a way, it reminds me of how I felt when the city of Hibbing tore down the remains of the Dupont power house at Carey Lake. These mysterious reminders of the past bring more comfort than city planners often realize.

PHOTO: Flickr CC

Uncle Harvey’s Mausoleum (a.k.a “The Cribs”) was built in 1919 on the waterfront in Duluth, MN. The “mausoleum” was not a burial site but instead a sand and gravel hopper that was abandoned in 1922. Harvey Whitney had gambled that the city of Duluth would revive efforts to build an outer harbor breakwater and he would provide the materials using the cribbs. Unfortunately, the plan was scrapped and the lake’s northeastern storms reclaimed the cement structure. These young men are using the cribs as a diving platform. The shadow on the left is from a fourth boy that had jumped a few moments earlier. PHOTO: Howard Ignatius, Flickr CC


  1. MinnesotaBrown fan says
    • Thanks for the heads up. I don’t have the opportunity to check it out with my own eyes up here in the woods. Effective use of plausibility on that hoax! I’ll live to see that thing fall into the water, but nice to know it’s still up for now.

  2. Lee Larson says

    The ruins are still there. But the city of Duluth has sunk out of sight.

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