Here are some photos of Flat Stanley visiting the 2004 Ice Palace at the Winter Carnival in Saint Paul, Minnesota
In 1885 a New York reporter wrote that Saint Paul was “another Siberia, unfit for human habitation” in winter. Offended by this attack on their Capital City, the Saint Paul Chamber of Commerce decided to not only prove that Saint Paul was habitable but that its citizens were very much alive during winter, the most dominant season. Thus was born the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.
The first ice palace was made for the Saint Paul Winter Carnival in 1886, the first year of this annual event. It was designed and built by A.C. and J.H. Hutchison from Montreal, Canada. Due to a widespread out-break of smallpox, Montreal’s Winter Festival was cancelled and Saint Paul business leaders were able to hire the Hutchisons to complete Saint Paul’s first ice palace.
The Saint Paul Winter Carnival is the nation’s oldest and coldest civic celebration, going strong for over 114 years. The Winter Carnival takes place during the last week of January – typically the coldest week of the year. In 1888, the tallest building (at that time) in Saint Paul melted. It was a 130 foot tall palace made with 55,000 blocks of ice. A popular feature in the ice palaces of the 1800’s was the number of people choosing to get married in them. The first was George G. Brown and Eva N. Evans in 1888. Some think Eva held George to his promise that “it would be a cold day before he got married.”
The ice palace built in 1986, for the 100th anniversary of the event, resembled the early structures in height. That ice palace’s highest point measured close to 129 feet. However, the ice palace built in 1992, the year Minnesota hosted the Super Bowl, surpassed all other ice palaces in height. The 1992 ice palace’s tallest tower was 166 feet
and 6 inches tall and at its widest point was 249 feet. The 1992 ice palace became the “World’s Largest Ice Palace,” and continues to hold that record to this day.