Habitat For Humanity Builds Ice Home

Updated: 01/08/2014 6:20 PM
Created: 01/08/2014 4:23 PM
By: Maarja Anderson

Winter in the Northland means most construction plans are on hold, unless you are building with ice. Habitat for Humanity is trading in their traditional tools and building an ice "house" at Fitger's for the month of January.

Students from Harbor City International School helped with the building, and Carlson Refrigeration/Lakeshore Ice donated 500 blocks of ice to the project, but Mother Nature helped out, too.

Daryl Yankee's work with Habitat for Humanity is usually pretty serious, building well-heated homes for low income buyers. But in front of Fitger's, there are no building permits to adhere to while building with ice.

"This one's free! If you can move it, you can have it," said the organization's executive director.

It's not your typical house, but it does have a roof and walls. No family will be living in the structure, instead, Habitat will use the ice "house" for the month of January as a way to raise awareness and explain their mission.

Right now, it's a work in progress. The weather has set construction back a few days.

"We had big build days planned for Sunday, Monday and yesterday, and obviously had to put those on hold because it can be too cold to build an ice house," said Yankee.

But they have big plans for all 700 blocks of ice.

"Broc never gave us an actual drawing, so it's all up here [in his head]," he said.

Broc Allen is a local artist who works at Fitger's Brewhouse. He is the mastermind behind the design.

"It's something, in theory, that one of us could stay in over night but I don't know if any of us are going to brave it," said Allen.

Thanks to the weather, Duluth has plenty of ice to work with, but Allen said it can be hard to work with because it's heavy. An ice block made from a 5 gallon bucket is 40 pounds.

The building tools are simple, just a lot of 5 and 4 gallon buckets. Then, it's a lot of trips to the faucet and back outside to freeze.

"Once they are frozen to a certain point [we] take them inside, un-mold them, carry them back outside, and then they are ice," explained Allen.

With ice in abundance, Yankee said the house will keep growing all month.

"It will be here for folks to enjoy until Mother Nature takes it," he said.

Home tours will begin this Thursday and continue Thursday-Friday from 6-8 p.m. and Saturdays 12-5 p.m. through January 25.

This Saturday, Fitger's will host a campfire and warm beverages from 2-4 p.m.

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