1888 Ice Palace

1888 Ice Palace

The 1888 ice palace was Charles Joy’s final St. Paul contribution to ice architecture. Of the eight-acres of Carnival Park, the castle covered one acre of the site. The contractors, Rhéaume and St. Pierre, were experienced builders of railroad turn tables, water tanks, tank and engine houses, and trestles, which aided their success in building large structures of ice. Over 55,000 blocks of ice 22” x 32” x 18” were used, weighing a total of 16,000,000 pounds.

On January 21, 1888, four days before opening day, the thermometer reached -33 degrees, a week later -41, and a few days after that -34. Despite the temperature, visiting crowds streamed out of the passenger trains from across the country to see the palace.

For his second major ice palace, Joy found inspiration from more exotic visual sources. The official program described the medieval and Arabic-influenced design in detail.

Ice Palace labyrinth

Unique to the 1888 palace was the inclusion of a labyrinth eighty feet in diameter. There were five
separate paths that led to the center of the maze and a circular stairway that led up to a platform from which visitors observed participants seeking to solve the puzzle. St. Paul native F. Scott Fitzgerald used this ice palace and maze as the basis for his short story, “The Ice Palace.”

Featured image: The 1888 Ice Palace

More Ice Palace History:
1886 Ice Palace
1887 Ice Palace
1888 Ice Palace
1889-1900 Ice Palaces
1916-1917 Ice Palaces
1930-1937 Ice Palaces
1938-1941 Ice Palaces
1942-1975 Ice Palaces
1976-2004 Ice Palaces