One of year's top Northwoods attractions gets built this week literally from the ground up as the next construction of the Eagle River Ice Castle likely begins on Tuesday
. Fire Chief Michael Anderson says he thinks there will be the required 12 inches of ice on Silver Lake by Tuesday....
"....we score it down to about an inch or two from the bottom, then we hand cut out the blocks on Thursday. That's why we hand cut them out. We pull out the blocks, about 2,000 of them. We pull them out and haul them over to the old railroad depot...then we begin shaving and construction. Hopefully we will end construction on Saturday with finishing touches on Sunday...."
Anderson says the fire department leads the construction with the help of local volunteers...
"....any volunteers can contact the Chamber of Commerce. Natalie at the Chamber of Commerce is coordinating the volunteer effort. A lot of times in the past everyone shows up in the middle of the day, then we're short volunteers early and late in the day. We're trying to spread out the volunteers this year. On Thursday if you have a pick up truck you can come to Silver Lake and haul ice over to the railroad depot. Volunteers do that also...."
Former Eagle River Fire Chief Jack Thomas designed the project in 1987. Anderson says the Thomas family has been involved in the Ice Castle since it began in the 1930's. It wasn't constructed during World War II. The Eagle River Lions led the construction in the 1950's and 60's. The castle languished until the fire department started it again in 1987.
Anderson says the fire department greatly enjoys the project as it helps bring visitors to Eagle River and benefits the community.