After up-and-down winter, Superior's ice wall comes tumbling down
Superior's big wall of ice came tumbling down on Thursday -- this time, the fall was planned -- but true to form, the temperamental tower provided a final surprise.
Superior's big wall of ice came tumbling down on Thursday - this time, the fall was planned - but true to form, the temperamental tower provided a final surprise.
The Lake Superior Ice Project, created by artist-engineer Roger Hanson on a $30,000 commission from the city of Superior, started rising in early winter with a goal of becoming the world's largest ice sculpture. Hanson used a computer-controlled nozzle to slowly build up the display.
Despite often unfavorable weather conditions, the wall had reached 66 feet high when it collapsed on Feb. 3. Hanson started over. The second version of the ice project reached 50 feet - and was the focal point for several light and fireworks shows - before the recent warm weather (and Hanson's contractual obligations) necessitated its destruction.
The tower of ice withstood several attempts to bring it down earlier this week: After the Superior Fire Department sprayed its hoses on it, and after Hanson used heated wires and steel cables to try to pull it down, the bulk of the structure remained standing.
On Thursday, a steel cable was again tied to the ice sculpture, but it snapped when pulled by a truck. A few minutes later, as Hanson and others were assessing what to do next, the structure suddenly, finally, gave way.
Hanson cheered as chunks of ice rolled to the ground; he'll now head home to Big Lake, Minn., to start planning for next winter's ice project in Superior.