Local News

February 1, 2013

Palatial preponderance of ice


“A lot of people had been asking for a history of the Ice Palace,” Tissot told the Press-Republican.

“I did write a book a couple years ago called ‘Adirondack Ice: A Cultural and Natural History,’ and a chapter of that is about the Saranac Lake Ice Palace. That chapter is included in this new booklet. But in the second half of the new book, I have a lot of commentary by volunteers about working on the palace.”

Musings from palace builders are pretty comical, she said.

The book also has a long photo and text explanation of just how the palace is built.

“I also have a section on the ice structures that have appeared along with the palace, to name a few: a community spiral, a pirate ship, ice sculptures and, in the old days, a pyramid. There are historic photos in that section, as well as pictures of ice palaces through the years.”

Research also looked to source what inner spark pushed people out of cozy living rooms and into frigid elements to cut ice, haul it, stack it and slush it with water and snow in a process that takes weeks to accomplish in the dead-cold of winter.

It’s a real esprit de corps blend of art and engineering.


“The first Ice Palace was built in 1898, and they hired ice harvesters to build it,” Tissot said. “And they had professional architects to design it.

“The tradition goes way back. And in that time, they acquired quite a reputation. Everybody takes great pride in the Ice Palace. I think that sense of tradition and Saranac Lake’s incredible community spirit combine to bring people out.”

Tissot’s book is available for sale at the Winter Carnival headquarters across from the palace site or it can be ordered online at: costs $11.95.

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