My family has been going up to Duluth every summer for some time now. It's one of our favorite places because we love hiking and swimming and there are plenty of places to do that along the North Shore. When we're there we do the typical tourist things like watching the big ships arrive and depart under the lift bridge and we'll walk the boardwalk that wraps around Lake Superior. If you've been to Duluth you've done both of those things and you've most likely seen the landmark pictured above.

What is it? Up until now, my kids have called it the pirate ship and I've always gone along with them because I had no idea. During our most recent trip, my 6-year-old determined that it couldn't be a pirate ship because it's made of concrete or stone and it wouldn't make sense to build a boat out of those materials. So what is it?

According to, the structure has a few nicknames including “Uncle Harvey’s Mausoleum,” “the cribs,” and “the icehouse." It was built more than 100 years ago in 1919 by Harvey Whitney and was used as a sand and gravel hopper.

Unfortunately for Mr. Whitney, there wasn't much demand for the hopper which led to it being abandoned 3 years later in 1922. The structure was left offshore and quickly became a popular destination for swimmers and scuba divers. Each time we visit we see people swimming out and diving or flipping off of it.

Traveling to Duluth soon? Take a day to travel a little further north. An hour north of Duluth you'll discover Minnesota's Black Beach. It’s really cool and I highly recommend visiting it when you are up in that area. Click here to check out pictures I took when visiting earlier this month. And, if you love the outdoors check out the list of the most popular state parks in Minnesota below.

Most Visited State Parks In Minnesota: Is Your Favorite in the List?

Minnesota has 66 beautiful state parks. The parks have an average of 9,700,000 visitors each year. Interestingly enough, nearly 19% of park visitors come from other states and countries, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Now, my favorite State Park is Jay Cooke in Carlton, MN, but it did not break into the top 5.

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