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The Walrus

The Walrus

Vol. 1 No. 4 page 3 Jan. 18, 1952

Igloo Man Has Interesting Hobby

The seven churches of the Bible which Henry Hagen designed from ice and had displayed on the lawn of his home this winter is the outgrowth of an interesting hobby. Until warm weather set in last week his lighted display could be seen at 710-B.

Building displays from ice has been his hobby for a good many years. Since 1939 he has exhibited his ice work every year but one. Henry started building from ice at Gettysburg, S. Dak., a number of years ago during the time he operated a retail ice business. In 1941 he won first prize in a Christmas display contest. Residents in the vicinity of Pierre, Huron, Aberdeen and Mobridge were competing. The winning display was a three-ton pyramid of ice sculptured in such a manner that beams of colored light were focused on an American flag back of the display.

The materials for successful ice work are easily obtained according to Henry. All that is needed is ice, which is free, a twenty-five cent ice pick, a saw and imagination. He admits though, that patience and practice are also helpful.

As the old story about the recipe for possum pie goes, you first catch your possum. In building ice structures you first get your ice. To be suitable the material Henry uses must be crystal clear and free of air bubbles. It is cut early in the winter when the thickness is between 3 and 6 inches. As the buildings disintegrate when the temperature is above freezing for only a short time it is necessary for Henry to store the ice after harvesting until the weatherman says we're in for a siege of cold weather.

The saw and ice pick are used to shape the ice. The edges of the material which are to be jointed are wet with water and form a permanent bond after being held together for a few seconds. No frames or forms are needed. Henry wears heavy leather mittens while working, not so much to keep his hands warm as to keep the ice cold. Body heat passing through light gloves causes the ice sheet to loose their natural glaze and luster.

Henry uses two strings of electric lights to produce the various colored displays. Red and green are the most effective for coloring. Yellow, orange and blue are also used and from these five colors all the shades and hues of the spectrum can be obtained.

To get a sparkle and blending of color, grooves are chiseled in the under side of ice. Light from the bulbs refract along the grooves and mix far from the light source forming additional colors.

From Henry's point of view the colder the weather the better. Igloo residents who think winters in this vicinity are cold can take it from Henry that they aren't. In Gettysburg an ice house built in early winter will stand until spring. Here some of his buildings last only one or two days.

The entire Hagen family play the projects. The family has mapped out a rather ambitious program for future years. One of the projects proposed is a miniature replica of the Black Hills Needles including Harney Peak and Sylvan Lake. Another is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Provided there is additional favorable weather this year he is planning a display comparing the ammunition igloo to the Eskimo igloo.

The Walrus

Vol. 2 No. 1 page 1 Jan. 2, 1953

Local Ice Sculptor Displays Work

Ice architect, Henry Hagen, has completed three projects in ice this year.

A seven-foot model of the local Chapel, weighing about 1600 pounds rests on the lawn of the Fire Station. A similar replica about one-half as large has been built on the lawn next to the Community Building entrance.

Both models are lighted, giving a rainbow of colors in the evening. A visit to either is well worth the time.

At his home, 710-B, Mr. Hagen has begun a model of the Black Hills Needles and Sylvan Lake Region. Already 2,000 pounds of ice have been used. The three to six inch ice slabs this year, according to the builder, are very cloudy and are not the best for use in ice work.

(under construction)


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