The Giant Igloo-Shaped Building in Cantwell Alaska

WCICON ALASKA - Located in Cantwell, Alaska, Igloo City is a fascinating abandoned structure. It is a four-story concrete structure left to the elements for more than 40 years.


Giant Igloo-Shaped Building in Cantwell Alaska


Alaska's Abandoned Enigma: The Story of Igloo City

Deep in the Alaskan wilderness stands Igloo City, a crumbling concrete giant cloaked in mystery and a dash of absurdity. This four-story dome, a testament to ambition gone awry, has become an unofficial roadside icon for intrepid travelers, beckoning them off the Parks Highway near Cantwell.

The brainchild of eccentric dreamer Leon Smith, Igloo City was born in the 1970s. Smith envisioned a hotel uniquely Alaskan – a restaurant on the first floor, a gift shop on the second, and guest rooms above. Perhaps he dreamed of sipping coffee in a penthouse suite, surveying his icy domain. But fate had other plans. Building codes clashed with grand designs, and costs ballooned. The would-be hotel never opened its doors.

Decades of harsh Alaskan weather have ravaged the structure. Yet, a strange allure remains. It's more than the unusual architecture; it's a tale of bold ambition colliding with a remote and unforgiving landscape. Efforts to give the igloo new life have come and gone over the years – a testament to the stubborn spirit that permeates this peculiar place.

Today, Igloo City is a photographer's haven, a backdrop for curious wanderers seeking the unexpected. Graffiti graces its weathered walls. The wind whispers through empty would-be windows, echoing the audacious dream that once resided here. Its future remains uncertain, but one thing is for sure – Igloo City embodies Alaska's wild heart, where grand schemes sometimes fall victim to the vastness, leaving behind a captivating ruin.

The original plan was for the building to have 58 wedge-shaped rooms. The interior was never finished, however. Many windows are broken, and some of the interior walls are smashed. The exterior is also in bad shape.

The igloo isn't padlocked anymore. Some people stole lumber from the interior. It has also become a hotspot for wild animals such as bears and moose. The building is also a popular spot for photographers. It is also a good stopping point for travelers visiting Denali National Park.