This place will put chills down your spine.
Located on Ross Island by McMurdo Sound in Antarctica, the “Discovery Hut” was built in 1902 and has been literally frozen in time for over 100 years now.
Today, McMurdo Base is a bustling research station. On the outskirts of the settlement you can see that Scott’s 1902 expedition hut still stands.
Discovery Hut was designed off-site by “Professor Gregory”, (the scientific staff leader of the expedition) and prefabricated in Sydney, Australia by James Moore before being transported south to Antarctica by ship.
The square structure has covered verandas on three sides and a pyramidal roof supported by a central post. The inner walls were lined with felt for insulation but this proved to be extremely ineffective. In fact, expedition members are said to have preferred to sleep in tents outside because tents were easier to keep warm that the actual hut.
But the harsh extremes of Mother Nature proved beneficial in the long run in terms of preserving the hut. The exterior has had some restoration (i.e. new roof) but hut’s interior – and all its contents – have literally been in a frozen state for 100 years. Almost nothing inside the hut has decayed or rotted.
The hut was utilized by two subsequent British expeditions to the region (1910 and 1914), but was left untouched until it was rediscovered in 1956 by US expeditioners.
The Americans shoveled out the snow that had accumulated inside from when blizzards had blown the doors and windows in, but they also removed a couple of artifacts as souvenirs.
Apart from that, the hut was left as it was in the early 1900’s. Even the food in pans on the cook-stove was left untouched:
They also left behind seal carcasses, blubber and skeletons from their dinners here…
(The clunky things hanging from the walls are seal carcasses with fur still on them)
If you are anything like me – which you probably are if you are reading House Crazy – then you know there is no greater thrill than to happen upon an old abandoned house or cabin in the woods that has remained untouched for long periods of time.
But this place is the GRANDDADDY of all time capsules!
Here’s a photo from inside the hut during the British expedition:
And here is what that same corner looks like today:
Isn’t that amazing?
Subsequent explorers have left this historical site largely untouched (per the regulations of the Antarctic Treaty) and have taken away only pictures.
Since this is such a remote location, not a lot of humans have actually visited the hut and that has helped to preserve it from unscrupulous treasure collectors.
Today the site is maintained by New Zealand and British teams – and by that I mean, shoveling and removing snow and ice.
Although the dry, frozen climate on Ross Island has had a “freezer effect” on the hut, bacterial and fungal decay reportedly still occur – though these processes are much slower there than in other climates.
As a result, visitors to Discovery Hut describe a terrible rancid smell in the interior.
Hey, it’s a small price to pay for being able to peek inside this authentic time capsule!