November 20, 1916: A. T. Fox has his last laugh

On this day in Duluth in 1916, sixty-year-old A. T. Fox finally made good on a threat he had making for years. Fox was a resident of Maple, Wisconsin, who had worked for the Northern Pacific Railroad for over thirty years, 26 of them as conductor on the run between Duluth and Ashland. He visited Duluth frequently and was well known in the Zenith City, where he often stayed at the Spalding Hotel. According to friends, Fox liked “to have his little joke.” One of his favorites, apparently, was to tell the clerk at the Spalding each time he checked out, “Well, I guess I’ll go home and kill myself.” He had reportedly been making the statement for years. But this time he meant it. When he reached his home in Cable later that morning, he put a gun to his head and fired. He had apparently been distraught after losing his job the year before. He tried his hand at farming in Cable—his final trip to Duluth was to buy farming tools—but his wife and two children lived in Ashland. Fox was found by a friend, E. J. Dougherty, to whom the suicide note was addressed. It offered no explanation but explained there was $50 in his pocket to help with funeral expenses, and that if his wife “will not take care of [his body],” the railroad conductor;s union would make sure he received a proper burial. On November 25 the paper reported that when Fox’s brother heard about the suicide, he “was taken with a severe stroke of paralysis immediately after the shock of the news.”

Backlist Books on Sale for 33-50% Off now through January 1!

We had such an incredible response to the special deals we offered last weekend at Festival of Trees that we have decided to extend them to our online bookstore for the rest of the year. So not only is our newest book, Naturally Brewed, Naturally Better: The Historic Breweries of Duluth & Superior, on sale…


Holland House Hotel

501 West Superior Street | Architect: Bray & Nystrom | Built: 1910 | Lost: ca. 1965 The six-story Holland Hotel had its grand opening on June 17, 1910, timed with the opening of the Soo Line Passenger Depot one block east of the hotel, which essentially brought out-of-town visitors to the hotel’s front door. The hotel was such…

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