July 20, 1911: Water carnival delights Duluth

On this day in 1911, the Duluth Boat Club kicked off a three-day water carnival—a traditional that began in 1907—including an evening “Venetian Fete” on the bay that included an “immense illumination system” over the bay that promised to produce lights of 60,000 candle power. Downtown Duluth was decked out in red, white, and blue pennants and flags from Seventh Avenue West to Third Avenue East, from First Street to the Boat Club on Minnesota Point at 10th Street South, four blocks south of the Duluth Ship Canal. Thousand were expected to attend from out of town. The first day of the event was relatively quiet, but it featured a parade of horses followed by motorboat races featuring the “best high powered crafts in the country.” The event also featured rowing races between clubs from the U.S. and Canada, sailing races, canoe races, a historical pageant, Army and Navy maneuvers, and novelties including canoe tilting, canoe wrestling, and a water baseball game.

The Duluth Boat Club’s 1911 “Venetian Fete.” (Image: University of Minnesota Duluth Kathryn A. Martin Library Archives and Special Collections)

FREE Superior Street History Tours!

Zenith City Press has teamed up with the Duluth Experience and the city of Duluth to create free historic walking tours of Superior Street during its reconstruction project. The tour covers the portion of Superior Street undergoing renovation between Third and Seventh avenues west, exploring the history and evolution Duluth’s main thoroughfare and the stories behind many of the…


Duluth Downtown YMCA

302–312 West Second Street | Architects: German & Lignell | Built: 1908 | Lost: 1974 One of the oldest organizations in Duluth, the Young Men’s Christian Association has been serving the community since 1882 when it set up a free reading room and library association at 18 East Superior Street. Since then the Y has grown and spread…

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