January 23, 1970: Death of renowned local and state landscape architect Arthur Nichols

On this day in 1970, pioneer landscape architect Arthur Nichols—whose work can be seen today throughout Duluth—died in Minneapolis. Arthur Richardson Nichols was a native of Springfield, Massachusetts, and became the first person to earn a degree through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s landscape architecture program in 1902. He and Anthony Morell went to work for Charles Leavitt, who Chester and Clara Congdon hired to landscape their Duluth estate Glensheen, and once the plans were accepted he sent Morell & Nichols to the Zenith City to execute the work. While in Duluth the pair made significant connections, and by the time they had finished their work at Glensheen in 1908 they decided to permanently settle in Minnesota, where they created the state’s foremost landscape architecture firm. In Duluth they designed the first stone bridges of Seven Bridges Road and plans for Central Park, Lester Park, and several public squares in Lakeside, but those projects were never completed. They created the the layout of Duluth’s Morgan Park, Morely Heights, and Crescent View Park neighborhoods and  the estates of A. M. Chisholm and H. B. Freyberger. They also had a hand in the creation of Congdon Boulevard and the Lester River Bridge. Nichols was described as “a good designer, mild-mannered, and a skilled promoter who inspired people and who saw an important synergy between civil engineering and landscape architecture.” Morell & Nichols did even more for the state of Minnesota, and you can read a history of both men and their work here.

Anthony U. Morell & Arthur Nichols and a dog, name unknown. (Image: University of Minnesota Morris)

The NorShor: “The Northwest’s most spectacular theater”

As those working on the $30 million renovation of Duluth’s NorShor Theatre race to finish the project in time for the scheduled opening on February 1, we thought it was about time we shared our history of the NorShor. To illustrate the piece, we were fortunate enough to have access to Jim Heffernan’s collection of historic photos…

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Native Americans in Duluth

Long before European settlement—perhaps thousands of years—the head of the lakes was home to several Native American tribes. By the time the land that is now Duluth opened for settlement, the Ojibwe had already forced the Dakota west and had established settlements at Spirit Island, Spirit Mountain, Indian Point, Rice’s Point, and Minnesota Point. The…

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