May 27, 1932: Lester Park Golf Course opens for the first time

On this day in Duluth in 1932, the first nine holes of the Lester Park Golf Course opened to the public. The course was developed to give the public another place to play, and to put men to work in the midst of the Great Depression. Park Superintendent F. Rodney Paine, recognizing the success of the 1926 Enger Park Golf Course, not only came up with the idea but also enlisted his wealthy friends—members of Northland and Ridgeview country clubs—to come up with the funding to get the project started. The group formed the City Land Company and pooled $25,000 to create the course. Construction had begun on October 24, 1930, when 75 unemployed men set to work clearing trees, brush, and boulders from the course, clearing nine fairways by the end of November—by hand. On October 2, 1931, the City Land Company presented the course to the city. Mayor Sam Snively hit the official first drive at Lester—but the newspapers of the day failed to report how well the mayor struck the ball. Read a history of Lester Park Golf Course here, the history of Enger Park Golf Course here, a history of Northland Country Club’s architecture here, and about the lost golf courses of Duluth and Superior here.

The first official match at Lester Park Golf Course, June 11, 1933—the day the newly completed 18-hole course was dedicated. The first drive was hit in October 1931, and the first nine holes opened May 27, 1932. (Image: University of Minnesota Duluth Kathryn A. Martin Library Archives and Special Collections)

Free at Glensheen this Wednesday: The Parks of Minnesota Point

Wednesday’s free Zenith City on Tap presentation at Glensheen features the parks of Minnesota Point, called “Duluth’s Summertime Resort” and a “pencilled eyebrow on the face of nature.” Minnesota Point was a popular spot for summertime fun long before Duluth became a city and contains two of the city’s oldest parks—but they were mostly ignored for their first 50…

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Lester River Rustic Bridge

A major rainstorm in July 1897 destroyed most of the bridges spanning the Lester River and caused at least $50,000 damage throughout the city. The Duluth News Tribune reported that “the damage at Lester River was quite large. Debris swept against and carried out the lower bridge. A smaller bridge that spanned the river above…

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