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1870: Duluth’s first year as a city

Branch’s Hall, Duluth‘s first brick building, stands in front of Elevator A at the foot of Third Avenue East in 1871, a year after construction began on both building. (Image: University of Minnesota Duluth Kathryn A. Martin Library Archives and Special Collections)

In 1870, its first year as a city, Duluth — destined to become the “Zenith City of the Unsalted Seas” — buzzed with activity. Immigrants poured in, swelling the population as construction transformed the landscape from wilderness to urban center. Consequently, that first year came with many firsts.

Duluth built its first brick building and several churches, began daily operations of the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad, and  appointed its first police chief—who turned out to be less than trustworthy. Get the details on these events and more in ZCP publisher Tony Dierckins’s sixth of eight installments on Duluth’s early history for the Duluth News Tribune, “1870: Duluth‘s first year as a city,” here.

And you can catch up on the series by following these links:

“How Duluth became ‘Duluth’”

“The Many Birthdays of the Zenith City”

“Duluth’s First Boom—and Bust: 1856–1868”

“How Jay Cooke resurrected Duluth’s ‘lifeless corpse’”

“Joshua B. Culver: Duluth’s first mayor and leader of ‘The Ring’”

Happy 150th Birthday, City of Duluth!

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