This Day in Duluth Archive

Use our search function to find “This Day” entries for a specific day of the year. Spell out the month and include a comma after the date numeral, do not include a year, and place it all within quotation marks, like this: “May 1,”.

September 22, 1909: Dolly Dimples Eludes Duluthians

On this day in Duluth in 1909, Miss Dolly Dimples, who had eluded capture by citizens throughout the nation, kept herself hidden in Duluth despite announcing where she would be. What was Dimples wanted for? Two hundred dollars worth of gold. “Dolly Dimples” was the pseudonym of a woman hired by the American Traveller car…

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September 21, 1922: The opening of West Duluth’s “White Way”

On this day in Duluth in 1922, West Duluth’s “White Way” opened to great fanfare. A “white way” was a term used to describe streets illuminated by streetlights, taken from New York City’s Broadway Avenue, one of the first illuminated streets in the nation and nicknamed the “Great White Way.” (Superior Street in downtown Duluth…

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September 20, 1883: Grand opening of Duluth’s Grand Opera House

On this day in Duluth in 1883, Duluth’s Grand Opera House opened at 333 West Superior Street. Designed by George Wirth and financed by noted pioneers Roger Munger and Clinton Markell. Perhaps the most architecturally adorned building that ever graced Duluth, the Grand Opera House stood four stories tall and was capped with a Mansard…

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September 19, 1881: Construction Begins on the Lake Superior Brewery

On this day in Duluth in 1881, construction began on Michael Fink’s Lake Superior Brewery on the East 600 block of Superior Street. Fink had purchased the brewery business in 1875 from Nicholas Decker, who had purchased it from Sidney Luce ten years earlier—Luce had financed the brewery in 1857, with J. Gottlieb Busch doing…

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September 18, 1918: Finnish pacifist abducted, tarred and feathered, and hung

On this day in Duluth 1918, Finnish immigrant Olli Kinkkonen, a dockworker and logger, was tarred and feathered in Congdon Park—and then disappeared. Earlier that day Kinkkonen and five others had renounced their U.S. citizenship because they did not want to fight for the U.S.—nor anyone else—in the war in Europe. A group calling themselves…

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September 17, 1925: Completion of the Lester River Bridge

On this day in Duluth in 1925, work was completed on the Lester River Bridge on London Road over, naturally, the Lester River, where London Road turns into Congdon Boulevard (and both roads serve as part of Highway 61). Officially named “Bridge 5772,” the bridge’s construction began in 1924 by C. R. McLean, hired by…

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September 16, 1946: Harold Bilsey’s first of many, many bridge lifts

On this day in Duluth in 1946, Harold Bilsey took the controls of the Aerial Lift Bridge for the very first time. He would preside over countless raisings and lowerings until his retirement in 1976, which marked thirty years serving Duluth’s most iconic landmark. When Bob Brown, bridge supervisor since 1968, retired in 1974, Bilsey…

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September 15, 1679: du Luht brings temporary peace to native tribes

On this day in what would become Duluth in 1679, Daniel Greysolon Sieur du Luht gathered leaders of Ojibwe, Cree, and Assiniboin peoples at Fond du Lac to meet with Dakota representatives and established a peace among the tribes by encouraging feasting between the tribes. (The Dakota had long fought with all three other tribes.)…

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September 14, 1915: The Onoko Sinks in Lake Superior

On this day on Lake Superior in 1915 the freighter Onoko, a thirty-three year veteran of the great lakes, sank nine miles off Knife Island, about sixteen miles from Duluth. At roughly 10:30 a.m. the ship’s engineer noticed a leak below the engines. The water quickly drowned the engine fires and the captain recognized the…

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