About Zenith City Online
Zenith City Online, the Zenith City History archive, Zenith City Resources, Zenith City Press, and Zenith City Trading Post are all affiliates of X-Communication LLC of Duluth, Minnesota, which also operates X-Presso Books and Overcoat Books.
X-communication first opened for business in 1994 as a catch-all name for the freelance work of writer and book designer Tony “Tony X” Dierckins. In 2002 X-Comm published its first book, True North: Alternative and Off-Beat Destinations In and Around Duluth, Superior, and the Shores of Lake Superior by Dierckins and Kerry Elliott. Research on that project unearthed in Dierckins a passion for Duluth’s rich heritage, and the company’s focus began turning to regional history. By 2010, X-Comm was dedicated to publishing fine books celebrating the historic Western Lake Superior region and its archive of historic photos and sketches had grown to over 4,000 images.
In 2012 the company again refocused, this time to become not just a publisher, but an online publication and resource for those interested in the region’s colorful history. A name change was in order, and the obvious and appropriate choice was Zenith City, Duluth’s nickname since 1866 (see below).
To create the free Zenith City History archive, previous X-communication/Zenith City Press books were deconstructed for their content and organized into categories. The Zenith City staff then began a search for public domain materials to add to the archive. Through stories published in Zenith City Online, books published by Zenith City Press, and contributions from the public, it is our goal to keep Zenith City Online a growing, valuable resource for everyone interested in learning about and protecting the region’s heritage.
About Our Name
During an Independence Day picnic on Minnesota Point in 1868, newspaper publisher Dr. Thomas Foster (who produced Duluth’s first paper, the Minnesotian) gave a grand oration, during which he reportedly called Duluth the “Zenith City of the Unsalted Seas” and outlined the future of Duluth as the “Chicago of Lake Superior.” It was a speech filled with optimism; in January 1869 just fourteen families lived at the base of Minnesota Point. Duluth, first officially established as a township in 1856, had already gone bust once. It would rise with the help of financier Jay Cooke to become a city 1870, only to go bust again and lose its city charter in 1877. It wouldn’t regain its status as a city until 1887.
About Our Logo
The Zenith City logo is an homage to the logo used for Zenith Tools, a division of Duluth’s Marshall-Wells hardware Company, once the largest hardware wholesaler and manufacturer on the planet. The logo can still be seen in Duluth on the Meierhoff Building, formerly the Marshall Wells Building, carved in stone at the doorway at 325 Lake Avenue South, entrance to The Suites hotel and Timberlodge Restaurant.