X-communication first opened for business in 1994 as a catch-all name for the freelance work of writer and book designer Tony Dierckins. In 2002 X-Comm published its first book, True North, an “insider’s guide” to Western 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 regional history books, and it became obvious a name change was in order. In May 2012 X-comm became Zenith City Press and launched Zenith City Online.

Why “Zenith City”?

During an Independence Day picnic on Minnesota Point in 1866, newspaper publisher Dr. Thomas Foster (who produced Duluth’s first paper, the Minnesotian) gave a grand oration, during which he called Duluth the “Zenith City of the Unsalted Seas.” It was a speech filled with optimism: by 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 in 1871, only to go bust again and lose its city charter in 1877. It wouldn’t regain its status as a city until 1887.

The Zenith City logo (found below) 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 in the U.S., some say the world. 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.

Marshall-Wells Carving

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Zenith City Press and Zenith City Online are affiliates of X-Communication LLC of Duluth, Minnesota, and dedicated to celebrating historic Duluth, Western Lake Superior, and Minnesota’s Arrowhead.

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Zenith City Press
118 Chester Parkway
Duluth, MN 55805




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Neither Zenith City Online nor Zenith City Press accept unsolicited submissions. If you have an idea for a book that celebrates historic Duluth, western Lake Superior, or Minnesota’s Arrowhead, please contact us via the email form above with a brief description of your idea.


Publisher: Tony Dierckins

Senior Historian: Maryanne C. Norton

Webmaster: Dan Turner

Proofreader: Nancy Laird

Book Editor: Scott Pearson