Archive Dive: Duluth’s park system once had its own police force

In 1890, Duluth’s Board of Park Commissioners laid down the law, passing a resolution that read in part “that the President of the Board is hereby authorized to request of the proper city authorities the appointment of two policemen to patrol…public grounds…to the strict enforcement of the police regulations of the City therein.” It essentially created a separate police force just for parks, a force that dealt with vandalism, unauthorized horse racing, theft of evergreen trees at Christmas time, and more. One officer even tried to prevent couples from kissing, even though the park superintendent himself declared “There is no city ordinance against kissing in Duluth parks.” Read about Duluth’s Park Police HERE.

The very first badge worn by a Duluth park policeman, issued to either Joseph Plaunt or David Waugh in 1890. (Image courtesy of Andrew Ebling)

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