Posts by Nancy Nelson

Duluth’s Park System, 1856 – 1956

Rock, water, and ice: These forces of nature inspired Duluth’s park system. Eleven thousand years ago a massive layer of glacial ice melted away slowly as the climate warmed. Meltwater collected in the huge basin we now call Lake Superior. Much deeper than today, the shoreline of this lake stood at an elevation of about…

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Skyline Parkway & Seven Bridges Road

Visitors to Duluth in the summer of 1890 may have expected to find a rough frontier settlement surrounded by wilderness. Instead they discovered a beautiful modern city with over 30,000 residents and a busy harbor filled with cargo ships. Tourists could dine in the elegant Palm Room of the magnificent seven-story brick and brownstone Spalding…

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Chester Park

When first established in 1889, Chester Park, created along with Lincoln Park to form the bookends of the boulevard, extended along both sides of Chester Creek between East Fourth Street and today’s Skyline Parkway. The area above the parkway, called Upper Chester, was added to the park in 1920. Together these parcels of land tell…

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Lincoln Park

Duluth’s Park Board members spent much of their time, energy, and resources from 1889 to 1913 creating the parkway.  Lincoln Park and Chester Park formed the bookends of the scenic roadway and were the first parks created intentionally by the park board. To establish the western end of the parkway, in 1889 the board started…

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Lester Park

Long before Duluth began developing its park system, the Lester River was a popular destination for fishing, picnicking, and summer outings. In the early 1880s, even before the streetcar line made it easily accessible, picnickers and fishermen arrived at the river by boat, carriage, or bicycle. Anglers took advantage of every good fishing hole, while…

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Fairmount Park & Duluth’s Zoo

The Duluth Board of Park Commissioners spent thousands of dollars in the 1890s purchasing land and developing Lincoln Park in the West End and Chester Park in the eastern part of the heavily populated city center. Further east, Lester Park and five small squares were donated to the park system when Duluth annexed Lakeside. West…

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Indian Point Tourist Camp

By the time the Indian Point bathing beach opened in 1915, the introduction of affordable automobiles was changing the lifestyle of Americans. As families discovered the adventure of travel, the new pastime of “auto tourism” became a booming business. “Tents of Auto Campers Bloom on U.S. Highways,” proclaimed the Duluth News Tribune in May 1922.…

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Leif Erikson Park

Perhaps due to its location along the shore of Lake Superior and because the Duluth Lakewalk passes through its heart, Leif Erikson is one of Duluth’s most-visited parks. It has also undergone more changes—including name changes—than any other park in the Zenith City. Various plans for its development in the early 1900s included expanding the…

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Congdon Park

Duluth’s Chester Congdon is best known as the man who built Glensheen, the elegant Jacobean manor house and estate perched along the shore of Lake Superior at 3300 London Road. Congdon, an attorney by trade, made his fortune after becoming chief counsel for the Oliver Mining Company in 1892. When the company was bought out…

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Kitchi Gammi Park & Congdon Boulevard

Duluth’s Chester Congdon is best known as the man who built Glensheen, the elegant Jacobean manor house and estate perched along the shore of Lake Superior at 3300 London Road. Congdon, an attorney by trade, made his fortune after becoming chief counsel for the Oliver Mining Company in 1892. When the company was bought out…

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