Posts by Tony Dierckins

Archive Dive: The Story of Storey Taxidermist

Duluthians who often use Sixth Avenue East to get from the hillside to Central Entrance (or vice versa) have likely taken note of the tiny building on the west side of the road between Sixth and Seventh Street marked with the sign Storey Taxidermists. It was built by the son of Thomas H. Storey, a…

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Historic Congregation’s History Bookended by Lightning Strikes

This past August 28 lightning stuck the western steeple of Duluth’s historic St. Josephat’s Polish National Church, built in 1908 at 417 N. Third Ave. E. The building was recently purchased by Hope City Church, which has been using it for the past few years. St. Josephat’s congregation still survives, having merged with Minneapolis’s Sacred…

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From the Archive: The 1892 Duluth Union Depot

As the home to the North Shore Scenic Railroad and the Lake Superior Railroad Museum, Duluth’s 1892 Union Depot sees a lot of tourist traffic throughout the summer, but we wonder: How many visitors—or Duluthians, for that matter— know the history of that remarkable building? And so we’ve selected it as this week’s selection from…

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From the Archive: Barnstorming the Aerial Bridge

Over the years several people have claimed that World War Two flying ace Dick Bong once flew his P-38 under the top span of Duluth’s famous Aerial Bridge, but did he? Likely not—there is no hard evidence that he ever did. But we do know of others who flew planes “through” the bridge—and once, a…

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Archive Dive: Congdon Park

Summer is an especially buy time for Glensheen, the historic Duluth state along Tischer Creek and the Lake Superior Shore built by Chester and Clara Congdon between 1905 and 1909. One of the often overlooked stories of Glensheen is why Chester Congdon purchased and donated land along the creek above his estate to the city…

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Archive Dive: Duluth’s Lost Lumber Mills

From the early 1880s until about 1910, the nation’s lumber industry was centered on Duluth and Superior. In the mid 1890s thirty-two lumber mills operated along both sides of the St. Louis River in the Twin Ports. But by 1920, only one mill was operating in Duluth. How did the local lumber industry get its…

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The Namesakes of LaVaque Road

Have you ever wondered who LaVaque Road is named for? Heidi Bakk-Hansen did, so she researched Duluth’s pioneering LaVaque brothers and wrote a wonderful history of their lives in early Duluth. It’s this week’s selection from the Zenith City Archive, and you can read it here.

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Duluth’s Lost Outer Harbor

In 2006 a large piece of wooden cribbing washed up at the very northwest corner of Lake Superior in Duluth. Cribbing used in the 19th century was essentially a wood frame made of heavy timber that was sunk and filled with rocks to provide a foundation for docks, canal piers, breakwaters, and other structures. The…

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The Alworth: Duluth’s Tallest Building

Built in 1910, Duluth’s Alworth Building was the tallest building in the state of Minnesota. Named for the man who financed its construction and designed by renowned Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, the Alworth  remains today the tallest building in the Zenith City. Read a history of the Alworth here.

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Archive Dive: Bear & Drunk Square Off at Hotel Duluth

This week’s dive into the archive pulled out a notorious tale of an event that took place within Duluth’s landmark Hotel Duluth. It was August 1929 when a hungry black bear entered the hotel to enjoy a quick snack, but was interrupted by a heroic but inebriated Duluthian who was determined to keep the bruin…

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From the Archive: Enger Park & Twin Ponds

If you’ve enjoyed Chambers Grove in Fond du Lac in the past few years, you may have walked the new interpretive trail takes you through what’s left of You say you’ve never heard of Duluth’s Grand Mountain? Well I bet you have—in fact, I bet most Duluthians have been there—but you likely know it better…

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From the Archive: Duluth’s Lost Brownstone Industry

If you’ve enjoyed Chambers Grove in Fond du Lac in the past few years, you may have walked the new interpretive trail takes you through what’s left of Michael and Emily Chambers’ brownstone quarry. It was one of three operating near Fond du Lac from the 1870s to about 1910, producing stone that faced building…

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From the Archive: Meet the Hunters of Hunter’s Park

John Hunter came to Duluth in 1869 to open a hardware and mercantile store and within a year found himself the Republican candidate in the new city’s first mayoral election. He and his family thrived in Duluth, and his sons went on to develop Duluth’s Hunter’s Park neighborhood. Read a history of the Hunters of…

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From the Archive: History of Duluth‘s Ship Canal

If Duluth didn’t have its Ship Canal, it wouldn’t have its iconic Aerial Bridge—and it likely wouldn’t have become a great commercial shipping center nor enjoy today’s thriving tourism industry. From it’s legend-inspiring digging in 1870, the ship canal has shaped the city, and together with the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad was the key…

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From the Archive: Lester River Fish Hatchery

The Lester River Fish hatchery—that old Victorian building at the mouth of the Lester River—has caught the eye of many a passerby over the years, but few  know its history. It was the brainchild of Dr. Robert Ormsby Sweeney, a true Minnesota pioneer and somewhat of an eccentric renaissance man who not only dreamed up…

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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…

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Archive Dive: The Fur Trade at Fond du lac

This week’s dive into the archive takes us back to a time before Duluth existed, when Ojibwe dominated the Western Lake Superior region and they worked with the French, and then Americans, in the fur trade. In fact, Duluth’s Fond du Lac neighborhood was originally the site of an Ojibwe village and a post and…

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Archive Dive: George Thrana, Duluth’s master Stone Carver

This week’s dive into the Zenith City Press story archive pulls out the biography of a man who’s name you may not know but, if you love Duluth’s old Romanesque buildings, you know and likely love his work: O. George Thrana, Duluth’s master stone carver who began his career in the Zenith City while still…

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Services from Zenith City Press

Author Talks & Presentations Zenith City Press publisher Tony Dierckins has developed over two dozen presentations covering a variety of topics concerning historic Duluth and the Western Lake Superior Region. Presentations are designed to take between 20 to 45 minutes. You will find topic descriptions and a fee schedule here: ZCP_Presentations. Historic Research, Interpretation & Images Zenith…

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Subscribe to Zenith City Press

Sign Up for Our Emails Enter your email address below and click “subscribe” to receive daily deliveries of This Day in Duluth and/or weekly updates about new stories, book and author events, forthcoming books, and our featured vintage art designs. Once you sign up, you’ll be able to customize your preferences to choose which updates…

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About Zenith City Press

Founded and operated by Duluth writer Tony Dierckins, author of over two dozen books, Zenith City Press is a Duluth publishing house and online resource dedicated to celebrating historic Duluth and the Western Lake Superior region. We offer several fine books on the region‘s history and a full line of Vintage Art Designs available in…

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From the Archive: The inspiration for Duluth’s famed Aerial Bridge

Duluth’s unique Aerial Lift Bridge, the only one on the planet with a top span, was converted form a transfer bridge that was also unique: the only stiff-girded transfer bridge and the only ever built in North America. And just like the lift bridge, many people mistakenly believe Duluth’s transfer bridge was the first one…

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From the Archive: 1889 Duluth City Hall

Duluth’s 1889 City Hall  has been in the news lately with the announcement that part of the building will be converted to a boutique hotel. The historic building is one of the few remaining Romanesque revival buildings in Duluth designed by Oliver Traphagen, the city’s most prolific architech from 1886 to 1896. So this week…

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From the Archive: Skyline Parkway (& Seven Bridges Road)

It‘s only April and the snow is already gone. Duluthians have already taken to the great outdoors, and in this town that means hitting the parks. So this week’s dive into the archives focuses on the backbone of Duluth’s incredible park system: Skyline Parkway. Originally designed as “The Boulevard” in the late 1890s, a carriage…

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From the Archive: Saturday Evening Post Profiles Duluth

This week in 1949 the Saturday Evening Post — perhaps the nation’s most popular magazine at the time, known for its covers featuring the works of various artists, including Norman Rockwell — profiled “apple-cheeked, blue-eyed, tow-haired Duluth”in an essay written by Arthur W. Baum. Baum‘s essay paints a rather whimsical picture of Duluth, where “the…

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From The Archives: Duluth’s 19th-Century Squares

Before Duluth created its remarkable, expansive park system beginning in 1889, town “squares” were set aside as public greenspaces — but few were ever used as parks, nor had much of a public to enjoy them. So as we greet April and warmer months to come we take this week’s dive into the archive for…

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From ZCP the Archive: Beer ends attack from violent mob

This morning Zenith City Press launches a new weekly feature, “From the Zenith City Press Archives.” Every Tuesday we will feature a story that was originally published on this website or in one of our books — or both. Our first selection comes from Naturally Brewed, Naturally Better: The Historic Breweries of Duluth and Superior…

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Historic Duluth brewery founded by the son of a suffragist

[Note: This article was originally published by the Duluth News Tribune on March 17, 2021 as part of its “Northlandia” series and is adapted from the book Naturally Brewed, Naturally Better: The Historic Breweries of Duluth and Superior.]   In keeping with the celebration of Women’s History Month, March’s Northlandia explains Duluth’s connection to a…

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How the Twin Ports became the Twin Ports

[Note: This article was originally published by the Duluth News Tribune on January 6, 2021 as part of its “Northlandia” series. Readers of our ”This Day in Duluth“ column will no-doubt recall that this story was also the subject of the “This Day” story this past February 7.]   This month’s Northlandia answers a question…

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The West End and West Duluth: What’s the difference?

[Note: This article was originally published by the Duluth News Tribune on January 6, 2021 as part of its “Northlandia” series] Recently my wife lamented that, with COVID-19 precautions, she misses the cideries in West Duluth. I couldn’t help myself: “Do you mean the West End?” She replied, “What’s the difference?” Well, plenty, depending on…

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Free Books for an Additional $5 shipping!

Purchase any single book from Zenith City Press and we’ll give you a copy of Duluth’s Historic Parks or Naturally Brewed, Naturally Better for just $5 to help us cover the additional shipping cost. Duluth: An Urban Biography with Duluth’s Historic Parks: CLICK HERE. Duluth: An Urban Biography with Naturally Brewed: CLICK HERE. Lost Duluth…

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Franklin Square: Once a cemetery, now a lot for tots

[NOTE: This article originally appeared in the Duluth News Tribune on September 9, 2020] This month Ted B. of Duluth asks Northlandia, “What’s the history of the cemetery that once stood on the current Tot Lot site on Minnesota Point?” That’s a great question to dig into during the month that ends with Halloween. The…

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Park Point and Minnesota Point are not synonymous

  [NOTE: This article originally appeared in the Duluth News Tribune on September 9, 2020] This past July the Duluth News Tribune ran a story about efforts to bolster the sand beach along Minnesota Point south of the Duluth Ship Canal. The headline read “Work begins to heal Park Point’s shoreline.” Similarly, a recent story…

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How Duluth’s creeks got their names

NOTE: This was originally published as a “Northlandia’ column in the Duluth News Tribune on August 5, 2020 and was updated in January, 2021. Original posting here. Special thanks to Heidi Bakk-Hansen, who previous work for Zenith City Online tracing local place names (linked to below) has greatly informed this article.]   Cathy P. of…

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How innocuous are Duluth’s historic white-guy statues?

Note: This article was written by Zenith City Press publisher as a “Local View” for the Duluth News Tribune and was first published online on July 6, 2020, and in print on July 7, 2020.   I always enjoy reading my friend Jim Heffernan’s columns in the Duluth News Tribune, which often take me back…

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Duluth: Legendary City of the Unsalted Seas

The following story—adapted from Tony Dierckins’s Duluth: An Urban Biography (Minnesota Historical Society Press, April 2020)—was first published in the Duluth News Tribune in April, 2020, in celebration of Duluth’s 150th anniversary of first becoming a city on March 6, 1870. ___________ The legend of the digging of Duluth’s ship canal, that 100 stout men…

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Digging the Canal: Duluth’s Defining Creation Myth

The following story—adapted from Tony Dierckins’s Duluth: An Urban Biography (Minnesota Historical Society Press, April 2020)—was first published in the Duluth News Tribune in April, 2020, in celebration of Duluth’s 150th anniversary of first becoming a city on March 6, 1870. ___________ The initial digging of Duluth’s ship canal was fairly simple. The steam-powered dredging…

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1870: Duluth’s First Year as a City

The following story—adapted from Tony Dierckins’s Duluth: An Urban Biography (Minnesota Historical Society Press, April 2020)—was first published in the Duluth News Tribune in March, 2020, in celebration of Duluth’s 150th anniversary of first becoming a city on March 6, 1870. ___________ In 1870, its first year as a city, Duluth—destined to become the “Zenith…

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Joshua B. Culver: Duluth’s First Mayor and Leader of “The Ring”

The following story—adapted from Tony Dierckins’s Duluth: An Urban Biography (Minnesota Historical Society Press, April 2020)—was first published in the Duluth News Tribune in March, 2020, in celebration of Duluth’s 150th anniversary of first becoming a city on March 6, 1870. ___________ When Duluth first became a city on March 6, 1870, it stretched roughly…

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How Jay Cooke Resurrected Duluth’s “Lifeless Corpse”

The following story—adapted from Tony Dierckins’s Duluth: An Urban Biography (Minnesota Historical Society Press, April 2020)—was first published in the Duluth News Tribune in February, 2020, in celebration of Duluth’s 150th anniversary of first becoming a city on March 6, 1870. ___________ In 1869 journalist John Trowbridge wrote that “civilization is attracted to the line…

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Duluth’s First Boom—and Bust: 1856–1868

The following story—adapted from Tony Dierckins’s Duluth: An Urban Biography (Minnesota Historical Society Press, April 2020)—was first published in the Duluth News Tribune in February, 2020, in celebration of Duluth’s 150th anniversary of first becoming a city on March 6, 1870. ___________ As 1856 began perhaps no other region in the U.S. stood as poised…

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The Many Birthdays of the Zenith City

The following story—adapted from Tony Dierckins’s Duluth: An Urban Biography (Minnesota Historical Society Press, April 2020)—was first published in the Duluth News Tribune in January, 2020, in celebration of Duluth’s 150th anniversary of first becoming a city on March 6, 1870. ___________ In 1956 every man in Duluth was encouraged to grow a beard—whether or…

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How Duluth became “Duluth”

The following story—adapted from Tony Dierckins’s Duluth: An Urban Biography (Minnesota Historical Society Press, April 2020)—was first published in the Duluth News Tribune in January, 2020, in celebration of Duluth’s 150th anniversary of first becoming a city on March 6, 1870. ___________ By the time the Zenith City first became a city in March, 1870,…

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How Duluth handled the 1918 flu epidemic

[Published March 16, 2020] As Duluth and the rest of the world deals with the corona virus pandemic—and here at Zenith City Press I prepare to cancel or reschedule upcoming events related to Duluth: An Urban Biography—I thought it would be a good time to remind my fellow Duluthians that we have been through something…

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Trinity Episcopal Pro-Cathedral

2012 East Superior Street | John B. Sutcliffe | Built: 1907 Originally built as the Trinity Episcopal Pro-Cathedral, whose congregation was formed in 1904. In 1956 Trinity merged with St. John’s Episcopal and moved into a new church in Lakeside. The 1907 building then became the home of  Mount Olive Lutheran and remains so today.

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Duluth & Sunday Liquor: A Long History of Ignoring the Law

While the sale of liquor on Sundays was illegal in Minnesota starting in 1856, Duluth’s early history shows a revolving-door policy regarding adherence to the statute even though the city paid keen attention to liquor issues from its start—the very first ordinance passed by Duluth city officials regulated the “trading in intoxicants.” On July 21,…

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Beer, or Down Comes the House!

In mid-January 1884 a group of Duluthians of German extraction objected to the marriage of “the ancient and much married” Peter Arimond, a seventy-one-year-old five-time widower, to a twenty-four-year-old German immigrant named Louise, who lived in St. Paul. It would take beer made with pure Lake Superior water to calm a raging mob. Arimond, also…

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Subverting Duluth’s Sunday Liquor Laws, 1870–2017

While the sale of liquor on Sundays was illegal in Minnesota starting in 1856, Duluth’s early history shows a revolving-door policy regarding adherence to the statute even though the city paid keen attention to liquor issues from its start—the very first ordinance passed by Duluth city officials regulated the “trading in intoxicants.” On July 21,…

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The NorShor Theatre (aka Orpheum Garage)

  207–213 East Superior Street | Architects: Giliuson, Ellingsen and Erickson | Built: 1926 | Extant In 1926 the Hartley Estate, no doubt encouraged by the increased popularity of the automobile, decided to build a parking and service garage along the 200 block of East Superior Street. Guilford Hartley had purchased the property in 1910…

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Hagbert “Bert” J. Enger

Born March 24, 1864, in Hamar, Norway, Hagbert “Bert” J. Enger came to America in 1877 along with his maternal grandparents (his mother stayed in Norway; his father is thought to have abandoned the family). The thirteen-year-old immigrant found work on a farm in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Later jobs took him to Wisconsin sawmills, Dakota…

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Cook House

501 West Skyline Parkway | Architect: I. Vernon Hill | Built: 1900 | Extant Most Duluthians know the Arthur P. Cook house (named for its first owner, a Duluth druggist who dabbled in real estate and later operated the County Poor Farm) as the “House of Rock” both for the rocky lot it sits on…

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Cross River

Missionary Frederic R. Baraga, born in Yugoslavia in 1797, came to the United States in 1830 to devote his life to the American Indians of the Upper Great Lakes and was named Bishop of Upper Michigan in 1853 (Baraga, Michigan, is named for him). But before that, he had a little trouble in a canoe.…

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Duluth’s Development, 1856–1939

The city we now know as Duluth began developing in 1856, after the 1854 Treaty of LaPointe opened land north of Lake Superior for settlement by Americans of European descent. Superior, Wisconsin, pioneer George Stuntz famously set up the first structure—a trading post on the southern end of Minnesota Point—four years earlier. Between 1856 and…

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Important Dates in Duluth History

1854 | Second Treaty of La Pointe opens settlement of United States citizens and European immigrants on the “Minnesota side” of Lake Superior beginning in 1856—and eventually forces local Ojibwe population to move to the Fond du Lac Reservation (Nagaajiwanaang) in Carlton, Minnesota. 1855 (March 3) | Minnesota’s Superior County is renamed St. Louis County.…

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Duluth’s Mayors

March 6, 1870: Duluth becomes a City 1. J. B. Culver (D), 1870 2. Clinton Markell (R), 1871 3. Sidney Luce (D), 1872 4. Vespasian Smith (R), 1873 5. Peter Dean (D), 1875 6. John Drew (R), 1876 March 4, 1877: Duluth’s city charter expires and the community becomes the “District of Duluth” October 22,…

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Duluth & St. Louis County, Minnesota: Their Story & People

by Walter Van Brunt (1921) In 1921 Duluth pioneer Walter Van Brunt completed editing a three-volume history of Duluth and St. Louis County from 1856 to 1921 called Duluth & St. Louis County, Minnesota: Their Story & People. The book was published in three volumes by the American Historical Society of Chicago and New York.…

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The History of Duluth & St. Louis County, Minnesota

by Dwight Woodbridge and John Pardee (1910) In 1910 C. F. Cooper & Co. of Chicago published The History of Duluth & St. Louis County, Minnesota, by Dwight Woodbridge and John Pardee. This book covers the history of Duluth spanning from the days of the voyageurs through 1910 and includes a year-by-year account of Duluth’s…

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African Americans in Duluth

Duluth’s earliest African American residents were also part Ojibwe. In the 1850s, seven of Duluth’s eleven African American residents were members of the George Bonga family. Bonga was the son of Pierre Bonga, a free Black fur trader, and his Ojibwe wife. Bonga, who legend says was born on Minnesota Point in either 1799 or…

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Duluth’s Immigrant Patterns 1880–1920

During the 1880s waves of immigrants began to pour into Duluth and would continue doing so for the next thirty years. Some were recruited for specific skilled jobs, such as Norwegian and Swedish fisherman. Some were well-educated western Europeans—Protestant English, Scots, and Germans, mostly—and came to Duluth, as did Yankees from the eastern U.S., with…

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Immigrant Sentiment in the 1890s

Many in the “servant class,” who tended to the needs of the wealthy, were Irish Catholic. Anti-Catholic sentiment ran high among Prohibitionist Protestants of the day, who considered the Irish Catholics prone to alcoholism. The fact that (for the most part) the Protestants were wealthy and the Catholics were not, further divided the two groups.…

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Duluth’s Bowery & Duluth’s gateway Urban Renewal Program

When Duluth’s Union Depot was constructed in 1892, it helped cement Fifth Avenue West’s status as an “entrance” to the Zenith City. The grand Lyceum Theatre and luxury hotels like the St. Louis and the Spalding already stood nearby, as did many other, lower-rent hotels and saloons, many of which catered to lumberjacks, miners, and…

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The Eastern Expansion of I-35

The expansion of Interstate 35 through Duluth was planned as early as 1958, although the project wasn’t completed until the 1990s. The plans changed many times over the years, and portions of it were highly controversial, none more than the section that would cut through downtown Duluth and stretch to Twenty-Sixth Avenue East. Because of…

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Slabtown at Missabe Junction

Duluth’s Slabtown neighborhood, actually a subsection of the West End, housed a variety of low-income families from varied ethnic backgrounds, including Finns, Norwegians, Germans, Swedes, Poles, and French. The neighborhood stretched from roughly Twenty-Sixth to Thirtieth Avenues West and from Michigan Street to St. Louis Bay, centered on the Twenty-Seventh Avenue West Bridge. Immigrants came…

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Swede Town, aka the Garfield Avenue District

Rice’s Point, like Minnesota Point, is a large sandbar created by silt carried toward the lake by the St. Louis River. It had been a summer home to some local Ojibwe—and the location of at least one native burial site—for at least 100 years before Superior pioneer Orin Rice moved his family across the bay…

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Duluth Heights

Much of the damage caused by the historic 2012 Duluth flood was caused by blockages in subterranean culverts where Duluthians had long ago forced creeks underground. One such creek was Brewery Creek, which forced itself to the surface along the path of Seventh Avenue East. Brewery Creek, along with Buckinghams Creek, both served to drain…

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Lakeside & Lester Park

In 1856 J. B. Bell platted a town between Fortieth and Forty-Third Avenues East from Lake Superior to today’s McCullough Street and named the town Belville after himself. The following year the Panic of 1857 brought a halt to all growth in the area, and no one ever built a permanent home in Bellville. In…

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Morgan Park

Those unfamiliar with the history of Morgan Park are often taken aback the first time they encounter its concrete houses. At the turn of the 20th century, U.S. Steel decided to build a steel mill in the vicinity of Duluth to save on transportation costs (its ore came from Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range). After Minnesota…

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Duluth Commercial Historic District

The Duluth Commercial Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, contains 107 buildings. The district consists of all Superior Street properties located between Lake Avenue and Third Avenue East, those located in the 0–100 block on the north side of West Superior Street, and properties in the 300 block on the south side…

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Duluth Landmark Properties

The following properties have been declared Duluth Landmark Properties by the City of Duluth: Duluth Public Library | 101 W. Second St. Lincoln Branch of the Duluth Public Library | 2229 W. 2nd St. Lester Park Branch of the Duluth Public Library | 106 N. 54th Ave E. Woodland Branch of the Duluth Public Library | 3732 Woodland Ave. Masonic Temple | 203 E. Superior St.…

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Duluth Properties on the National Register of Historic Places

The following Duluth properties and landmarks are on the National Park Service’s Register of Historic Places: Duluth Union Depot, 506 W. Michigan St.  | 1971 Duluth Central High School, Lake Avenue and Second Street  | 1972 Aerial Lift Bridge, Lake Avenue  | 1973 Endion Passenger Depot, Canal Park Drive  | 1975 Oliver G. Traphagen House,…

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Alworth Building

306 W. Superior Street | Architect: Daniel H. Burnham | Built: 1910 | Extant “Look Up—You Can’t Miss It,” was the slogan used to promote Duluth’s Alworth building when it first opened in 1910. The Alworth—standing 15 stories above Superior Street and 16 above Michigan Street—was not only the tallest building in Duluth when it…

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Bell & Eyster’s Bank

3 West Superior Street | Architect: George Wirth | b. 1883 | Extant The Panic of 1873, brought on by the failure of Jay Cooke’s banking house, decimated Duluth. All work stopped, and the population was slashed practically overnight. By 1877 Duluth, heavily in debt, had lost its city charter and reorganized as a village.…

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Burrows Block, aka Columbia Building

301–303 West Superior Street | Architect: McMillen & Radcliffe | Built: 1891 | Altered: 1958, 2010 Built as a five-story Romanesque Revival style retail and office complex of brick with brownstone trim, the Burrows Block was built to house Matthew S. Burrow’s Great Eastern Clothing Store, which first opened in 1886 in another location. Burrows…

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Canal Block

340 South Lake Avenue | Architect Unknown | b. 1889 | Extant Duluth’s Canal Block, better known today as the home of Green Mill Pizza, was built in 1889 by the Val Blatz Brewing of Milwaukee. The entire second floor was occupied by the Maine Hotel, and the main floor originally had 5 storefronts; one…

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Columbus Block

28–30 West Superior Street | Architect: Peabody & Stearns | Built: 1894 | Altered: 1908, 1955 When the three-story brick Columbus Block opened in 1894, glass and crockery sales firm F. A. Parker & Company moved in as its first tenant. William Pattison purchased the building in 1908 and added two floors that same year.…

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DM&IR Endion Station

200 Lake Place Drive | Architects: Gearhard Tenbusch and I. Vernon Hill | b. 1899 | Extant. Originally located at 15th Avenue East and South Street, the building was relocated in the 1980s to make way for the I-35 expansion; it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

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Duluth Board of Trade (1895)

301–307 West First Street | Architects: Traphagen &  Fitzpatrick | b. 1895 | Extant Remodeled in 1905 by Daniel Burnham Fire has shaped the history of this great old building. It was built after the original Board of Trade Building burned in 1894, and its cornice was removed after another fire damaged the building in 1948.…

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Duluth Herald Building (1893)

220 West Superior Street | Traphagen & Fitzpatrick | b. 1893 Millie Bunnell, who established the Duluth Herald in 1883, commissioned Traphagen & Fitzpatrick to design this three-story Neoclassical-style building, faced with tan brick with limestone features, when his paper was ten years old. In 1929 the Herald purchased the Duluth News Tribune, and both…

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Duluth Union Depot (1892)

505 W. Michigan Street | Architects: Peabody & Stearns | Built: 1892 | Extant When the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad from St. Paul to Duluth was completed in 1870, the LS&M along with the Northern Pacific railroad—both owned by Jay Cooke—built a passenger depot along 5th Avenue below Michigan Street. It was a simple,…

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Hayes Block

30-38 East Superior Street | Architect: Unknown | Built: 1870 Remodeled 1906 (William A. Hunt, Architect), 1923, and 2007 Duluth’s second brick building (the first was Branch’s Hall) was built in 1870 by William K. Rogers and Rutherford B. Hayes, who was governor of Ohio at that time. Hayes served as U. S. President from…

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Hunter Block

31 West Superior Street | Architect: Unknown | Built: 1872 | Extant This three-story, highly red sandstone building has been highly altered over the years. It was built by John Hunter, one of the founder’s (and namesake) of Duluth’s Hunter’s Park neighborhood.

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Lonsdale Building

302 West Superior Street | Architects: Palmer, Hall & Hunt | Built: 1895 | Extant When the first Duluth Board of Trade building went up at 302–304 West Superior Street in 1885—two years before Duluth regained its city status—it stood as a symbol of the Zenith City’s grit, determination, and promising future. When it came…

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Medical Arts Building

324 West Superior Street | Architect: Ernest R. Erickson | Built: 1933 | Extant When Marshal H. Alworth built the Alworth Building in 1910, newspapers raved about its modern design and the fact that it had been constructed in a very short time—nine months from groundbreaking to grand opening. In 1933, when Alworth’s son Royal…

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Metropolitan Block

113–119 West Superior Street | Architect: George Wirth | Built: 1882 | Altered repeatedly When first built, the Metropolitan Block’s Queen Anne façade was highly adorned and faced with patterned brick, Ohio sandstone, and terra cotta trim. The building still serves Duluth, but its architect, George Wirth, wouldn’t recognize it if he were alive to…

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Providence Building

332 West Superior Street  |  Architects: Wagenstein & Bailey  |  Built: 1895  |  Extant Two 19th-century business blocks anchor the lower side of Superior Street’s West 100 block, the Lonsdale and Providence buildings. Both were designed by prominent Duluth architects and first constructed in 1895, and later several floors were added to each. But while…

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Sellwood Building

202 West Superior Street  |  Architect: William A. Hunt  |  B. 1907  |  Extant Duluth’s Sellwood Building has graced the southwest corner of Second Avenue West and Superior Street since 1907, when it replaced the 1882 Merchant’s Hotel. You have to look up to the 8th floor to see what’s left of its orange sandstone…

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Silberstein-Bondy Block

9–11 West Superior Street | Architect: George Wirth | b. 1884 | Expanded 1902 (F. German) | Remodeled 1927 (Giliusin, Ellingsen & Erickson) | Extant In 1866, 18-year-old Hungarian-born Bernard Silberstein left Vienna, where he was educated, to emigrate to the United States. He eventually landed in Detroit, but soon after headed to Duluth for,…

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Temple Opera Block

 201–205 East Superior Street | Architects: McMillen & Stebbins | b. 1889 | Extant (mostly) Ask most Duluthians where the Temple Opera Block is and they likely won’t be sure what you’re talking about. The three-story building at 201 East Superior Street, just west of the NorShor Theatre, was originally constructed to be one of…

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Torrey Building

314 West Superior Street | Architects: Traphagen & Fitzpatrick | b. 1892 | Extant In 1892 a former U. S. Cavalry officer from St. Louis arrived in Duluth and promptly proceeded to pick out a lot on the lower 300 block of West Superior Street, hire Duluth’s premier architects, and build the Zenith City’s first…

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Wirth Block

13 West Superior Street | Architects: Wirth & Traphagen | b. 1886 | Extant When the time came for pioneer Duluth pharmacist Max Wirth to build a new headquarters for his business in 1886, he didn’t have a tough decision to make as far as which architect to hire. Max’s brother George was at the…

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Wolvin Building (Missabe Building)

225-231 West First Street | Architect: John J. Wangenstein and William Hunt | 1901-1902, 1909 | Extant When the Wolvin Building first went up in 1902, it was six stories high — another three were added in 1909, as shown in the postcard above. Built by Captain August B. Wolvin, the building’s primary tenants included subsidiary companies of…

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St. James Orphanage

4321 Allendale Avenue | Architect: Unknown | Built: 1910 | Extant The Catholic Diocese operated St. James Orphanage, which opened as a four-story building made of brick with Bedford stone trim in 1910. Besides housing children, the facility offered farm and industrial training. Kindergarten for neighboring St. John’s School was taught at St. James, and in turn…

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The St. Louis County Poor Farm

Before Social Security, before General Assistance, before the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, before the Affordable Health Care Act—before these government-run safety nets developed to ensure that the less fortunate don’t go hungry and get the medical help they need—there was the humble county poor farm. These farms became a necessity after President Franklin Pierce vetoed…

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