Zenith City Press publisher Tony Dierckins has a new book coming out in April 2020—and it won’t be published by Zenith City Press.
The good folks at Minnesota Historical Society Press are publishing a series of “urban biographies” of Minnesota’s four largest cities—Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, and Duluth—and Dierckins is writing the Duluth book. It will be called, simply enough, Duluth: An Urban Biography. The timing couldn’t be better: Duluth celebrates its 150th anniversary as a city in 2020. The Zenith City first became a city on March 4, 1870, and held its first elections that April.
All four books will try to encapsulate each city’s entire history in 40,000 words and 40 photographs. To put that in perspective Crossing the Canal, our history of Duluth’s canal and aerial bridge, is 65,000 words (and over 250 images); our history of Twin Ports breweries—Naturally Brewed, Naturally Better—contains 75,000 (with nearly 600 images); and Duluth’s Historic Parks took 115,000 words (and more than 300 images). Those books focus on one subject, and the urban biography will cover everything from the Precambrian lava floes that formed the bed of Lake Superior to the results of the November 2019 mayoral election.
Here’s how MHS Press describes the book:
Duluth, the beautiful city at the head of the world’s largest freshwater lake, has gone from boom to bust to boom and back again. In this richly textured urban biography, author Tony Dierckins highlights fascinating stories of the city: Its significance as the Ojibwe’s sixth stopping place. The failed copper rush along Lake Superior’s North Shore that started it all. The natural port on the St. Louis River that made shipping its first and most important business. The legend of the digging of the ship canal. The unique aerial transfer bridge and its successor, the lift bridge. The city’s remarkable park system. The 1920 lynching of three African American circus workers. The Glensheen murders. How Duluth has been dissed in popular culture. The evolution of the city’s east-west divide. And throughout the years, how the big lake and river have sustained Duluth’s economy, shaped its residents’ recreation, and attracted the tourists who marvel at the city’s beauty and cultural life. Cities, like people, are always changing, and the history of that change is the city’s biography. This book illuminates the unique character of Duluth, weaving in the hidden stories of place, politics, and identity that continue to shape its residents lives.
The book is scheduled to release April 15. We’ll keep you posted as to author events—include a launch party in April—so stay tuned!