Duluth Library Foundation’s “Learning & Libations” celebrates Duluth’s Sesquicentennial

From the Seven Fires to the creation of the ship canal: Duluth Library Foundation event marks Duluth’s 150th anniversary

The Duluth Library Foundation announces a fresh take on its annual Learning & Libations event, marking the city’s 150th anniversary. This year’s “event” is an on-demand virtual history tour, The History All Around Us. Two renowned local authors will virtually guide guests to local landmarks. They will tell stories of life at the western tip of Lake Superior before Duluth existed, and how it came to be 150 years ago—from the Seven Fires prophecies of the Ojibwe to the creation of the ship canal.

Renowned local author Tom Peacock, who grew up in Fond du Lac and earned his Ph.D. at Harvard, relates the astonishing story of the Seven Fires: seven prophecies revealed to the Ojibwe 900 years ago that urged them to travel west from what is now Newfoundland in eastern Canada. The prophecies foretold that they would know they had reached their destination when they arrived at a place where food grows on water. On the waters of the Northland, they found wild rice—a food that remained a staple of the Ojibwe diet 150 years ago.

Tony Dierckins, another local author and the publisher of Duluth’s Zenith City Press, recounts the compelling story of early Duluth: Its 1856 founding as a town, its future delayed by depression and war, how its few citizens survived the stark 1860s, and on to the coming of Jay Cooke’s railroads, which turned Duluth into a booming city in 1870—only to have it fall apart when Cooke himself went bankrupt in 1873.

Together, the two authors open guests’ eyes to the history all around us, in the only event recognizing Duluth’s 150th anniversary, all in support of the Duluth Public Library.

“The 150th anniversary of our city created an opportunity to travel back in time to discover local history,” said Amy Kuronen, Duluth Library Foundation Board president. “It is a meaningful way to support the library.”

In a new twist on virtual events, registered guests can view “The History All Around Us” on demand, any time between September 19 and September 30, in a manner similar to streaming.

“We modified our approach to allow guests to view this virtual history tour in a flexible way,” said Patra Sevastiades, Executive Director of the Duluth Library Foundation. “Day or night; on a computer or mobile device; with friends and family, or in the comfort of one’s own company; and as many times as they would like to view it.”

Guests can register online by clicking here or can call the Duluth Library Foundation office at (218) 341-1894 by September 18, 2020.

All proceeds of “Learning & Libations: At-Home Edition” will benefit the Foundation’s Library Resiliency Campaign, helping the Duluth Public Library retool to enhance digital access, modify its spaces, reshape program plans, and put safeguards in place to protect the health and well-being of patrons and staff; so that, when the library is again fully staffed and can open, it will have the resources needed to flexibly and safely serve the community.

Gracious sponsors of the event include the Duluth News Tribune, Creative Arcade; Hanft Fride, JNBA Advisors, maurices, National Bank of Commerce; Minnesota Power Foundation, Payroll Processing Plus, Wipfli; Bent Paddle Brewing Company, Dougherty Funeral Home, Duluth Tree Service, Hoops Brewing, JS Print Group, and Whole Foods Co-op.

Patra Sevastiades
Executive Director
Duluth Library Foundation

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