Duluth Linen Supply

This Month's Ghost Sign

Originally published December, 2014
Image: Zenith City Press

Duluth native A. S. Nordstrom established Duluth Linen Supply in 1916 to manufacture and wholesale linen and cotton goods and operate a service supplying large users of linen—such as hotels, restaurants, and hospitals—with clean towels, sheets, tablecloths, rugs, and more. Nordstrom first set up shop at 228 East First Street. The building shown in the photographs, which stands at 612 East First Street, served as the Duluth Linen Company’s center of operations beginning in 1918. In 1935, DLS’s employees—eight men and thirty women organized as Local 19509—went on trike for better wages. With support from coal dock workers, longshoremen, electrical workers, and the Minnesota Federation of Labor, the “laundry girls” eventually won. American Linen  took over the company in 1948 and moved out of the original location in 1982. Today American Linen operates out of a facility at 4530 Airpark Boulevard.

This Month's Ghost Sign

4 Responses to Duluth Linen Supply

  1. My late step-father’s brother in law worked there in the 30’s. He told me about when they fought to unionize & how nasty things got.

  2. I worked at this place for a short time in the early seventies. My parents were good friends with George Unkavich. I can’t remember his wifes name but she was Rudy Perpachivs sister.

  3. Neat article. I started employment with American Linen Supply in the mid 1970’s at this building. There had been a strike before I started and product was being processed at the Hibbing Location and shuttled to Duluth. American Linen still remains family owned but did a name change to AmeriPride Services. They have been in business since 1889. I always wondered what the history of this building was before I started but never asked. Great article. Thanks so much.

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