Originally published December, 2014
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.