February 19, 1914: Mayor Prince wakes up in the wrong place

William I. Prince. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

On this day in Duluth in 1914, Mayor William Prince woke up on the Iron Range when he thought he was in Duluth. The Duluth News Tribune had fun with the story, so rather than us reinterpreting it, here is the whole thing: “MAYOR WAKES UP TO FIND HE’S ON RANGE INSTEAD OF HOME. Carelessness on the part of employees of the Duluth, Missabe & Northern Railway company deprived Duluth of its mayor for five hours yesterday. Mayor Prince went to Eveleth on Wednesday to give members of the Commercial Club of that place his ideas on municipal government and incidentally to partake of a banquet. He made the trip in the private car of one of the road’s officials. Following the feast, the mayor retired to the car and went to bed, expecting to be speeding toward Duluth, when he awoke in the morning, and arrived here at 10:30 a.m.. Through a mistake the private car was not coupled to the train, and ‘his worship’ was still on the range when he awoke. In consequence he did not get home until 3:20 p.m.” We are not sure why the News Tribune called Prince “his worship,” as Prince was a Republican and endorsed by the News Tribune in the 1913 election, which he won by just six votes. His mayoral predecessor was fellow Republican John McCuen, who chose not to run for reelection; his opponent for the mayoral race was Democrat William E. McEwan. Had Prince not won, Duluth would have had two mayors in a row with names that, though spelled differently, sounded the same. If only someone like Prince were around to run for mayor at the midpoint of the 20th century, the local press would not have had to suffer the complications of the city having two mayors named George Johnson—first George W. and then George D.—for almost ten years. (George D. would serve as mayor again from 1963 to 1967.)

2 Responses to February 19, 1914: Mayor Prince wakes up in the wrong place

  1. Reminds me of the time a well-known Twin Ports broadcaster of the long past woke up in Milwaukee, thinking he was still in Superior. A certain amount of intoxicating beverage was involved.

  2. Reminds me of the more recent event that the national news media had fun with when Pres Geo Bush renamed the Range “the Iron Ridge”.

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