On this day in 1909, a “terrible cloudburst” hit Duluth, causing $50,000 worth of damage and causing the death of two young children. A recent Italian immigrant named Romano had taken her two- and four-year-old sons from her house, which was filling with water, and sought shelter at St. Luke’s Hospital. On her way she was swept off her feet and lost her grip on her boys, both of whom drowned. Streetcars ground to a halt and most of Duluth’s streets became impassible. Ropes were stretched across Superior Street to aid pedestrian crossing, and hotels were choked with guests who could not reach their homes. Street damage was described as “enormous.” Unpaved streets became chasms; the block of the paved streets were “plowed up as though in a seismic disturbance.” A family living in the basement of 421 North First Avenue had to be rescued through a window, as mud and debris had blocked the door. At the Bijou Theatre (today’s Electric Fetus), manager Joe Maitlan saved one panicked woman fleeing the theatre—water had entered the building and was cascading down the aisles, causing a panic. Historian Dora Mary MacDonald reported that Al Jolson was performing at the Bijou that night, and that the black-faced performer “waded offstage, getting his only costume soaking wet.” The next day’s newspaper (Flood_1909-07-22_DNT) included no mention of Jolson.