October 14, 1922: Miller Trunk Highway Opens

A postcard made some time between 1922 and 1925 boasting of the all-concrete Miller Trunk Highway. (Image: X-Comm.)

On this day in Duluth in 1922, the Miller Trunk Highway, aka State Highway No. 11, opened to traffic, allowing for safer and faster automobile travel between Duluth and the Iron Range. The road was named in honor of Charles G. Miller who as county commissioner worked tirelessly to build a road that would link range cities with Duluth. Mayor Sam Snively and other Duluth civic and business leaders represented the Zenith City, and Snively’s car broke the tape—placed under a triumphal arch dubbed the “Arch of Welcome”— to symbolically open the road to the public. The third car contained Otto Swanstron, president of the Duluth Automobile Club, and G. H. Dunning, chairman of the chamber of commerce; both groups had been instrumental in making the highway a reality.  Dunning said the road’s opening was “one of historic importance to northern Minnesota. The opening of this stretch of paved highway reaching from Duluth to the range, marks a new era in the transportation section.” Even Minnesota Governor J. A. O. Preus was scheduled to the trip from St. Paul for the celebration. The Duluth News Tribune called the road “Northeastern Minnesota’s Appian Way.” The celebration in Eveleth included a luncheon, street dance, carnival, and an exhibition football game between the Eveleth and Duluth Central high school teams—all capped off by a grand ball in the evening. Read the Duluth News Tribune’s coverage here:MillerTrunk_10.13.1922_DNTMillerTrunk_10.13.1922_02_DNTMillerTrunk_10.14.1922_DNT

2 Responses to October 14, 1922: Miller Trunk Highway Opens

  1. Hwy 53 used to veer to the right by Half Moon Lake (South of Eveleth; now Miller Trunk Road) and go through Fayal Township before going into Eveleth and Virginia.

  2. Miller Trunk didn’t look anything like this when we traveled on it back in the mid-40s and beyond, heading to the family cabin at Caribou Lake. How interesting to see its beginnings as a concrete roadway. Thanks for all the marvelous Duluth history lessons.

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