On this day in Duluth in 1889, Michigan financier Wilhelm Boeing posted an ad in Duluth newspapers warning ship captains that, starting October 15, “right of passage through the canal…will be denied.” Boeing claimed he rightfully owned the land that the ship canal was cut through nearly 30 years earlier, having purchased it after the Panic of 1873, and therefore the canal belonged to him and that if Duluth wants to use it, they must purchase it from him for $100,000. Everyone in Duluth thought this ridiculous, as the Federal Government had owned the canal since the 1870s. On the night of October 16, men working for Marshall Alworth, Boeing’s agent in Duluth, indeed stretched a rope across the canal—which police officer Frank Horgan promptly cut. Later Boeing’s men once again stretched a rope across the canal, only to have the steamer Winslow cut right through it while her captain shouted “To hell with your clothes-line.” The rope was strung—and cut—once more before they attempted—unsuccessfully—to stretch a chain cross the canal. Mr. Boeing died the following year without ever getting satisfaction on his claim. His son, william, would parlay his father’s fortune into the largest airplane manufacturer in the world. Read a more complete account of the 1889 event here.