This Day in Duluth Archive

Use our search function to find “This Day” entries for a specific day of the year. Spell out the month and include a comma after the date numeral, do not include a year, and place it all within quotation marks, like this: “May 1,”.

May 26, 1932: Grand opening of Duluth’s Medical Arts Building

On this day in Duluth in 1932, the brand new Medical Arts Building held its grand opening. The building at 324 West Superior Street, designed by Ernest R. Ericson, is considered the Zenith City’s Art Deco masterpiece—indeed it is one of only a few Art Deco buildings ever constructed in Duluth, and by far the…

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May 25, 1910: Birth of Duluth musician Ralph Oxman

On this day in Duluth in 1910, Ralph Sanford Oxman was born to William and Mary Oxman. William Oxman owned the Duluth Fur Company, housed within the Commercial Club at 404 West First Street. Ralph became interested in the cello, as a family story goes, when he attended a concert by British cellist Beatrice Harrison…

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May 24, 1929: Ground broken for Duluth’s Federal Building

On this day in Duluth in 1929, officials gathered for the ground-breaking ceremony for a new federal building at 515 West First Street. The building was the final piece of the plan for Duluth’s Civic Center, first envisioned in 1909 by renowned Chicago architect Daniel Burnham. James A. Wetmore, acting supervising architect of the U.S.…

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May 23, 1921: Mayoral portrait presented 20 years late

On this day in Duluth in 1921, the city of Duluth accepted Thomas Merritt’s gift of a portrait of former Duluth mayor Henry “Typhoid” Truelson painted by celebrated Duluth artist David Ericson twenty years earlier. The painting, commissioned by Truelson’s friends, had been made in 1901, the year after Truelson ended his four years as…

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May 22, 1926: The Leif Erikson sets sail from Norway

On this day in  1926, the replica Viking ship Leif Erikson embarked on an epic journey that ended in Duluth. Captain Gerhard Folgero and his crew—John Johnson, Thomas Stavanes (often misidentified as Osvald Gabrielson), Kristian Anderson, and the captain’s dog—set sail from Bergen, Norway, to retrace Erikson’s voyage from Norway to Iceland to the coast…

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May 21, 1863: Superior teen shot and killed by stockade sentry

On this day across the bay in 1863, a teenage boy was shot and killed when he was mistaken for a hostile Indian. The 1862 Sioux Uprising in New Ulm, Minnesota, had raised fears about similar activity at the Head of the Lakes. So the U.S. Army sent Company B of the 18th Wisconsin Infantry…

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May 20, 1907: Park commission proposes $50,000 bond for playgrounds

On this day in Duluth in 1907, Duluth’s park commissioners an idea to issue $50,000 in bonds—about $1.5 million today—to “acquire more ground for park purposes and play grounds, and to beautify the city’s present holdings.” According to the Duluth News Tribune, “Considerable stress was laid upon the necessity of having play grounds for the…

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May 19, 1920: Duluth midwife charged with manslaughter

On this day in Duluth in 1920, midwife Magner Fredericka Julia Hansen was charged with manslaughter in the first degree by means of a “criminal operation” in the death of Mrs. Carrie Wissel of Cohasset, Minnesota. According to Duluth historian Heidi Bakk-Hansen, “It was alleged that Hansen had performed an abortion for Wissel, who then…

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May 18, 1926: Death of “Duluth Rip-Saw” editor John Morrison

On this day in Duluth in 1926, John Morrison—founder and editor of Duluth’s controversial Rip-Saw newspaper died of a “brain clot.” Morrison, a “rabid tee-totaller,” was an avid Prohibitionist and reckless newspaperman whose unconventional journalistic techniques often put him in legal hot water. According to Morrison biographer John Ramos, “For some time [before his death],…

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May 17, 1915: City accepts Congdon’s gift of Lake Superior shoreline

On this day in Duluth in 1915, city commissioners officially accepted a gift from Chester Congdon, property along Lake Superior’s north shore that would later become Congdon Boulevard. The property was part of Congdon’s dream of building what he called the Lake Superior International Highway from Duluth to the Canadian border. Congdon first announced the…

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