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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,”.

January 26, 1893: First Mesabi Range iron ore used in Duluth

On this day in Duluth in 1893 the first iron ore taken from the Mesabi Iron Range over the Duluth & Iron Range Railroad to Duluth was tested in a blast furnace. The Minnesota Blast Furnace company of West Duluth was fired up and the first cast was made at 11:45 a.m. Taken from the…

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January 25, 1907: Duluth-Superior Harbor named second busiest in U.S.

On this day in 1907, Major Graham D. Fitch announced that the Duluth-Superior harbor was second only to New York Harbor as the busiest port in the United States, bypassing Boston and Philadelphia. That year’s annual report stated that vessels received and shipped over 29 million tons of cargo worth more than $250 million in…

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January 24, 1851: Birth of DM&N Railway engineer H. L. Dresser

On this day in 1851, future Duluthian Hermon Lamott Dresser, was born in Granger, Allegany County, New York, to farmers Joel and Belinda A. (Button) Dresser. While Dresser was well educated, he elected to stay on at the family farm until 1876, when he took a job as rodman among surveying crews planning railroads in…

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January 23, 1919: Edward Congdon is discharged from military service

On this day in Duluth in 1919, Edward C. Congdon, second eldest son of Chester and Clara Congdon, was discharged from military service. According to historian Walter Van Brunt, Edward (known to friends and family as “Ned”), “was commissioned a second lieutenant of infantry on November 6, 1916, in the newly authorized Officers Reserve Corps,…

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January 22, 1978: Fire destroys Consolidated grain elevators #4 and #5

On this day in Duluth in 1978, fire destroyed grain elevators #4 and #5 on Rice’s Point. According to grain elevator historian Dan Turner, “A worker patrolling the plant at 3:30 p.m. discovered a small fire below the wooden floorboards of the 80-year-old elevator #4 and immediately called for help. By the time firemen had…

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January 21, 1966: the Lyceum Theatre’s final bow

On this day in Duluth in 1966, more than 1,000 people gathered at the Lyceum Theatre at 5th Avenue West and Superior Street for the final performance: fifteen tours led by members of the St. Louis County Historical Society, Duluth Playhouse, and Junior League. The historical society’s executive secretary, Mrs. Josiah H. Greene, told the…

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January 20, 1920: Sergei Rachmaninoff performs at the Duluth Armory

On this day in Duluth in 1920, composer and pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff performed at the National Guard Armory at 14th Avenue East and London Road. Rachmaninoff’s program in Duluth included Mozart’s “Variations,” Mendelssohn’s “Rondo Cappriccioso,” Chopin’s “Scherzo,” and his own “Valse, Opus 10” and “Prelude in C-Sharp Minor.” The News Tribune described his “Prelude” as…

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January 18, 1871: Duluth’s Pilgrim Congregational Church formally organized 

On this day in Duluth in 1871, with the formal installation of Reverend C. C. Salter, the Zenith City’s Pilgrim Congregational Church was formally organized. A council of Congregational Church officials from Minneapolis and St. Paul attended a brief formal ceremony (described as “solemn and interesting” by the Duluth Minnesotian) held at the Pendleton Block…

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