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,”.

July 20, 1856: First Christian sermon delivered on Minnesota Point

On this day in in 1856 in what would become Duluth, Rev. John M. Barnett, a Presbyterian minister, delivered the first Christian sermon on Minnesota Point. Barnett recalled the event: “On the evening of July 20, in the summer of ’56, I preached my first sermon on the point in a house owned by a…

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July 19, 1920: Duluth police Chief Murphy’s smuggling trial begins

On this day in Duluth in 1920, the trial of Duluth police Chief John Murphy began. Appointed chief earlier that year, Murphy had no experience in law enforcement—he had been a yard manager for the Northern Pacific Railroad and a railroad inspector. Murphy, his chauffeur Earl Eckhard, former deputy U.S. marshal Frank Bradley, and eight…

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July 18, 1990: New Duluth Fire Station #8 opens City Center West

On this day in Duluth in 1990, a brand new Fire Station #8 opened at the brand new City Center West at 59th Avenue West and Grand Avenue in West Duluth. The new facility replaced the former Station #8, built in 1916 at 601 North Central Avenue as the West Duluth Municipal Building. According to…

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July 17, 1908: Duluth’s first playground opens in Lincoln Park

On this day in Duluth in 1908, the first public playground established by the Duluth Playground Association was opened at Lincoln Park, and the children loved it. Two supervisors—one man and one woman—kept the youngsters under control. The playground closed for the season in September, but Mayor Roland Haven considered it an unqualified success and…

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July 16,  1941: First professional baseball game at Wade Stadium

On this day in Duluth in 1941, the minor league Duluth Dukes played their first home game at Duluth All-Sports Municipal Stadium, known as Wade Stadium since 1952. According to Duluth baseball historian Anthony Bush, “While fans and players enjoyed the facility, the Dukes took it on the chin in their match with their cross-port…

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July 15, 1961: First Soap Box Derby race held in Hartley Park

On this day in Duluth in 1961, the first Soap Box Derby race was held at Duluth’s Derby Downs, built within Hartley Park. Duluth’s first All-American Soap Box Derby, described as a “coaster wagon race for boys,” took place in July 1947 at Lemon Drop Hill, a portion of London Road between Twenty-sixth and Thirtieth…

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July 14, 1888: Duluth’s Germans dedicate Turner Hall

On this day in Duluth in 1888, Duluth’s German’s dedicated their brand new Turner Hall at 601 East Third Street. Most city’s in America had their own Turner Hall at the time, a gathering place for members of the local Turnverein Society. The Turners were founded in Germany in 1811 by a group of men who…

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July 13, 1890: Superior newspaper exposes Mayor Pattison’s secret life

On this day across the bay in 1890, Superior’s Sunday Morning Call newspaper reported that mayor and prominent businessman Martin Pattison was born Simon Thayer—and had led a double life. According to Superior historian Judith Liebaert, “Early in 1890 Pattison was arguably at the pinnacle of his popularity among his peers and the residents of…

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July 12, 1897: Duluth bans women from saloons

On this day in Duluth in 1897, the Duluth Common Council unanimously passed an ordinance banning women from saloons. The ordinance, introduced by alderman Shannon, prohibited women from entering saloons. Those violating the ordinance faced a fine of up to $100—worth nearly $3,000 today—or 90 days in jail. The ordinance was installed just two weeks…

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