December 12, 1908: Death of Superior civic leader and baseball enthusiast George Hislop

On this day across the bay in 1908, Superior civic leader and baseball enthusiast George Hislop died from complications after surgery to remove his right leg above the knee at Superior’s St. Mary’s Hospital. Hislop had been suffering from sciatic rheumatism and he had blood poisoning and “necrosis of the bone”in his right leg. At the time Hislop was considered “one of the foremost citizens” of Superior. Mayor Frank Crumpton was at his bedside when he passed, and immediately afterward Superior’s chief executive ordered flags to be lowered to half mast. Hislop, a native of East Zoora, Ontario, was 53 years old. He first arrived in Superior in 1890 after 12 years in Fargo, North Dakota, where he had established a successful livery stable with N. L. Shattuck. Hislop & Shattuck were quite successful in Superior. Hislop was elected as a city alderman in 1902 while traveling—his friends nominated him and he soundly defeated his democratic opponent without realizing he was running for office. Upon his death the Duluth News Tribune called him “one of the popular and progressive citizens of Superior…. [who] always stood ready to lend a helping hand to amy movement that was of public interest.” He also served on Superior’s Board of Public Works, but was perhaps best known for his love of sports, particularly baseball—he served as president of Superior’s amateur baseball league the year he died. According to baseball historian Anthony Bush, a year after his death Superior built Hislop Park, a baseball facility located just south of Winter Street in the rail yard west of Oakes Avenue—about a block or so west of the Union Depot. It would serve first as the home to professional baseball’s Superior Drillers, who became the Superior Red Sox the next year and played until 1916. Famed NFL star Ernie Nevers played his high school football at Hislop, as did Harry Grant, father of Minnesota Vikings legend Bud Grant. Never’s NFL team, the Duluth Eskimos, played their first exhibition game in 1926 at Hislop Park, defeating the Gogebic Panthers 28–0. From 1933 to 1937 it was home to the Superior Blues of the Northern League and was demolished in 1938 after the Works Project Administration built Superior Municipal Stadium near the Superior State teachers College (UWS).

An insurance map showing the location of Superior’s Hislop Park. (Image: Zenith City Press)

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