December 27, 1894: Duluth’s premier roadway—today’s Skyline Parkway—named in honor of the man who envisioned it

On this day in Duluth in 1894, Duluth’s Board of Park Commissioners officially named its premier parkway Rogers Boulevard in honor of parks visionary William K. Rogers. Prior to 1894 the road had no official name. The park board referred to it as the Terrace Parkway or Boulevard Drive. Newspapers called it “the Boulevard.” The Roe Atlas of 1890 labeled the eastern section Lake View Terrace, which included the circle drive around the Grand View Mountain, now the location of Enger Tower. West of the “mountain,” the road was labeled Bay View Terrace. Finally, in December 1894, the park board members unanimously voted to call the road Rogers Boulevard in honor of William K. Rogers, who had died the previous year in his home state of Ohio. Luther Mendenhall, who had replaced Rogers as president of the park board, pushed the renaming effort, and the Duluth News Tribune supported it, saying that Rogers “Did more than [make the roadway possible]. He located it, solved, himself, the engineering problems, superintended its building, hired the labor and forced the city, much against its will, to pay the bills.” In 1921 local Rotary, Kiwanis, and Lions groups wanted to change the parkway’s name to “Armistice Memorial Boulevard.” Mayor Sam Snively promised if that happened, “the name of W. K. Rogers shall not be wholly lost” because he expected to have a memorial to Rogers erected somewhere along the boulevard. In 1929 the road was renamed Skyline Parkway. There is a memorial to Snively along the parkway, but to date the city has not erected a memorial to William K. Rogers.

illiam K. Rogers. (Image: Hayes Presidential Library)