January 1, 1904: Official opening of Duluth’s new weather station

On this day in Duluth in 1904, the new Duluth Weather Station opened at what is now 631 West Skyline Parkway. When first established in 1870, the Weather Bureau was located in the Edmonds (Miller) Block at Lake Avenue and Superior Street. It moved to the St. Louis Hotel in 1882, then two years later went to the Metropolitan Block. In 1895 the Bureau again moved, this time to the Federal Building and Post Office; it stayed there until the new facility was built on today’s Skyline Parkway. The facility was also the home of forecaster H. W. Richardson and his family, and close enough to the Incline Railway to allow them easy travel up and down the hillside. The two-story building had eleven rooms and the equipment was considered the most modern available at the time. But there was no city water supply in that section of Duluth Heights, and a well had to be used to provide water. It utilized a windmill to pump the water into the house. The house served as the Weather Bureau until March 1, 1950, when it was moved to another facility at the municipal airport that had been operating there since 1941. Like today’s meteorologists, Richardson was often criticized for unreliable reports. At one point he resorted to explaining in the newspaper how Duluth’s hills and its proximity to Lake Superior, not to mention its drop in elevation from 1,400 feet above sea level to just 602 feet at the lake, made one prediction for the entire city an improbability. The building still stands today and serves as a private residence.

U. S. Weather Station. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

Subscribe to This Day in Duluth!