January 11, 1883: Birth of Clarence R. Magney 

On this day in in 1917, future Duluth mayor Clarence R. Magney was born to Swedish immigrants in Trenton, Wisconsin. According to historian Walter Van Brunt, Magney’s father, Rev. Jonas Magney, was “brought to America in 1858 by his parents, who located at Center City, Minnesota, on a farm. Jonas Magney prepared himself for the profession of the ministry in the Lutheran Church, and made that his life occupation. He was a church builder, organizer and preacher at many points in Wisconsin and Minnesota. He died in Minnesota in 1910.” Clarence Magney came to Duluth in 1908 after finishing Harvard law school and was quickly recognized for his sharp legal mind, which propelled him into the mayor’s office as the U.S. entered the war in Europe. Historians wrote that while in office, Magney “gave a vigorous administration of municipal affairs throughout the critical period of the war, and showed every qualification for heading the government of one of the best cities in the northwest.” Despite his success, Magney would not complete his term in office, resigning as mayor September 15, 1920, to run for District Court Judge. He won the election and remained a judge for decades, serving as associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court from 1943 to 1953. Magney is the namesake of two parks, Judge C. R. Magney State Park in Cook County, Minnesota, north of Grand Marais and Duluth’s Magney-Snively Park near Spirit Mountain, named for the judge and Sam Snively, Magney’s successor in the Mayor’s office. Learn much more about Magney here.

Clarence R. Magney. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

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