January 7, 1906: First Duluth Ski Club event at “Duluth Hill”—in Woodland

On this day in Duluth in 1906, 300 people gathered to witness the first event held by the Duluth Ski Club: a ski jumping exhibition on their brand new jump, named “Duluth Hill.” Forty-five Duluthians first organized the club at the St. Louis Hotel on November 21, 1905. Club founders—including noted Duluth architect John J. Wangenstein—consisted of almost exclusively of Norwegian immigrants, most notably legendary jumpers Ole Feiring and John Mangseth. Mangseth would be named the club’s first captain; I. A. Iverson served as its first president. The club’s first order of business was to acquire a ski hill. Iverson and company chose a spot in Hunter’s Park behind the newly built Washburn School on St. Andrews Street. The site promised an approach of 300 feet with a minimum jump of 100 feet. The jump would become known simply as Duluth Hill. John Mangseth and four others had tested the hill on December 18, 1905, with the team captain jumping 75 feet. During that first event on January 7, 1906, at least one jumper soared 96 feet, just four feet shy of the distance promised by organizers. Read much more about the history of the Duluth Ski Club here.

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