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January 9, 1917: Park Superintendent proposes “Old Settler’s Lodge”

On this day in Duluth in 1917, Park Superintendent Henry Cleveland proposed building an “Old Settlers’ Lodge” to act as a headquarters for the Old Settlers’ Association of the Head of Lake Superior and “a museum for the preservation of historical writings, reminiscences and relics pertaining to the settlement of this portion of the northwest, especially St. Louis County.” The Old Settler’s Association, made up of many of those who came to the region roughly between 1856 and 1873, was established February 13, 1886. Appropriately enough, George Stuntzwho had lived on Minnesota Point even before the Treaty of 1854 allowed settlement on the Minnesota side of Lake Superior—was elected as its first chairman. Cleveland suggested that the lodge be built on “the 20 acres crowning the bold heights of the peninsula of land between Thirteenth and Seventeenth Avenues West above Fifth Street, now encircled by the boulevard, just west of the Twin lakes.” He also suggested building “a generous sized bungalow, constructed from the native rock on this land, with broad porches on all sides.” The News Tribune loved the idea, praising it in an editorial the next day and suggesting the lodge be named “Rogers Lodge” and the land “Rogers Park” after William K. Rogers, who had first developed the idea for today’s Skyline Parkway—then known as Rogers Boulevard. Despite this support, it was never built. That land—then part of undeveloped Zenith Park—became Enger Park in the 1930s. In 1939 the city erected a tower constructed from the native rock of the park; it honored not an old settler but an old immigrant from Norway, Bert Enger, who donated the land for the park as well as the adjacent Enger Park Golf Course.

Captain Henry “Gramp” Cleveland. (Image: University of Minnesota Duluth Kathryn A. Martin Library Archives and Special Collections)