July 17, 1883: Mayor Culver dies in office—but not in Duluth

On this day in Duluth in 1883, Duluth Mayor Joshua B. Culver died while visiting Buffalo, New York. Culver had first come to Duluth in the 1850s before leaving to fight for the Union in the American Civil War, where he rose to the rank of full colonel. He returned to Duluth and became a civic leader, elected as Duluth’s first mayor after the community initially became a city in 1870. Reporting on his death, R. C. Mitchell of the Duluth Tribune—once considered a “bitter political opponent of Colonel Culver”—wrote, “Mayor Culver died suddenly at 2 o’clock, p.m., July 17, 1883, at Buffalo, New York. Death came unannounced, and while he was in apparent strength. The telegraph brought the sad notice soon after, and there was mourning, deep pervading and bitter, all up and down the town. All exciting differences and contentions, all idle talk and vaporous discussions, and running to and fro, quieted into subdued bewailing, and even business itself assumed a mournful refrain, and drooped as if in sorrow. The village joined in mourning with one accord. Flags were hung at half-mast in town and harbor, and symbols of bereavement were hung in many places. A good man was dead, a man whom the town had chosen to be its chief and executive. A worthy man, a man whom all could honor, and did. Mayor, citizen, neighbor, and friend was dead. Truly, it was an hour for mourning.” Read more about Colonel Culver here.

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