July 18, 1990: New Duluth Fire Station #8 opens City Center West

On this day in Duluth in 1990, a brand new Fire Station #8 opened at the brand new City Center West at 59th Avenue West and Grand Avenue in West Duluth. The new facility replaced the former Station #8, built in 1916 at 601 North Central Avenue as the West Duluth Municipal Building. According to Duluth Fire Department historian Jerry Keppers, the new building was much more than a fire house, as it was designed to “house a new 5,546 square foot municipal library, a 3,835 square foot senior citizen center, and a new two-bay 6,573 square foot fire station…. The building cost $1.7 million, financed by the city, state, community development funds and fund-raising efforts.” July 18 is a red-letter day in the history of the Duluth Fire Department. Besides the 1990 facility’s opening, that date also marks the death of 1933 Fire Chief Sievert H. Hansen in 1933. Hansen, who died of kidney failure, had been a member of the force for 27 years and chief for six. His appointment to chief had been controversial, as Hansen was a prominent member of the local Ku Klux Klan. July 18 is also the anniversary of the 1984 fire at the Kolar Buick-Toyota car dealership at 1402 East Superior Street. More than 30 firefighters responded to the blaze, which included several explosions as fire reached the gasoline within automobiles. The fire caused $1.2 million in damages—about $2.8 million in today’s dollars.

the West Duluth City Center. (Image: Google Maps)