June 23, 1911: First Swedish-American Festival held at Lincoln Park 

On this day in Duluth in 1911, Lincoln Park hosted Duluth’s first Swedish-American Midsummer Festival, which became the park’s signature annual event. According to Duluth historian Nancy Nelson, “all the Swedish societies of the city joined together to create a celebration similar to the traditional Midsummer Fests they knew in Sweden. The News Tribune estimated that—despite the cold, windy weather—nearly 12,000 people attended the ‘greatest gathering of Swedish Americans ever held in Duluth and one of the largest of any kind.’ The festivities began with a parade that moved along Superior Street from Second Avenue East to Lincoln Park. Both the Marine Band and the Third Regiment Band provided music as members of the Order of Vasa and the Linnea Society marched between automobiles carrying the festival chairman, dignitaries including Mayor Marcus Cullum, and the ‘Midsummer bride.’ As paraders arrived for the festival they found that the ‘park and park buildings were bright with flags and bunting and brilliant with thousands of Japanese lanterns and colored electric lights at night, the Edison Electric Company installing the lights without charge. They were strung along the drives in profusion and outlined all of the buildings, even covering the tall Midsummer pole.’” Duluth’s Swedish-American Midsummer Festival took place annually at Lincoln Park until at least 1949 and usually drew 10,000 to 20,000 people. Learn more about Lincoln Park here.

A lithographic postcard of the Lincoln Park Pavilion made between 1901 and 1915—though the photograph may have been taken in the 1890s. (Image: Zenith City Press)

Subscribe to This Day in Duluth!

You cannot copy content of this page