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March 13, 1856: Birth Robert B. Whiteside

On this day in 1856, future Duluthian Robert B. Whiteside was born in Ontario, Canada. He was educated in public schools before going to work in lumber camps while still a boy. He arrived at the head of the Lakes in 1881, working as a foreman in a lumber camp on Northern Wisconsin’s Black River. In 1883 he traveled to the Vermilion Range to work as a timber cruiser, and there he met Captain James Harvey, who first discovered ore near what would become Ely—on land owned by Whiteside. Together they opened the Pioneer Mine and established the town of Ely. In 1877 he built Ely’s first hotel, the Pioneer. Later he was superintendent of the Knox Lumber Company in Winton, near Ely, and a partner in Duluth’s Zenith Dredge Company. In the 1890s he went out of his way to buy the first ticket to ride on the Duluth and Iron Range Railway. In Duluth he owned nearly all of Clough Island in the St. Louis River, which then became known as known as Whiteside Island. Read more about Mr. Whiteside here, in the Biography section of the Zenith City Press Archive.

Robert Whiteside. (Image: Duluth Public Library)