March 3, 1921: City Council passes ordinance to buy “most desirable piece of park property in the western part of the city”

On this day in Duluth in 1921, the Duluth City Council passed an ordinance at a special session in order to purchase the “most desirable piece of park property in the western part of the city.” Part of the property was to be used for the western extension of the Boulevard, known as Skyline Parkway today. In May 1921, Mayor Sam Snively completed the purchase of 330 acres surrounding a high rocky outcrop overlooking Morgan Park, Smithville, Gary, and New Duluth. The natural landmark was known as Bardon’s Peak for Superior, Wisconsin, pioneer James Bardon, who once owned the land. Snively named the new park land after his friend, former mayor Clarence Magney in recognition of his contributions to the Duluth park system, and went to work building the road. Bardon’s Peak Boulevard, which Snively opened to traffic in 1925, included an impressive overlook at Bardon’s Peak with dramatic views of Lake Superior and the St. Louis River estuary. The overlook was outlined by a rough stone wall built of the same type of local rock as the picturesque bridge over Stewart Creek. The park property is now a large portion of Magney-Snively Park. Read more about the history of Magney-Snively Park and all of Duluth’s undeveloped parks here.

The view from Bardon’s Peak in Magney Park, 1932. Photo by F. R. Paine. (Image: University of Minnesota Duluth Kathryn A. Martin Library Archives and Special Collections)