March 9: 1905: City announces new park along Tischer Creek

On this day in Duluth in 1905, the Duluth News Tribune announced the city was taking “first steps to acquire a new beauty spot for the city.” The spot was to be a public park stretching for a mile along either side of Tischer Creek between Greysolon Road and Colbyville Road, the western arm of Snively Road today. The new park was the recommendation of Luther Mendenhall, president of the Duluth Board of Park Commissioners. Plans were to “make a natural park of the new strip and improve it in a manner similar to Chester Park.” All the city needed was $5,000 to begin condemnation proceedings to acquire the land, just over $138,000 in today’s dollars. Shortly thereafter, Chester Congdon approached the park board with the idea of creating a smaller park along Tischer Creek from the border of his property Greysolon Road upstream to Vermilion Road. Congdon’s East Duluth Land Company already owned much of this land. Congdon offered to donate land and cover the cost of purchasing additional property for the park. Congdon’s offer was based on more than simple aesthetics. Tischer Creek served as a sewer for houses in the Woodland area, and its water was badly contaminated. The Duluth News Tribune referred to the stream as “the open sewer known as Tischer’s Creek.” Congdon wanted to use water from the creek for the extensive gardens he planned to establish at Glensheen, the house he was building near the mouth of the creek. His offer to create a park was contingent on the city taking action to redirect sewage into a holding tank. The park board officially accepted Congdon’s offer in August 1905. Read a more complete history of Congdon Park here.

A lithographic postcard showing Tischer Creek within Congdon Park, ca. 1910. (Image: Zenith City Press)