On this day in 1930, Time magazine hit the news stands with a cover featuring the portrait of Duluth’s Julian H. Barnes. The magazine’s feature article concerned business in Washington, and at the time Barnes was the President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Barnes was best known in Duluth as the man who almost single-handedly financed the Duluth Boat Club which, due Barnes’ passion for the sport, became the home of national rowing champions that dominated the sport during its heyday (today, the sports’ national champions receive the Barnes Trophy). Barnes was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and came to Duluth with his parents in 1883. At 13, Barnes went to work for Ward Ames in the grain trade; he later partnered with Ames and together they made a fortune. During World War I Barnes acted as President of the U.S. Food Administration’s Grain Corporation and afterwards increased his fortune as a partner with New York’s J. Henry Schroeder Banking Corporation. In 1922 Barnes became the president of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce. He left the grain business in 1929, but maintained his interest in the dormant McDougall-Duluth Shipyard in Duluth’s Riverside, which he reopened as the Barnes-Duluth Shipyard during Word War II. In Duluth, he and Ames paid for most of the construction on Duluth’s downtown Y.M.C.A. and Y.W.C.A. facilities as well as the Barnes-Ames Building. His fellow Duluthians named Barnes “First Citizen of Duluth” in 1930 after he donated $76,000 to complete the conversion of the Aerial Transfer Bridge into the Aerial Lift Bridge. After his wife Harriet died in 1957 he sold his grand home and moved into the Holland Hotel in Duluth’s “Bowery” where he died in 1959. By the way, that edition of Time did not contain a profile of Barnes. It did run a small piece about the Chamber of Commerce holding its 18th Annual Meeting. Barnes was not mentioned.
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