October 30, 1857: Birth of Townsend W. Hoopes Sr.

On this day in 1857, future Duluthian Townsend W. Hoopes was born in Pennsylvania. Hoopes spent his early adulthood trying his hand at farming. He settled in Duluth in  the early 1880s and established himself as a real estate developer and business pioneer. Working with the Duluth Street Railway Company, Hoopes helped plan and construct Duluth’s first street car line, a narrow-gauge line which eventually ran from Twenty-First Avenue West to Sixth Avenue East along Superior Street. The streetcar was drawn by a single horse. Hoopes would oversee the construction of the Fourth Street Line on behalf of the Motor Line Improvement Company in 1909. He and Luther Mendenhall then established a real estate and insurance company Mendenhall-Hoopes that would later be named the Hoopes-Kohagan Company, from which he retired in 1923. Hoopes belonged to the Duluth Boat Club, the Kitchi Gammi Club, and the Northland Country Club, which he helped organize. He also invested in several early Duluth businesses, including the Spalding Hotel, the Duluth Dry Goods Company, the Duluth Shoe Company, and Sagar Drug (which became Northern Drug). He married three times, was widowed twice. Townsend’s son and grandson were also named Townsend. Read about his home in Hunter’s Park here, more about his life here, and about the life of his remarkable grandson, who convinced Lyndon Johnson to scale down the Viet Nam War, here.

Townsend Hoopes Sr. and his first wife, Mayme, with their children in a gazebo on their Hunter’s Park estate. (Image: Duluth Public Library)