This Day in Duluth Archive

Use our search function to find “This Day” entries for a specific day of the year. Spell out the month and include a comma after the date numeral, do not include a year, and place it all within quotation marks, like this: “May 1,”.

May 16, 1996: Demolition of Duluth’s St. Jean-Baptiste Church

On this day in Duluth in 1996, Letourneau & Sons Contractors began tearing down the 1904 St. Jean Baptiste Catholic Church at 2432 West 3rd Street. Built by Duluth’s French-speaking Catholics, the two-story red brick church employed an unusual design, with its school on first floor and church on second. The front gable’s tall triple-arched…

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May 15, 2007: Death of Duluth songwriter Ira Cook

On this day in 2007 Duluth songwriter and radio show host Ira Cook Ira died in California at the age of ninety. Cook was born in Duluth in 1916 and in 1934 graduated Duluth Central High School, where he had been active with the yearbook, the school newspaper, and the class play; he also ran…

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May 14, 1921: Snively purchases 330 acres, including Bardon’s Peak

On the day in Duluth in 1921, Mayor Sam Snively spent $37,000 to purchase 330 acres of undeveloped property—including Bardon’s peak—for Duluth’s park system. Snively had been mayor for just a few weeks, when he made the purchase. Shortly after his election, Snively announced his vision to make Duluth the most beautiful city in the…

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May 13, 1968: Fire Destroys Duluth’s Curtis Hotel

On this day in Duluth in 1968, a fire in the building at 212–214 West Superior Street destroyed the entire structure, home to the Curtis Hotel, A & E Supply Company, and Musicland Record Shop. The building was completed gutted by flames which broke out in the basement of A & E Supply at about…

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May 12, 1975: Marjorie Congdon LeRoy’s home destroyed by fire

On this day in 1975, Duluth native Marjorie Congdon LeRoy’s house at Marine-On-St. Croix, Minnesota, was destroyed by fire. The house, which she called “Homestead,” was extravagantly furnished inside and out. The lawn’s sprinkler heads were little statues of squirrels and rabbits made in Italy, and the trees held music speakers disguised as bird houses.…

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May 11, 1928: Explosion in Woodland kills two

On this day in Duluth in 1928, an explosion of fireworks in the Woodland neighborhood killed 19-year old John Erikson and severely injured Everett Campbell, who owned the illegal fireworks factory where Erikson was employed. According to Heidi Bakk-Hansen, “This was no minor explosion. The mushroom cloud could be seen in downtown Duluth, and those…

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May 9, 1911: Death of Pioneer Ernie Jefferson

On this Day in 1911, pioneer Ernie Jefferson died at his summer home on Bay Lake near Deerwood, Minnesota. Jefferson, namesake of Duluth’s Jefferson Street, came to Duluth in 1869. During the Civil War he had fought for the famous First Minnesota Infantry Regiment, which lead the charge on Cemetery Ridge during the Battle Of…

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May 8, 1925: Hotel Duluth officially opens for guests

On this day in Duluth in 1925, the Hotel Duluth at  219–231 East Superior Street opened to receive guests for the very first time. George H. Crosby, called “the father of the Hotel Duluth,” was the first to sign the register, followed by builder Walter Schroeder and architect H. W. Tullgren. Dinner parties were held…

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May 7, 1988: Lakeside Bridgeman’s destroyed by fire

On this day in Duluth in 1988, the Bridgeman’s Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor at 4701 East Superior Street was destroyed by fire. According to Duluth Fire Department historian Jerry Keppers, the fire was discovered by employees of nearby Sammy’s Pizza at 10:30 p.m., 30 minutes after the restaurant closed. Fortunately, the restaurant and two…

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