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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,”.

June 6, 1920: Assistant Fire Chief Wilson Killed

On this day in Duluth in 1920, Assistant Chief Charles W. Wilson, 51, was killed and firefighter Otto Kalkbrenner was injured in a tragic accident on the way to a fire. According to Duluth Fired Department historian Jarry Keppers, Wilson, 51, was “driving about 30 or 40 miles per hour to a fire at the…

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June 5, 1918: Reverend Billy Sunday Wows the Duluth Commercial Club

On this day in Duluth in 1918, famed professional-baseball-player-turned-Christian evangelist Billy Sunday spoke at the Duluth Commercial Club, as the Duluth News Tribune put it, “Annihilating the Hun with shell fire of adjectives” that included “wiener-eating.” Sunday and his wife ell (aka “Ma Sunday”) were spending time in Duluth, trying to gain support for the…

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June 4, 1917: The Darling Observatory Opens

On this day in Duluth in 1917, the Darling Observatory opened at 910 West 3rd Street. John H. Darling retired as an engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers in 1913and turned his full attention to his hobby: astronomy. In 1917 he privately funded the Darling Observatory atop Duluth’s Point of Rocks, roughly 325 feet…

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June 3, 1896: Harbors of Duluth & Superior Unified

On this day in Washington, DC, in 1896, an act of Congress declared that “the harbors of Duluth and Superior [are] unified.” It was the culmination of fifteen years of planning for improvements to the canal and harbor: the old fourteen-foot channel wasn’t up to par, not since the locks at Sault Ste. Marie (or…

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June 2, 1940: Death of attorney John Jenswold

On this day in Duluth in 1940, Duluth attorney and civic leader John Jenswold died at 83 years old. Born to Norwegian immigrants in 1857 in Albany, Wisconsin, Jenswold was the eldest of eight children. His family relocated to a farm in northwestern Iowa in 1865, with eight-year-old John driving the family’s team of oxen.…

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June 1, 1910: St. Louis County holds open house at new courthouse

On this day in Duluth in 1910, St. Louis County Officials threw open the doors of the brand new County Courthouse, the first building in what would become Duluth’s Civic Center. The country had delayed a public open house for the building after it first opened in the fall of 1909, but they did have…

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May 31, 1996: Death of Superior’s Dan Morgan

On this day in 1996, Superior native Dan Morgan died of cardio-respiratory complications of mitral valvular disease. Morgan pitched for Superior’s high school baseball team, using a submarine style that baffled hitters. In his senior year, Morgan allowed just 16 hits all year and threw two no-hitters. From 1972 to 1974 he posted a combined…

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May 29, 1836: Birth of Mary Wright Ely

On this day in what would become Duluth in 1836, Mary Wright Ely—said to be the “first white child of English-speaking parents born at Fond du Lac”—was born to Reverend Edmund and Catherine Goulais (Bissel) Ely. Ely’s recorded the event in his diary: “This has been a day of deep interest and anxiety in the…

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May 28, 1944: Ore Docks Set Loading Records

On this day in Duluth and Two Harbors in 1944, ore dock workers began a flurry of work that would set records for loading tonnage. Ore demand increased dramatically during World War II, and in 1944 the DM&IR docks in Duluth and Two Harbors broke loading records three times. The docks set a forty-eight hour…

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