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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,”.

November 27, 1886: Fire Destroys Grain Elevators A & Q

On this day in Duluth in 1886, fire destroyed Duluth’s first  grain elevator, Elevators A, located along the lake at the base of Third Avenue East, and the adjacent Elevator Q. Elevator A was built in 1869 by Jay Cooke’s Union Improvement and Elevator Company with wood purchased from Roger Munger’s sawmill on Lake Avenue.…

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November 26, 1843: The birth of Duluth pioneer George Spencer

On this day in 1843, future Duluthian George Spencer was born Westminster, Vermont. After attending high school in Boston, Spencer came to Duluth in 1870 to manage the Union Improvement Elevator Company. In 1880 he entered the grain shipping business with Melvin J. Forbes as Spencer & Co. In 1889, he and Forbes parted company…

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November 25, 1957: Death of Engineer Thomas McGilvray

On this day in Duluth in 1957, long-time Duluth City Engineer Thomas F. McGilvray—the man who first came up with the idea of an aerial bridge over the Duluth Ship Canal—died in his Third Street home at the age of 97.  He came to Duluth as an employee of the St. Paul & Duluth Railroad,…

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November 24, 1887: The Duluth National Bank moves into its new building

On this day in Duluth in 1887, the Duluth National Bank moved into its new building at 229–231 West Superior Street, essentially where the western portion of the Holiday Center stands today. Designed by renowned Duluth architect Oliver Traphagen, the massive brick six-story building was another fine example of the Romanesque Revival style, but it…

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November 23, 1927: Birth of artist Clifton Wayne Karhu

On this day in Duluth in 1927, artist Clifton Wayne Karhu was born to painters Arne and Annie Karhu of 1430 East Third Street. The Karhu family left Duluth about 1944 and moved to Worthington, Minnesota. Clifton attended the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and then served in the U.S. Army in Japan. He…

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November 21, 1924: The second wreck of the Interstate Bridge

On this day in Duluth in 1924, captain A. R. Morse accidentally steered the 600-foot, 8,000-ton steamer Merton E. Farr into the Interstate Bridge, the only non-railway bridge connecting Duluth and Superior at the time. Defective steering gear was blamed for the accident. The Farr was loaded with 430,000 bushels of flax, experienced only slight…

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November 20, 1906: New brewery announced for Duluth

On this day in Duluth in 1906, local newspapers reported that a new brewery would be constructed in West Duluth. The People’s Brewery was established by Duluthians Patrick Doran (president), Frank G. Sanstedt (vice president), J. B. Dunphy (secretary), Martin Smith (treasurer) and directors C. F. W. Korth, Mike Gleason, Thomas Doyle, and Charles M.…

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November 19, 1914: Three vessels wrecked on Lake Superior

On this day on Lake Superior in 1914, the steamer C. F. Curtis and two barges under her tow wrecked seven miles east of Grand Marais on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. On the 19th the Curtis was headed to Tonawanda, New York, towing the lumber barges Annie M. Peterson (formerly a three-masted schooner) and Seldon E.…

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