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,”.

December 2, 1880: Birth of Duluth architect Clyde Wetmore Kelly

On this day in 1880, future Duluthian Clyde Wetmore Kelly was born in Chicago. His family then moved to St. Paul, where he spent most of his childhood. He first studied architecture working as a draftsman for the treasury department’s supervising architect in Washington, DC, while taking night classes at George Washington University. He worked…

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November 30, 1915: Pussyfoot Johnson arrives to clean up Hibbing

On this day in Duluth in 1915, prohibitionist William E. “Pussyfoot” Johnson arrived in the Zenith City to take part in police raids of saloons in Hibbing and Chisholm. Johnson was a former law enforcement officer and journalist who became a highly controversial figure in the temperance movement that led to Prohibition, admitting to drinking…

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November 28 , 1905: The Mataafa Storm

On this day on Lake Superior in 1905, a great storm began, known to many as the “Thanksgiving Storm” and, more often, the “Mataafa Storm.” The storm produced hurricane-force winds, and the water on Lake Superior’s western end was so high it drove through Minnesota Point at a spot known as “the barrens” hard enough…

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November 27, 1903: The birth of Johnny “Blood” McNally

On this day in 1903, Johnny “Blood” McNally—star of the NFL’s Duluth Eskimos and Green Bay Packers—was born in New Richmond, Wisconsin. The real name of the hard-playing, hard-drinking, future NFL hall-of-famer was John Victor McNally. He “would have made Brett Favre seem like an introverted librarian,” as Doug Moe of the Madison, Wisconsin, Capital…

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November 26, 1888: Opening of Oneota School

On this day in Duluth in 1888, the second Oneota Elementary School opened at 4420 West First Street. Designed by renowned architect Oliver Traphagen, the school was a three-story Romanesque Revival–style building constructed of red brick featuring a tall square tower and a smaller round tower, both topped with iron finials. The school had six…

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November 25, 1870: Pioneers establish Duluth’s volunteer fired department 

On this day in Duluth in 1870, Duluth Hose Company No. 1—the foundation of what would become today’s Duluth Fire Department—was first organized. Foreman E. M. Bloomer, assistant foreman T. H. Pressnell, secretary A. S. Chase, steward James Farrell, and vigilance committee members E. M. Bloomer, L. H. Tenney, and George Spencer led the group,…

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November 24, 1859: Birth of Samuel Frisby Snively

On this day in 1859, future Duluthian—and the Zenith City’s longest-serving mayor—Samuel Frisby Snively was born near the town of Greencastle in Pennsylvania. He arrived in Duluth in 1886 to start his career as an attorney. A civic leader, Snively famously built Seven Bridges Road and, as mayor from 1921 to 1939, spearheaded efforts to…

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