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,”.

January 29, 1918: Trial of “Rip-Saw” newspaper publisher postponed

On this day in Duluth in 1918, Duluth newspaper publisher John Morrison’s trial for trespassing and “conspiracy to subvert the public morals” was postponed for a week. Morrison and his newspaper, the Rip-Saw, were highly critical of Police Chief Robert McKercher. Morrison biographer Jon Ramos writes that Morrison had been arrested in the Spalding Hotel…

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January 28: 1889: Fire destroys Duluth’s Grand Opera House

On this day in Duluth in 1889, the Grand Opera House was destroyed by fire. At 1:45 a.m. Thomas Lannigan was passing the landmark 1883 building—four stories of light-colored brick and sandstone with terra cotta trim and a roof executed in four shades of purple the Duluth Daily News called “Duluth’s “Pride and Joy”—when he…

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January 27, 1908: Duluth woman deported for being sick and poor

On this day in Duluth in Duluth in 1908, nineteen-year-old Swedish immigrant Mertie Nelson was deported because she had contracted tuberculosis. She had arrived in Duluth months earlier in apparently perfect health to work as a domestic in the home of a family living in Duluth’s West End. The Duluth News Tribune described her plight:…

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January 26, 1955: Death of Duluth choral director Ann Colby Albright

On this day in Duluth in 1955, Ann Colby Albright—Duluth’s best-known and much-loved choral director—died at age 56. She was born Ann Colby in 1899 in Duluth to Charles and Laura Colby. Charles was born a slave in Lewisburg, Virginia, and eventually became a private chef for the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railroad. According to…

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January 25, 1985: Marjorie Caldwell enters prison in Shakopee

On this day in 1985, one-time Duluthian Marjorie Congdon Caldwell Hagen entered Minnesota’s Shakopee Women’s Prison to serve a 22-month sentence for arson. She had been convicted of torching the so-called “Cranberry House” in Mound, Minnesota, which she and her third husband Wally Hagen had owned. They were in the process of selling to another…

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January 23, 1970: Death of renowned local and state landscape architect Arthur Nichols

On this day in 1970, pioneer landscape architect Arthur Nichols—whose work can be seen today throughout Duluth—died in Minneapolis. Arthur Richardson Nichols was a native of Springfield, Massachusetts, and became the first person to earn a degree through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s landscape architecture program in 1902. He and Anthony Morell went to work…

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January 22, 1943: Fire guts the Duluth Athletic Club

On this day in Duluth in 1943, fire gutted the Duluth Athletic Club at 402 West Superior Street. The six-alarm fire was reported just before midnight, and fire-fighting efforts were hampered by winds and thick smoke, acrid enough that several of the 160 responding firefighters collapsed under its affects. Unable to reach the fire from…

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January 20: 1922: The funeral of Guilford Hartley

On this day in Duluth in 1922, Guilford G. Hartley was laid to rest at Forest Hill Cemetery following a simple service in his stately home at 1308 East Superior Street. His pall bearers included his brother Hebert, his sons Guilford Jr. and Cavour, and his sons-in law James Claypool, D. H. Lewis, and Walter…

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