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 30, 1912: A cold, dark, dry day in the county court house and jail

On this day in Duluth in 1912, the Duluth News Tribune poetically reported that “anyone looking in the [former] courthouse or the county jail late yesterday afternoon would have seen spectral figures carrying lighted candles held aloft and throwing dark shadows on the walls and ceilings. Through long corridors and up winding stairways the little…

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December 29, 2003: Superior’s Save Central Committee gives up the fight

On this day across the bay in 2003, the Save Central Committee—created to stop the demolition of historic Superior Central High School—sent a letter to Superior’s All Class Reunion Committee informing them that the organization was “ending its quest to save the school.” The school famously acted as the “Summer White House” for Calvin Coolidge…

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December 28, 1917: Duluth’s coldest December day on record 

On this day in Duluth in 1917, temperatures dropped to 35 degrees below zero, setting a record for the coldest temperature in December since Duluth temperatures were first officially recorded in 1871. The record low temp was taken at 7 a.m.—one degree colder than the previous record, set on Christmas Day in 1879. The severe…

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December 26, 1856: Birth of Duluthian Jed Washburn

On this day in 1856, future Duluthian Jed L. Washburn was born in Montgomery County, Indiana. Washburn grew up in southern Minnesota and practiced law in Mankato where he married Alma Pattee, a prominent figure in education and charity work throughout the state. In 1889 the couple moved to Duluth, where he continued to practice…

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December 24, 1894: Whiteman house burns to the ground

On this day in Duluth in 1894, the home of former Duluth senator Alanzo J. Whiteman was destroyed by fire. The Shingle-style mansion at 2732 London Road was rather isolated at the time, and when fire alarms that first went off at 11:30 p.m. they echoed off Lake Superior, confusing firefighters. The lake also caused…

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December 23, 1892: Fire Destroys both Fargusson buildings

On this day in Duluth in 1892, fire destroyed both the 1883 Fargusson Block and the 1886 Fargusson Blocks, located next to each other from 402–408 West Superior Street. At two p.m. an explosion occurred in the basement of Chapin-Wells Hardware, located in the 1883 building. Black smoke funneled up the elevator shaft and filled…

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December 22, 1966: Death of Duluth author Hickman Powell

On this day in 1966, writer and Duluth native Hickman Powell died in New Jersey. Powell was born in the Zenith City on November 27, 1900, to Roger and Rina Powell. He graduated Central High and went on to the University of Wisconsin. In 1923 he was back in Duluth working as a copy editor…

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December 21, 1893: West Duluth city officials meet for last time

On this day in West Duluth in 1893, officials gathered at the West Duluth Village Hall for the last regular meeting of the city of West Duluth, as it would be annexed by Duluth on January 1, 1894. The business discussed, the newspaper reported, was “for the greater part of minor importance, but councilors did…

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