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,”.

May 6, 1864: Birth of Duluth Fire Department Chief Joseph Randall

On this day in 1864, Duluth Fire Chief Joseph Randall was born in Ontario, Canada. He arrived in Duluth in 1883, first working in a livery stable and then driving a horse-drawn streetcar. In 1886, when the all-volunteer Duluth Fire Department added some paid positions, he took a job as pipeman—the firefighter controlling the hose…

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May 5, 1905: Ground broken for the building of Glensheen

On this day in Duluth in 1905, ground was broken to build an estate at 3300 London Road, where Tischer Creek empties into Lake Superior, commissioned by Clara and Chester Congdon. Their home would be called “Glensheen,” reportedly after Chester’s ancestral village of Sheen in Surrey, England or—as one family story goes—for the way the…

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May 4, 1912: Buckingham Creek floods, causing major damage

On this day in Duluth in 1912, heavy rains during a morning storm caused Buckingham Creek to overflow, causing an estimated $15,000 in damages, about $340,000 today. The creek, which in part runs through a culvert on Twelfth Avenue West, overflowed its banks. Basements were flooded in the Glen, aka Little Italy (the area surrounding…

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May 3, 1905: The wreck of the Hesper

On this day in 1905 the 250-foot steamer Hesper was headed to Duluth when her captain, E. H. Heaton, apparently drew her too close to the North Shore near Beaver Bay. The vessel became caught in the breakers and washed up over a reef. Caught between the reef and the shore, the Hesper was pounded…

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May 2, 1937: Birth of Duluth TV writer and voice artist Lorenzo Music

 On this day in 1937, future Duluthian Gerald David Music was born in Brooklyn, New York. He moved here with his parents in 1943 when his father Harry took a job across the bay at Superior’s Butler Shipyards. “Jerry” attended Duluth Central High School and UMD, studying speech and English and performing in theater productions.…

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April 30, 1913: Patrolman discharged after caught drinking

On this day in Duluth in 1913, Duluth Police patrolman Wilfred Grandmaison was asked to “hand in his star and club” for drinking on the job. The previous January, Grandmaison made the newspapers when he was admitted to St. Mary’s Hospital to battle an “acute attack of inflammatory rheumatism. That story claimed that Grandmaison was…

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April 29, 1911: Last service at the 1889 Duluth Bethel Building

On this day in Duluth in 1911, officials conducted the last service in the 1889 Duluth Bethel Building at 246 Lake Avenue South before it relocated to its new building at 23 Mesaba Avenue. The Bethel was established by Reverend C. C. Salter in 1873 but it didn’t have a permanent home until 1889. Bethel…

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April 28, 1914: Benjamin Noble shipwreck claims the lives of 19 sailors

On this day in 1914, the steamer Benjamin Noble disappeared on her way to Duluth, and nineteen men including Captain John Eisenhardt went down with her wreckage. That day brought a spring storm carried on winds of fifty miles an hour, and several other vessels struggled to make their way through the Duluth Ship Canal,…

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