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,”.

October 15, 1921: Dedication of Duluth’s Jay Cooke statue

On this day in Duluth in 1921, a statue of Jay Cooke—the man who had “resurrected the lifeless corpse of Duluth” in the late 1860s—was dedicated on the 100th anniversary of Cooke’s birth. The statue was the idea and gift of J. Horace Harding—Cooke’s business associate, son-in-law, and the executor of his will—who first suggested…

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October 13, 1877: Chester Congdon becomes an attorney

On this day in 1877, future Duluth attorney Chester Adgate Congdon was admitted to the bar of the state of New York, which allowed him to practice law in the state. Congdon graduated Syracuse University in 1875, as did Clara Hesperia Bannister, whom he would marry in 1881. He had returned New York to take…

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October 12, 1962: Duluth celebrates “Robert Gilruth Day”

This day in Duluth in 1962 was declared “Robert Gilruth Day” to honor its native son, who had become a pioneer in manned space flight. According to biographer David Ouse, In 1936 Gilruth went to work as a flight research engineer for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the predecessor of NASA. When NASA was…

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October 11 , 1897: Death of former Duluth mayor Vespasian Smith

On this day in Duluth in 1897, former Zenith City mayor Vespasian Smith died at the home of his son, Frank B. Smith. Born in Ohio in 1818, Smith first came to the Head of the Lakes in the 1850s, settling in Superior before moving to Bayfield, Wisconsin, along Lake Superior’s South Shore to work…

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October 8, 1927: City officials announce plans to eliminate Point of Rocks

On this day in Duluth in 1927, three of the city’s five commissioners announced plans to remove Point of Rocks, described by the Duluth News Tribune as “the barrier leading to the western section of the city.” In a joint statement, commissioners W. S. McCormick, James E. Foubister, and Chris Evans explained that the effort…

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October 7, 1941: Duluth Police Department abandons its headquarters

On this day in Duluth in 1941, the Duluth Police Department abandoned its headquarters and jail at 126 East Superior Street and moved into a new facility within Duluth’s 1928 City Hall in the Duluth Civic Center. Duluth Police had occupied the old building since it first moved in on January 1, 1891. The building,…

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October 6, 1977: Death of Duluth screenwriter Wellyn Totman

On this day in 2007, screenwriter and Duluth native Wellyn Totman died in Los Angeles. According to biographer David Ouse, “Totman was born on August 3, 1903, in Duluth, to Edward and Nellie Totman. They named him Edward Llewellyn Totman after his father and grandfather. Known as Llewellyn, the boy attended Washburn Elementary School and…

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