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 9, 1901: The wreck of the Bon Voyage

On this day in 1901, the White Line transportation company’s steamer Bon Voyage did not have a very bon voyage. The steamer left Duluth heading for Michigan’s copper country but never made it to Houghton—and neither did five of her passengers. Six miles outside the Portage Ship Canal (aka the Portage Waterway or Keweena Waterway),…

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May 8, 1943: The “Dionne Quints” launch five ships

On this day across the bay in 1943, Superiorites and Duluthians came together to watch Canada’s famed “Dione Quints” ceremoniously launch five ships in the Hughitt slip of the Butler Shipyards as part of the allied war effort. The launch made history, as no other shipyard had never before launched five vessels on the same…

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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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