Welcome to a new day in the Zenith City!


You’ve no-doubt noticed the website looks quite different today. But you may not have noticed that for the past few years webmeister Dan Turner has essentially been keeping Zenith City Online online with the digital equivalent of duct tape and chewing gum. And now Dan is heading to Northwestern University to get his Ph.D. in linguistics, so he can’t go on fixing the site every few days.

So we decided to rebuild the website—from the ground up. Along the way we redesigned how we celebrate historic Duluth and Western Lake Superior so we could deliver more history every day.

You’ll find your daily This Day in Duluth right at the top of the home page—and now you can read the whole story without clicking off the page. I have completed 730 This Day stories (two years worth!) but some of you have read them each twice. So starting today I will be working on a new batch of 365 more (and we’ll load each month’s previous posts to the “This Day” archive as we go).

Right next to This Day you’ll find our News & Events post, which you are reading right now. This will be used to announce book- and history-related events, when we’ve added a new story to the archive, and other items related to regional history.

Below the This Day and News & Events posts you’ll find a consolidated and reorganized Zenith City Press Archive. The archive now only delivers stories straight out of Zenith City Press books or those written by Zenith City Online contributors—and each time you visit the home page it loads a random selection from the archive. We have 750 stories in eight categories, so you could visit once a day for over two years and not read the same story twice (and that doesn’t include the This Day stories).

Some pieces didn’t make the conversion. We’ve omitted articles that came from other books, such as entries from 1910 and 1922 histories of Duluth & St. Louis County. But we’ve included access to digital, searchable versions of those books and added access to other digital regional history resources as well.

Nearly all of the stories created for Zenith City Online made the conversion, with two exceptions. Anthony Bush’s historic professional baseball and high school basketball stories are moving to his own site, which will cover the history of local sports (we’ll let you know when it goes live) and Jim Heffernan is republishing all forty of his Zenith City stories about growing up in the West End on his blog, here. Unfortunately we were not able to migrate reader comments to the new site. Comments on the new site will be limited to News & Events posts to make things easier to moderate. You can visit our Facebook page to leave comments or ask questions about that day’s This Day post.

Finally, you’ll find the Zenith City Press Bookstore on the home page as well, right below the archive. Clicking a book’s cover takes you to a page where you can preview (and yes, purchase!) the book.

Here’s what you won’t find: ads. Selling ads kept us from doing what we do best: making books. So if you appreciate what we do and want to support us, it’s simple: buy a book or two by Zenith City Press, either online (preferably direct from us!) or from one of the many retailers in Duluth and elsewhere who support us by selling our books.

Speaking of books, we currently have several in the hopper. Duluth’s Historic Parks releases next week and Naturally Brewed Naturally Better: The Historic Breweries of Duluth & Superior, is currently in the writing stage. Jeff Lemke is pulling together a Twin Ports Rail History book, and Maryanne Norton and I are still slowly working away at Duluth’s Grand Old Buildings. Meanwhile, Heidi Bakk-Hansen hasn’t stopped working on the two books she is preparing for Zenith City Press. Stay tuned!

I hope you enjoy this new format. Thank you, Dan Turner, for all your hard work keeping us online. And thanks to the many readers who have offered us kind words of support since we started this in May 2012 and those who helped us spread the word about our book events. With your ongoing support we will continue celebrating historic Duluth and Western Lake Superior by writing more stories and making more books.

— Tony Dierckins, Publisher

p.s.
This Wednesday is the first Zenith City on Tap at Glensheen for 2017. I’ll be presenting on the life of the Aerial Transfer Bridge. This is a free event, with beer and wine available. Look for a post Tuesday morning with more details.

4 Comments

  1. Bill Zbaracki on May 6, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    I’ve always enjoyed your website, especially all the links to the different stories, along with the related links in the articles. The best thing you offered was all the great historic pictures, and since they where digitally available, you could zoom in to get more detail. This led me back to your website often, and since I was inspired by your content, I have purchased a number of books listed on your site.

    This new format, however, appears to be a step backwards. Your website indicates you will no longer be an image gathering service, which is dissapointing. Please reconsider your output. Get back to the current technology, and don’t let the history of Duluth and the northern area disappear from next generations. I personally would like to continue showing the history of my hometown to my children, and one day, my grandchildren, and a perfect place to show this was from your old site.

    • Tony Dierckins on May 6, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      Hi Bill—thanks for the note. We have not stopped or slowed any of our efforts to celebrate historic Duluth and Western Lake Superior and we continue to seek out historic images as we research and write our books. The new format is just that–a format. All of the stories from our books and writers are still on the site and the new format makes it easier to access that information. I think you may have misread a statement describing our services: What we no longer offer is a fee-based service for finding historic images for other individuals or organizations to use in their own projects. Please keep in mind that we are a very small publishing house, not a municipally funded historical society or university-sponsored image archive. And if you are looking for fantastic photos of historic Duluth that you can zoom in on in much greater detail than anything you’ll find on our site, visit http://reflections.mndigital.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/nemhc and here http://reflections.mndigital.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/p16022coll6. This is where many of the photos we share with you come from.

  2. Shari Carlson on June 21, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Hello, I am writing to see if someone could explain why I am unable to find the history article on the deaths of the three circus workers that was published on June 16th. I have looked several times and can not locate the article. I have heard rumors and bits of the incident and would really appreciate an accurate accounting by The Zenith City Press.
    Thank you, Shari Carlson

    • Tony Dierckins on June 21, 2017 at 11:07 am

      Hi Shari:

      Our daily email link always takes you to the current “This Day in Duluth” entry. The one you are seeking is from a previous day. To find that story, note the date and then just look in the searchable “This Day” archive—HERE—for past entries you may have missed. You can also search that database by date.

      Or you could use the search function—found at the top and bottom of each page—to search for stories or topics throughout the entire site. We also have an archive containing over 1,000 stories organized in eight categories, which you can find on the home page right below the daily “This Day in Duluth.” The archive is searchable as well.

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