Richard Leslie Griggs

Another businessman who included banking among his many activities was Richard Leslie Griggs.  He bought the Lyman House at 2502 East Second Street and lived there with his wife Neva from 1916 to 1984.  Griggs, the son of a banker, moved to Virginia, Minnesota with his family at age 8 and after graduating from the University of Minnesota began his entrepreneurial activities in that town with the purchase of the electric utility there together with his brother.  Selling the utility to the City of Virginia in 1914 for twice what they paid, he had the money to invest in the Northern National Bank of Duluth (now US Bank) in 1917.  From there he went on to an ever-widening sphere of activity which included iron ore mining, Ford automobile dealerships, real estate and insurance, serving as a director for Arco Coffee Co., Minnesota Power & Light Co. the Hotel Duluth Co. and the Merritt Chapman Scott Co. of New York (at the time the country’s largest salvage company) and, most significantly, founding of Greyhound Lines, an legacy that positively affected the growth of the entire region, and which had a national impact in the area of transportation.  He also served on the University of Minnesota Board of Regents 1939 –1963.

In 1984 Elmer Andersen, a former Governor of Minnesota at the time, wrote about Griggs and his accomplishments in his syndicated column:

Last Thursday I sat at the Duluth bedside of Richard L. Griggs, one of Minnesota’s most interesting and productive citizens.  He is now 97… Probably more than any one person, Dick Griggs was responsible for the development of the University of Minnesota Duluth campus into what it is today.  He was involved when the old Duluth State Teachers College was made a part of the university and immediately set to work to get a new campus.  He offered the University 160 acres and it was accepted…I shook his hand and left knowing I had been with one of Minnesota’s historic persons.  His life has made a difference.

Griggs’s significance is further confirmed by his inclusion in the 1978-79 Edition of Who’s Who in America.

Sources:

  • Larson, Jill. Intensive Survey of Historic Resources in Duluth’s East End (Part 1). City of Duluth, Duluth Heritage Preservation Commission, Duluth, Minn.: August 2007.
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