Roland Dorwin Haven

Roland B. Haven caricatured by the Duluth News Tribune. (Image: Zenith City)

Roland Dorwin Haven, ex-mayor of Duluth, is the son of a typical New England pioneer, John S., and Celestia (Arnold) Haven, both natives of the Green Mountain state, where their son, Roland D., was born at Sudbury, Rutland county, on October 17, 1866. William C. Haven, his grandfather, was born in Connecticut and learned the cooper’s trade and carried on his trade in connection with farming at Sudbury, Vt., for years. He lived to be more than four score years old, and his wife, whose maiden name was also Haven, though not a relative of his family, also lived to a good old age. Their son John, father of Roland D., learned the cooper’s trade from his father, but did more carpenter work in connection with his farming. He was an accomplished musician and played the bass viol in one of the leading string bands of the state. He died at the early age of 45. His wife was Celestia Arnold, the daughter of a farmer of Benson, Vt., where she was born and who is still living at Hortonville, Rutland county, Vt.

Roland D. Haven, after finishing his education in the public schools, learned the carpenter’s trade, and in 1883 he moved to Northfield, Minn., where he worked at that business for three or four years, and then spent two years in a sash and door factory in St. Paul and eighteen months in Minneapolis. In 1889 he came to Duluth and found employment in a similar factory, of which he in time became foreman. He proved his worth as an executive officer, and on January 1, 1894, he went to Watertown, Iowa, to become superintendent of the Cedar Valley Manufacturing Company, where he spent three seasons, all the time, however, retaining his residence in Duluth. In March, 1897, he became dispatcher and bookkeeper for the Stevens Tug Company, continuing with that concern until January 1, 1902, when he entered into the real estate business and met with considerable success in his dealings. Since 1903 he has been superintendent of the La Dow Implement Company, a growing industry which was started about that time.

Mr. Haven is an earnest Republican, and for many years has been an active worker for the party. He was elected to the city council from the Seventh ward in the spring of 1900, and reelected two years later. He took a prominent part in promoting the adoption of the new city charter and the purchase of the West Duluth water plant. He was unanimously elected president of the council both terms, though politically that body was evenly divided. In 1902, during the congressional campaign, he was secretary of the congressional district committee, and took a very active part in the nomination and election of Hon. J. Adam Bede. In 1908 he was elected mayor of Duluth on the Republican ticket.

May 2, 1893, Mr. Haven was married to Miss Belle Hopkins, daughter of Albert and Sarah Hopkins, of Duluth. Mrs. Haven was born in Vermontville, Mich., and there received her public school education. She is an active member and worker of Grace Methodist-Episcopal church. Mr. Haven since 1891 has been a member of the I .O. 0. F. and has passed all the chairs of Zenith Lodge, No. 160, in which he is at present a trustee. He is an ex-representative to the Grand Lodge of Minnesota; and also belongs to the A. 0. U. W., the K. 0. T. M. and the M. W. A. He is esteemed by all who know him, whether in business, social or political circles, and has been a faithful servant to the city of Duluth.


After two years of a Democrat in office, Duluthians elected Republican Roland D. Haven as mayor in 1908. Haven had been born in Sudbuty, Vermont, in 1866. He apprenticed as a carpenter and moved to Northfield, Minnesota, in 1883 for a few years before taking a job in a St. Paul window sash and door factory. Similar work brought him to Duluth in 1889. He left Duluth in 1894 for Watertown, Iowa, to become superintendent of the Cedar Valley Manufacturing Company, but he was back in the Zenith City by 1897, working for the Stevens Tug Company. In 1902 he entered into the real estate business and met with considerable success, but that didn’t stop the restless Haven from becoming superintendent of the La Dow Implement Company. The Republican was first elected as alderman in 1900 and reelected two years later, serving as council president during both terms. In 1908 he was elected mayor. When he left office, he told the Duluth News Tribune, “I’ve given the city the best I have while in office. The mistakes I made were ones that would arise in any administration I am sure I gave the people my best efforts. I want to thank both the press and the public for their many acts of kindness.” When asked what he would do after leaving office, he said, “I haven’t made up my mind.” When he did make up his mind a year later, Mr. Haven and his wife Belle—along with both their mothers—left Duluth for New Mexico and stayed their the rest of their lives.

Copyright © Zenith City Online


  • Van Brunt, Walter, ed. Duluth and St. Louis County, Minnesota Vols. 1 – 3. The American Historical Society. Chicago: 1922.
  • Copyright © Zenith City Online
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