Duluth National Guard Armory (1915)
From Zenith: A Postcard Perspective of Historic Duluth, copyright © 2005, Zenith City Press, Duluth, Minnesota. Image: Duluth Public Library.
1305 London Road
Architects: Clyde Kelly & Owen Williams
Built: 1915 | Extant
Besides acting as headquarters for Duluth’s Minnesota National Guard, the Duluth Armory also hosted hundreds of cultural events and national acts, including Louis Armstrong, Johnny Cash, Charlie Chaplin, Will Rogers, and many others. The armory also housed refugees from the 1918 Cloquet fire, and played host to the largest funeral ever held in Duluth: that of Albert Woolsen, the last surviving Union soldier from the Civil War, who died in 1956 at age 109. Woolsen, a drummer boy who never saw action but witnessed Sherman’s march to the sea, lied about his age to enlist. Bob Dylan claims to have sat in the Armory’s front row during a Buddy Holly concert at the Armory just days before Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper died in a plane crash. The Guard moved to new headquarters in 1977. Plans are underway to convert the building to the Armory Arts & Music Center.