Duluth’s First Post Office

Duluth’s first post office. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

409 East Superior Street | Architect: None | Built: 1857 | Lost: 1936

The first post office in what is now Duluth was established in the town of Oneota on May 13, 1856, with Reverend Edmund F. Ely presiding as postmaster. The first in Duluth Township went up just over a year later with Joshua B. Culver, Duluth’s first mayor, acting as postmaster. Earlier post offices had been located in the homes of the postmasters. The 1857 building also served as the Duluth Village Council’s first meeting place. (The person in the photo is likely Theodore Helinski, postmaster in 1895 when the photo was reportedly taken.)

The building was a small one-story frame structure with a false second-level façade. By the early 1930s, the building had been moved to the alley behind its original location; it was described as “ramshackle and dilapidated” and considered a fire hazard. Duluth historians attempted to save the building, proposing it be moved to Leif Erikson Park as a civic monument. That effort failed, and it went down in 1936. The Amendola building stood on the site until 2019, when it was demolished to make room for a new Essentia Health medical center.