Posts by Tony Dierckins

Sneak Peek: The “Bible House” Building

This week’s sneak peek at our newest book—Duluth’s Grand Old Architecture 1870–1940 by Tony Dierckins and Maryanne C. Norton—once held one of the largest collections of bibles found anywhere on the planet, curated by Reverend Henry E. Ramsmeyer and later his daughters Pauline and Esther. The Northern Bible Society Building still stands on the outskirts…

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Sneak Peek: The Leithhead House

This week’s sneak peek at our newest book—Duluth’s Grand Old Architecture 1870–1940 by Tony Dierckins and Maryanne C. Norton—is one of the most unique houses to grace the Zenith City, the 1902 home at 16 South 18th Avenue East built for drug-company executive Leslie Leithhead and his wife Ophelia Leithhead—and paid for by Ophelia’s father,…

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Pre-Order Duluth’s Grand old Architecture today!

After working on the project for more than ten years, we are happy to announce that Duluth’s Grand Old Architecture: 1870–1940 by Tony Dierckins and the late Maryanne C. Norton will be available in August. And more good news: Our friends at J.S. Print Group are expanding their operations and will now be able to…

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Thanks for Ordering Duluth’s Aerial Bridge!

Thanks so much for pre-ordering Duluth’s Aerial Bridge. We are expecting books in June and will ship your order as soon as we get the books in stock. Click here to sign up for daily “This Day in Duluth” posts and weekly updates sent direct to your email address. Click here to return to the…

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Thanks for ordering Duluth’s Grand Old Architecture!

Thanks so much for pre-ordering Duluth’s Grand Old Architecture. We are expecting books in June and will ship your order as soon as we get the books in stock. Click here to sign up for daily “This Day in Duluth” posts and weekly updates sent direct to your email address. Click here to return to…

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Sneak Peek: The Northwestern Oil Company Filling Station

You might know this week’s sneak peek at our newest book—Duluth’s Grand Old Architecture 1870–1940 by Tony Dierckins and Maryanne C. Norton (coming summer 2022)—as the Portland Malt Shoppe, but it was actually built in 1921 as a gas station, a relatively new concept at the time. Read our history of the 1921 Northwestern Oil…

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Sneak Peek: St. George Serbian Orthodox Church

This week’s sneak peek at our newest book—Duluth’s Grand Old Architecture 1870–1940 by Tony Dierckins and Maryanne C. Norton (coming summer 2022)—is a rather small church built on a grand scale, and a key element in the story of the role Serbs played in Duluth’s development. Read our history of the 1924 house of worship…

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Sneak Peek: Denfeld High School

This week’s sneak peek at our newest book—Duluth’s Grand Old Architecture 1870–1940 by Tony Dierckins and Maryanne C. Norton (coming summer 2022)—is perhaps the most beloved educational edifice in the Zenith City’s history. Read our history of the 1926 Duluth Denfeld High School from Duluth’s Grand Old Architecture here.

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Duluth Volunteer Fire Department’s Hall #1

This week’s sneak peek at our newest book—Duluth’s Grand Old Architecture 1870–1940 by Tony Dierckins and Maryanne C. Norton (coming summer 2022)—is the first brick municipal building constructed in Duluth—and it is still standing. Read our history of the Duluth Volunteer Fire Department’s Hall #1 from Duluth’s Grand Old Architecture here.

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Free History Event Wednesday at Glensheen

  This coming Wednesday, April 6, Zenith City Press publisher Tony Dierckins will be speaking at Glensheen as part of the first Twin Ports Festival of History, which features 12 events at 12 different locations. Dierckins will present “Duluth, 1856–1950: From a ‘Pile of Rocks’ to a ‘Dachshund of a City.’” When first established as…

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Tonight: Public “Lyceum” at Bent Paddle

Zenith City Press publisher Tony Dierckins will be speaking TONIGHT at 6 p.m. at Bent Paddle. Tonight’s event  is the first in a series of public “Lyceums” hosted locally by Northspan. The topic is “What We Can Learn from Local History.” Dierckins kicks things off with his 15-minute take on the topic, followed by 45…

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Fitger Brewing Company

On November 11, 1882, Michael Fink hired August Fitger as the brewmaster of his 1881 Lake Superior Brewery along Superior Street at Sixth Avenue East. Only six months after Fink hired Fitger, the new brewer purchased half of Fink’s Lake Superior Brewery. Fitger’s friend Percy Anneke, a salesman for Milwaukee bottling company Voechting, Shape &…

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Duluth Brewing & Malting


Reiner Hoch (pronounced “hoke”) fell into brewing when his parents settled in Milwaukee after emigrating from Prussia, Germany, where he was born in 1852. Two of Hoch’s brothers followed the same path, as did Carl Meeske (pronounced “mess-key”), born in Germany in 1850—and two of Meeske’s brothers, Otto and Gustav. Hoch and the Meeske brothers…

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People’s Brewing Company

In October 1906 the Duluth News Tribune reported that a third brewery was coming to the Zenith City, and its investors were looking at property in West Duluth. It was to be called People’s Brewing Company. Over the decades many have come to believe that the brewery was born of socialist ideas brought to Northeastern…

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Northern Brewing Company

The Superior Inland Ocean newspaper announced on February 19, 1898, that “the old Klinkert Brewing Company has been entirely reorganized under the name Northern Brewing Company. The incorporators are L. Rueping, Frederick Rueping, Fred J. Rueping and L. A. Erhart. The capital stock is $150,000. Mr. Erhart is the manager and is now living in…

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Great Northern Power‘s Thompson Dam

Hydroelectricity arrived in Duluth in 1906 after the Great Northern Power Company harnessed the St. Louis River by building a dam at the old logging town of Thomson in the heart of what would become Jay Cooke State Park (the land for the dam had been acquired from Cooke’s estate). Prior to that, coal-powered generators…

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The Pioneer Breweries of Duluth & Superior

Sidney Luce never intended to live in Duluth. In fact, the city didn’t even exist when he first arrived at the Head of the Lakes in 1856. He had traveled from Ohio to Superior, Wisconsin, to look after some investments “without any intention of remaining any length of time,” according to Luce himself. Luce ended…

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The Klinkert Brewing Co.

When North Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889, its counties voted to prohibit the sale and manufacture of alcohol, which forced Fargo’s Red River Valley Brewing Company, owned by John Klinkert and Louis Rueping, to look for a new home. In 1865, when he was just sixteen years old, Klinkert had emigrated from…

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The West Superior Brewing Co.

In 1889 the Village of Superior, Wisconsin, merged with the Village of West Superior, established in 1883 by General John Hammond This marriage of the two communities created the City of Superior, with a local population of over thirteen thousand. It also brought brewing back to Duluth’s rival across the bay. Superior, Wisconsin’s first modern…

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Historic Wisconsin South Shore Breweries (1881–1937)

Besides those breweries of Superior, other outfits made beer along the Wisconsin South Shore of Lake Superior in Washburn and Ashland before and briefly after Prohibition. The first brewery on Lake Superior’s South Shore was likely in the township of Bay City, within the city limits of today’s Ashland. Brewing historian Doug Hoverson, author of…

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Historic Minnesota Iron Range Breweries

After Michael Fink sold his brewery in 1885, he remained “retired” until becoming a health inspector in 1888. in October 1891, newspapers announced he had purchased five acres of land on the intending to build a brewery. Investors included his wife, Callie, and majority stockholder Philip M. Graff, a lumber baron. Charlie “Spike” Unden, nephew…

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Upcoming History Events at Bent Paddle and Glensheen

Zenith City Press publisher Tony Dierckins will be speaking at Bent Paddle on Monday, March 28 and Glensheen on Tuesday, April 6. The event at Bent Paddle is the first in a series of public “Lyceums” hosted locally by Northspan. The topic is “What We Can Learn from Local History.” Dierckins kicks things off with…

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Creating a New Identity (1996–2006)

Doty won his third election in 1999, a year before the census reported Duluth’s population had increased less than 1 percent since 1990. Duluth’s civic leaders pressed on, continuing to reinvent the city’s downtown waterfront while a new generation of creative minds began laying the foundation for a cultural and craft revival that would help…

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Starting to Stabilize (1985–1995)

While its industry and population exodus continued, Duluth didn’t stand idly by. In 1986 more than two hundred jobs arrived when the New Page Paper Mill opened in the West Duluth. The previous year Duluth again had invested in efforts to revitalize its downtown, spending $7.5 million to repave ten blocks along Superior and First…

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Creating Canal Park (1975–1985)

Mayor Boo resigned his post to become the WLSSD’s director in 1974. City council president Bob Beaudin served out Boo’s term. Like two of his predecessors, Beaudin was a veteran employee of the Minnesota Steel Company plant. Beaudin’s daughter Shannon later explained to newspapers that he entered politics because “there wasn’t enough talk about jobs.”…

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Early Tourism & Environmental Efforts (1960–1975)

In 1960 Clifford Mork replaced Lambert, who had chosen to not run for re-election, as mayor. Mork was a native son and longtime school board member who, with his wife Evelyn, operated a wholesale grocery business at 605 West First Street. As mayor, the Democrat spearheaded the Gateway Urban Renewal Project—which demolished the Mork Food…

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Industrial Decline (1956–1993)

In August 1956 Duluth’s Armory hosted the largest funeral in the city’s history, that of Albert Woolson, the Civil War’s last surviving Union or Confederate soldier, who died at age 109. Earlier that year Duluthians voted nearly two to one to toss out the commission system. Months later they elected a new city council, which…

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War & Post-War Boom (1940–1955)

Incumbent Rudy Berghult lost the 1941 mayoral election to Republican Edward Hatch, a mining chemist from Devonshire, England, who emigrated in 1902. A former mayor of Eveleth, Minnesota, Hatch moved to Duluth as Prohibition began. While he later became chairman of the St. Louis County Republican Party, he first found popularity as the president of…

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Battling Depression (1930–1940)

Two months before the economy collapsed, Duluth’s two largest banks, the American Exchange National Bank and the First National Bank of Duluth, merged. For two days fifteen armed guards escorted bank employees carrying $20 million in cash, about $285 million today, from the Exchange across Superior Street to First National. The merger likely saved both…

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Prohibition & an Ugly Influence (1918–1933)

More than the weather was dry in 1918. With the Temperance movement marching the nation toward Prohibition, the Twin Ports had opted to ban alcohol early. Superior did so first, closing all saloons on July 1, 1916. When Duluth followed suit exactly one year later, Superior returned to wetness the very same day. The Zenith…

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Reorganization, War, Fire & Flu (1911–1919)

In 1911 Duluth mayor Marcus Cullum proposed changing the political system hat had thrice elected him mayor. Cullum felt the mayor-council government gave the mayor too much power. Instead, he had become a proponent of government by a city commission, a new, nationally popular system then considered more efficient and better for the laboring class.…

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Becoming the Twin Ports (1893–1910)

As industrial growth increased shipping traffic, the limitations of Duluth’s ship canal and the Superior Entry, along with the harbor’s shallow depth, prevented bigger ships from carrying larger, more profitable loads. In 1893 the Duluth-Superior Harbor Improvement Committee, led by McDougall, petitioned Congress for funds to make improvements. Three years later the US Congress appropriated…

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Infrastructure, Industry & Immigrants (1888–1900)

Duluth’s physical expansion was overseen by mayors Marcus Davis and Charles d’Autremont, both Democrats, and Republican Ray Lewis. Annexation increased not only the city’s size but, consequently, its population as well. The 1895 census found 59,396 people populating the Zenith City, nearly twice the 1890 estimate. Most new arrivals were immigrants, including more Scandinavians, Irish,…

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Expanding Borders (1888–1895)

The reborn city of Duluth hit the ground running, and its citizens kept Sutphin their mayor through 1890. The new city charter again called for a mayor-council system and doubled mayoral terms to two years. During Sutphin’s tenure Duluth improved its streets and sewers and built a city hall, police headquarters, and a new fire…

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A City Reborn (1885–1887)

A relative newcomer, Vermont lumberman Horace Moore replaced Ensign as mayor in 1885. Moore ran unopposed—and reluctantly, pressed into his nomination by petition. The Duluth News Tribune reported that Moore’s priorities would be “the introduction of a sewer system, the further improvement of our streets, [and] gas and water.” Hardly glamorous, Moore’s goals signaled a…

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Up from the Ashes (1877–1884)

As part of its plan to eliminate the city’s debt, Duluth’s common council asked district court judge Ozora P. Stearns to create legislation to reorganize Duluth as a village and compound its debt, reissuing its bonds at twenty-five cents on the dollar. To ensure the village remained motivated to pay off the remainder, its borders…

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From Promise to Panic (1870–1877)

Duluth continued to boom during its first three years as a city. More immigrants poured in to build the railroads. Loggers clear-cut the city’s hillside, defining its streets and providing timber that Culver’s and Munger’s sawmills cut into the lumber that became the city’s first houses, churches, docks, and warehouses. Duluth’s Minnesota neighbors joined in…

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A City is Born (1869–1870)

By May 1869 Jay Cooke’s agents had arrived in Duluth and began spending his money as well as that of his associate E. W. Clark. Those agents—George Sargent, George C. Stone, and Luther Mendenhall—would become prominent figures in Duluth’s history. They opened the town’s first bank, which everyone called Jay Cooke’s Bank. They built one…

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Railroad Dreams (1866–1868)

Following the war some people returned to the Head of the Lakes while others did not. Even Reverend Ely had given up on Oneota. In 1865 Joshua Culver returned as a full colonel and built a sawmill on Minnesota Point. There were then just 294 people in all of St. Louis County—56 in Fond du…

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Panic and War (1857–1865)

By the time the copper speculators stopped speculating, about 2500 people lived in Superior and nearly 1500 more had begun building homesteads from Endion to Oneota. Then came the Panic. In the 1850s, despite increasing development, the US economy was declining. Europe, home to many investors financing America’s growth, also suffered from unstable economies. Banks…

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The Townsites that Became Duluth (1856–1857)

Many of these newcomers had their eyes on land across the bay and along the North Shore, where they hoped to become wealthy operating copper mines. Some couldn’t wait for the signing of the second Treaty of La Pointe. One group, including Robert McLean, August Zachau, and Vose Palmer, quietly slipped out of Superior in…

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North Shore Copper Rush (1854–1858)

  While the French referred to Lake Superior’s far-western end as Fond du Lac (Bottom of the Lake), English-speaking explorers had an entirely different perspective. They called it the Head of the Lakes, a phrase later used to collectively identify Duluth and Superior, Wisconsin. The position of those communities on the opposite banks of the…

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Treaties and Reservations (1826–1854)

Before its demise, the Fond du Lac fur post was the region’s center of trade and consequently a natural location for large gatherings. In 1826 Michigan territorial governor William Cass and Col. Thomas L. McKenney, the head of the newly formed United States Indian Department (USID), gathered native leaders from throughout the region to the…

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The Fur Trade (1550–1847)

The first European to arrive at Lake Superior was Frenchman Etienne Brule in 1622, but he traveled no further than Isle Royale. The lake’s western end and largest tributary weren’t seen by non-Natives until Médard Chouart des Groseilliers and Pierre-Esprit Radisson showed up thirty-seven years later, reaching what is now Duluth in 1659. The French…

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First Peoples

Lake Superior has drawn people to its western shores for millennia—long before anyone thought to name a community centered on its convergence with the St. Louis River “Duluth.” We can’t know what the first peoples called themselves, but archaeologists—who name cultures and describe them by the artifacts they leave behind—refer to the people who first…

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Fire & Ice: Duluth’s Geographic Past

The forces that shaped Duluth’s geography occurred during the planet’s formation several billion years ago, in the Precambrian era. Basalt and granite found along Lake Superior’s western shore indicate volcanic and seismic activity, and according to geologist John C. Green, the landscape once featured “great mountain ranges, perhaps rivaling the Alps, which have since been…

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Getting “Bridged”

Ever since the aerial lift bridge began lifting in 1930, the Park Point Community Club has not been afraid to share with the city its frustration over frequent bridge lifts, which leave cars and pedestrians “bridged”—stuck in traffic waiting for the bridge to raise and lower. Many Park Pointers learn to keep a book in…

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What So Special About Duluth’s Aerial Bridge?

By the time Duluth’s aerial bridge was converted from a transfer bridge to a lift bridge in 1930, there were hundreds of similar vertical lift bridges operating across the globe, and about 230 are still working today. It certainly isn’t the biggest: The 1959 The Arthur Kill Vertical Lift Bridge in Staten Island, New York,…

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Lighting the Aerial Bridge Leads to Painting the Aerial Bridge

In 1966 the city’s Project Duluth Committee took steps to make the bridge a night time attraction by illuminating it with floodlights. “The Aerial Lift Bridge is the symbol of Duluth,” chairman John Grinden said. “We want to do everything possible to promote it to dramatize Duluth to tourists.” Once the proper permissions were secured,…

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Riding the Aerial Bridge’s Lift Span

While Duluth’s aerial bridge has been of interest to visitors since it was first built in 1905, in the 1960s Duluth made much more of an effort to make it a tourist attraction. In 1965 City officials resurrected an idea their predecessors had twice dismissed as unsafe: Public rides on the aerial lift bridge as…

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Renovations to the Aerial Lift Bridge 1931–2000

Much of the aerial bridge’s history involves maintenance, renovations, and adaptations designed to improve the bridge’s performance and keep it running smoothly and safely. When the lift bridge first went to work, operators had trouble hearing incoming vessels signal to request a bridge lift. In 1931 the city installed a “mechanical ear” tower on the…

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The First Aerial Lift Bridge

Dr. John A. L. Waddell (1854–1938) designed the world’s first aerial lift bridge to span the Duluth Ship Canal for the city’s 1892 contest (see pages 16–18). Waddell’s plans included a roadway for wagon traffic, a sidewalk for pedestrians, and two lines of heavy gauge rail to allow industrial trains to access Minnesota Point. Waddell…

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Duluth Aerial Transfer Bridge Operators

Including original Bridge Superintendent (aka “Bridge Boss”) Leonard Green, only seven men operated and maintained the aerial transfer bridge once it became the city’s property: Thomas White, John Hicken, William Maynard, James Murray, Urban Nehring, and Frank Lampert. The work wasn’t just turning levers and gliding across the canal: Maintenance was dangerous. The traveling pulley…

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The Struggle to Construct Duluth’s Aerial Bridge

After endless rejections, the city gave up on its dream of a bridge that would allow railroads access to Minnesota Point, so a canal bridge no longer needed railroad tracks or contiguous access. Thomas McGilvray’s idea for a transfer bridge was less expensive than any previously proposed, likely $100,000. But a great deal had to…

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The Engineers Behind Duluth’s Aerial Transfer Bridge

Duluth’s City Engineers After reading about Ferdinand Arnodin’s aerial transfer bridge in Rouen, France, Duluth City Engineer Thomas McGilvray at once recognized the potential of a similar bridge over the Duluth Ship Canal. In 1899, the same year the French bridge was completed, McGilvray sat down at his drawing table and began adapting Arnodin’s plans…

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Duluth Aerial Transfer Bridge Myths

People have told plenty of tall tales regarding the aerial ferry bridge over the years. In 2005 Richard Sundberg told a reporter that his parents, Albert and Rose, were caught in a stalled ferry car during the stormy night of September 6, 1927, while rushing to the hospital from their home on Park Point. Rose…

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Sneak Peak: Great Northern Power Distribution Center

This week’s sneak peek at our newest book—Duluth’s Grand Old Architecture 1870–1940 by Tony Dierckins and Maryanne C. Norton (coming summer 2022)—answers the often-asked question, “What’s that building?” Well, for starters, it helps provide Duluth with electricity. Read our history of the Great Norther Power Distribution Station from Duluth’s Grand Old Architecture here.

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Major D. D. Galliard’s Wave Level Tiles

David D. Galliard, the first man in charge of Duluth’s 1905 Corps of Engineers Building and, therefore, the Duluth Ship Canal, had tile water-level indicators installed along the south pier so he could study wave motion from his office window The mosaics were quite colorful and decorative, featuring American Eagles and the Corps of Engineers’…

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Digging the Duluth Ship Canal

When Jay Cooke was deciding in which city to terminate his railroad at the Head of the Lakes, Superiorites had campaigned aggressively to get the LS&M to come to their city—at one time even suggesting that Cooke drop the word “Lake” from the railroad’s name. In 1867 Superior’s backers sent a letter to LS&M president…

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Why Duluth Dug Its Ship Canal

Duluth’s aerial bridge has been an iconic symbol of the Zenith City of the Unsalted Seas since it first began operating in April 1905. But Duluth would have no such bridge if it didn’t also have a canal to cross—and it wouldn’t have needed to dig a canal at all if Minnesota Point weren’t lying…

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Chester Terrace

1212–1228 E. First Street | Architect: Traphagen & Fitzpatrick | Built: 1890 | Extant Henry A. and Fred W. Smith and the rest of their family came to the Zenith City on Christmas Day 1869 after their father Ansel had been appointed registrar of the U.S. Land Office in Duluth. Fred, who was nine years…

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Baldwin Terrace

715 W. Second Street | Architects: Wangenstein & Roen| Built: 1890 | Extant Baldwin Terrace stands in Duluth today as a reminder not just of Duluth’s architectural past, but of a once-proud man whose life came to a tragic end. Born in Vermont in 1838, Melvin R. Baldwin had moved to Winnebago, Wisconsin, by 1847.…

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Salter and Buckingham Terraces

301–307 E. Third Street | Architect: Oliver Traphagen | Built: 1887 | Extant Ten years after graduating Yale seminary school in 1852 and serving as a Union chaplain during the Civil War, Reverend Doctor Charles Cotton Salter of New Haven, Connecticut, became the pastor of Minneapolis’s Plymouth Congregational Church. In late 1870 the founders of…

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Dudley House

3600 London Road | Architect: H. Shaw Associates | Built: 1930 | Extant Marjorie Congdon turned twenty-one when her family first moved into their grand estate, Glensheen. Like her sisters, she attended Dana Hall prep school in Wellesley, Massachusetts, but unlike her sisters graduated Miss May’s Finishing School in Florence, Italy, instead of going on…

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Loeb House

2407 E. Fifth Street | Architect: Francis H. Fitzgerald | Built: 1923 | Extant Scottish-born architect Francis Fitzgerald came to Duluth in 1913 after working for a number of prestigious firms, including Chicago’s D. H. Burnham & Company. His few known Duluth works include the 1921 Ridgeview County Club and this L-shaped, two-story stucco-covered Mediterranean…

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Hartman House (Duluth Women‘s Club)

2400 E. Superior Street | Architect: Frederick Perkins | Built: 1910 | Extant Architect Frederick Perkins’s first of five houses he would design for Duluth’s East End, this two-and-a-half-story brick Tudor Revival home was planned to fit Duluth’s sloping hillside, with much of the house hidden from view along Superior Street. Its roof includes a…

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Hartley House (1915)

3800 E. Superior Street | Architect: Bertram Goodhue | Built: 1915 | Extant As long as he had renowned architect Bertram Goodhue working on three commissions for Duluth—St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, the Kitchi Gammi Club, and Hartley’s own office building—it wasn’t a stretch for Guilford Hartley and his wife Carrie to tap Goodhue again to…

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Fay House/Tweed Museum of Art

2531 E. Seventh Street | Architect: Frederick Perkins | Built: 1915 | Extant Frederick Perkins designed his final Duluth home in an adapted Italian Renaissance Revival style. Standing at the northwest corner of Twenty-Sixth Avenue East and Seventh Street, the two-story Fay/Tweed home is faced with Lombardi brick and capped with a low-pitched hip roof…

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French House

2425 E. First Street | Architect: Frederick Perkins | Built: 1914 | Extant Renowned for his work in Chicago and Boston and educated at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, Frederick W. Perkins spread his architectural wings over Duluth’s East End between 1910 and 1915, helping provide the neighborhood with its stylistic diversity. He…

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Bagley Hosue

2431 E. First Street | Architect: Frederick Perkins | Built: 1914 | Extant Tipton, Iowa, native Cassius H. Bagley made his way to Duluth in 1890 when he was twenty-one years old and immediately went to work for F. D. Day & Co. Jewelers at 315 West Superior Street as a clerk and watchmaker. In…

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Millen/Ames House

1618 Vermilion Road | Architect: Frederick German | Built: 1912 | Extant After a Duluth News Tribune reporter caught a glimpse of Frederick German’s plans for a house along Vermilion Road on a six-acre lot between Hawthorne Road and Tischer Creek, the newspaper announced that the “residence is regarded as the forerunner of other pretentious…

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McGiffert House

2324 E. Fifth Street | Architect: Anthony Puck | Built: 1912 | Extant New Yorker John Rutherford McGiffert was twenty-five when he arrived in Duluth in 1892, fresh law degree from NewYork University in hand and ready to practice. But, as historian Walter Van Brunt pointed out, throughout his education and the early years of…

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Killorin House

2708 Branch Street | Architect: Edwin Hawley Hewitt | Built: 1911 | Extant Paris-trained Minneapolis architect Edwin Hawley Hewitt took on the Tudor Revival style and executed it to massive proportions in this three-story, 10,000-square-foot home. Classic Tudor elements include a cross-gabled roof and false half-timbering over stucco along the second and third floors. The…

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Mershon House

1730 E. Superior Street | Architect: Peter Olsen | Built: 1909 | Extant The Mershon House was another wedding present built for a daughter of Joseph and Ophelia Sellwood, who in 1891 had given their oldest daughter Elizabeth and her husband Charles Morrow a grand Victorian home at 1814 East Superior Street which still stands.…

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Silberstein House

2328 E. Third Street | Architect: Frederick German | Built: 1909 | Extant The oldest son of Bernard and Nettie Silberstein, Edward Silberstein was born in Duluth in 1874 just after the Financial Panic of 1873, which cast serious doubts on the community’s future. But Duluth, and his parents’ dry goods business, persevered and later…

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Duncan House

2215 E. Second Street | Architect: Bray & Nystrom | Built: 1907 | Extant Perched above East Second Street just west of Oregon Creek, this two-and-a half-story yellow brick house is one of Duluth’s shining examples of American Foursquare architecture, incorporating elements of both Prairie and Classical Revival styles. All three styles were reactions to…

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Cotton House

2309 E. First Street | Architect: Kees & Colburn | Built: 1907 | Extant Indiana native Joseph Bell Cotton came to Duluth in 1888, just twenty-three years old and fresh out of law school. By the time the stock market had crashed in May 1893, Cotton was working for Duluth’s Merritt family as the attorney…

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House House

2210 E. Superior Seet | Architect: William T. Bray l | Built: 1904 | Extant Frank E. House was president of the Duluth and Iron Range Railway when he and his wife Minnie tapped William Bray’s design talents for their new home. Bray’s take on the popular Tudor Revival style, the two-and-a half-story dark-red brick…

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Ordean House

2307 E. Superior Steet | Architects: Palmer & Hunt l | Built: 1904 | Extant When Pennsylvania native Albert Ordean’s father died in 1866, the ten-year-old moved with his mother and sister to Canton, Ohio. Eight years later he went to work for banker, grocery wholesaler, and town founder Isaac Harter. Four years later he…

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Barnes House

25 S. 26th Avenue E. | Architect: William Hunt | Built: 1904 | Extant Julius Howland Barnes was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1873, one of four children of Julia Hill and attorney Lucien J. Barnes, whose work moved the family to Washington D.C. and St. Cloud, Minnesota, before settling in Duluth in 1885.…

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Bradley House

2229 E. First Street | Architect: I. William T. Bray | Built: 1904 | Extant Brothers Edward and Alva Bradley grew up in Bay City, Michigan, where their father Henry’s sawmill helped turn the Saginaw Bay region into a lumber center. Henry Bradley even helped organize Bay City’s Methodist church and its school system. But…

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Crosby House

2029 E. Superior Street | Architect: I. Vernon Hill | Built: 1902 | Extant Hastings, Minnesota, native George Crosby came to Duluth in 1887 to work as a clerk in John LaVaque’s paint store. Two years later he wed Charlotte Stultz and went into business with his brother Charles selling real estate before breaking out…

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Chisholm House

1832 E. Second Street | Architect: Unknown | Built: 1902 | Extant Canadian Archie Chisholm came to the U.S. as a boy, eventually finding work in iron mines. In 1888 he turned twenty-four and moved to Minnesota’s Vermilion Range to work as paymaster for the Chandler and Ely Mines while investing in banking, mining, and…

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Stone House

2228 E. Superior Street | Architects: P. Cooper & Sons| Built: 1901 | Extant Born in Saginaw, Michigan, in 1875, George Chickering Stone went to work for his father’s Wells-Stone Mercantile, dealers in wholesale groceries and hardware, which also had a Duluth branch. Stone came to the Zenith City in 1898 after his father’s business…

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Olcott House

2316 E. First Street | Architects: Bray & Olsen | Built: 1904 | Extant The formation of United States Steel in 1900 made a lot of Duluthians quite wealthy, not the least of whom was William J. Olcott, who in 1901 was named president of the steel giant’s Duluth, Missabe & Northern Railway. Olcott was…

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Patrick House

2306 E. Superior Street | Architect: I. Vernon Hill | Built: 1900 | Extant Isaac Vernon Hill spent just ten years of his short life in Duluth, but made a remarkable impact on its architecture, including the Patrick House along Superior Street near the foot of Twenty-Fourth Avenue East. Hill emigrated from Leicestershire, England, in…

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Hunter House

2317 Woodland Avenue | Architect:Unknown | Built: 1892 | Extant The second oldest of seven children of John and Catherine Hunter, Ronald Hunter was born in 1856, the very year the Hunter family emigrated from Scotland to Kalamazoo, Michigan. The family moved to Minnesota after the Financial Panic of 1857, coming to Duluth in 1869.…

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Reed House

4218 London Road | Architect: Unknown | Built: 1888 Extant David A. Reed was born in Greveland, New York, in 1859, and by 1881 was working as an engineer for the Genesee Valley Canal Railroad before taking a job as supervisor of construction for the Leicester Salt & Mining company of Livingston, New York. There…

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Marvin House

123 W. Third St. | Architect: Unknown| Built: ca. 1887 | Extant Luke A. Marvin was five years old in 1861 when his father, also named Luke, brought his family to Duluth from St. Paul over the Military Road despite this warning from Reverend Edmund Ely: “If you love your family, do not attempt to…

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MacFarlane House

801 West 1st Street | Architect: Unknown | Built: 18983 | Lost: 1911 Angus MacFarlane spent much of his life counting money. He went to work for the National Bank of Scotland in his hometown of Stornaway in 1862 when he was fourteen years old. Sixteen years later he struck out for the New World,…

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Wieland Block

24–26 East Superior Street | Architect: Oliver Traphagen | Built: 1889 | Extant Christian Wieland helped survey the Minnesota North Shore of Lake Superior in the early 1850s and was so impressed by the area surrounding the mouth of the Beaver River that he convinced his four bothers and other German immigrants in Maumee, Ohio,…

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Security and Guaranty Blocks

Security | 1889 216 W. Superior St. | Architects: Palmer & Hall | Built: 1889 | Extant Guaranty: | 1890 218 W. Superior St. | Architects: Palmer & Hall | Built: 1890 | Extant History has left behind very little information about the Security and Guaranty Blocks. We do know that the Security was first…

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Duluth Press Building

1915 W. Superior St. | Architects: Radcliffe & Willoughby | Built: 1894 | Extant Missouri native Hugh Wetmore spent much of the 1880s working as a reporter for the St. Paul Dispatch before moving to Superior in 1890 to write for the Superior Evening Telegram. The next year he established a newspaper in Duluth’s West…

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Weber Building (aka “Schobes Bakery”)

740 E. Superior St. | Architect: Unknown | Built: 1914 | Extant Research has yet to uncover exactly who commissioned this building’s construction, but it was very likely its original tenant—L. B. Weber & Co., dealers in crockery and glassware—which first opened its doors on October 26, 1894. Designed by Wangenstein & Baillie, the two-story…

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Hartley Building

740 E. Superior St. | Architect: Bertram Goodhue, Architect | Built: 1914 | Extant After working with architect Bertram Goodhue on the 1912 Kitchi Gammi Club and the 1913 St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Guilford Hartley chose to hire Goodhue for a couple of his own projects, including an office building almost directly across the street…

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Spina Building

2–8 W. First St. | Architect: Anthony Puck | Built: 1912 | Extant Italian immigrant Peter Spina owned real estate throughout Minnesota’s Iron Range, much of it tied up in saloons and hotels, including the Spina Hotel in Ironton. It is difficult to pin down all of Mr. Spina’s business entanglements, as research indicates there…

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Leborious Florists

121 W. Superior St. | Architect: Unknown | Built: 1929 | Extant St. Paul native John LeBorious came to Duluth in 1895 to work for florist Walter Seekins, signing on as partner in 1904. LeBorious briefly moved to Philadelphia, returning to Duluth in 1909 to establish his own shop at 6 East Superior Street, with…

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People’s State Bank

1336 Commonwealth Ave. | Architects: Francis H. Fitzgerald | Built: 1921 | Extant Members of the Banker’s Mortgage Loan Company organized People’s State Bank in November 1916 to serve the growing population of Gary and New Duluth, most of whom worked at the nearby Minnesota Steel Plant. The bank opened in 1917 in a building…

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Duluth National Bank (1922)

5629 Grand Ave. | Architects: Holstead & Sullivan | Built: 1922 | Extant Popular physician Dr. John J. Eklund led a group of investors—supported by West End business owners—that organized the Duluth State Bank in 1910, operating out of 1924 West Superior Street with Eklund acting as president. In 1921 the bank decided to construct…

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