Morgan Park Streetcar Station

Morgan Park’s Streetcar Station ca. 1921, photographer unknown. [Image: UMD Martin Library]

8800 Beverly St. | Architects: Dean & Dean | Built: 1916 | Lost: Date Unknown

Prior to 1916, anyone who wanted to visit Duluth’s westernmost communities took a Northern Pacific train or, after the advent of the automobile, hired an unlicensed and illegal “Jitney” cab. Once the Minnesota Steel Plant opened, public demand forced the Duluth Street Railway Company to open a line extending west from Seventy-First Avenue West along Grand/Commonwealth Avenue. The line opened on June 12, 1916. Two days earlier, a special car was run along the new line whose passengers included representatives of both the streetcar company and the steel plant, including the plant’s general manager, Herbert Warren. Cheers greeted the streetcar, and while most agreed that the new line marked “the beginning of a new era in the business prosperity of the western section of the city,” some of those on board expressed regret that the line did not reach the plant’s unskilled laborers living in New Duluth and Gary.

The streetcar line became paramount for steel plant employees who did not live in Morgan Park. The first car arrived at the plant’s eastern gate at 5:30 a.m. and the last left at midnight. During shift changes, cars arrived and departed every five minutes. The steel company erected a simple, unheated waiting station outside of the steel plant gates that opened to Morgan Park’s western neighborhood. In the eastern neighborhood, where the company management lived, the steel company built a much more significant structure on a triangle of land where Beverly Street and Eighty-Eighth Avenue West intersect. Made of concrete, the octagonal building—very likely designed by Dean & Dean Architects—was heated and included restrooms for both men and women.

The streetcar line was finally extended to Gary in 1918. In 1925, nearly 4,100 passengers rode the streetcar from West Duluth to Morgan Park every day, and another 1,483 used it to move between Morgan Park and Gary-New Duluth. But ridership declined as automobiles became affordable, and later that decade the railway company began converting to buses. The street railway company went bankrupt in 1930 and by 1939 buses had replaced the city’s streetcars. Exactly when the Morgan Park station was demolished remains unknown.