On this day in 1949, writer Arthur W. Baum’s feature-length story about Duluth was published in the Saturday Evening Post. Here’s a snippet to whet your appetite for more: “The city of Duluth ties at the most westerly point, of the largest, unsalted sea in the world, Lake Superior—a fluid deity which the city worships to a man. At every season of the year the sun rises on Duluth over the cold blue water or the gray ice of this inland sea, so vast that it has little tides. Hiawatha called it ‘Gitchee Gumee, the shining Big-Sea-Water.’ At its sharp western nose, where it is fed by the St. Louis River, is the very headwater of all the Great Lakes, 603 feet above the ocean. Up the middle of the bay of the St. Louis and up the river for a way, the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin border each other. Some of the oldest known rock on earth rears up on the north, or Minnesota, side of the bay, river and lake. For some unaccountable reason, Duluth has plastered itself against this rocky bluff with only a spatter of beach and a couple of sandspits for footing. It is consequently a long, skinny city, a sort of rip-saw blade with smooth edge to the water and teeth sticking up into the rocks wherever it finds a grudging crevice. Like the dachshund, Duluth is a city and a half long and a tenth of a city-wide. Twenty-six miles from one end to the other, its average width is only one-tenth its length, yet it covers more area than Boston, St. Louis or Pittsburgh. Across the river and inner bay behind a nine-mile sandbar, there is a perfectly logical place for a city. In fact, one is there—Superior, Wisconsin. That Duluth, rather than develop in comfort on the grassy flats where Superior lies, chose to buck the unlikely cliffs on the north shore is quite in character. Duluth’s history is a long series of counterpunches at circumstances and events. When Duluth wins a round, it habitually comes up off the canvas to do it.” There is much, much more to Baum’s description of Duluth, and you can read it all here.
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