August 20: President and Mrs. Coolidge tour Duluth

On this day in Duluth in 1928, President Calvin Coolidge and First Lady Grace Coolidge toured the Zenith City as part of their summer on the Brule River in Wisconsin. A “Summer White House” had been established at Superior’s Central High School, and the Coolidge’s spent the majority of their time at the Brule, with the president waist-deep in water fishing for trout. The Duluth News Tribune reported the visit as a rather noisy affair. As the president’s car approached the Arrowhead Bridge to cross from Duluth to Superior, the tug Tempsest greeted it with a blast from its whistle; and as the car reached the other side, its passenger were greeted by the sound of dozens of factory whistles hailing them. On Grand Avenue they encountered the first of the swarm of people (estimated at 75,000 Duluthians, including many laborers given the day off in honor of the president’s visit) that lined the streets of the Coolidge’s route throughout town. The crowds roared as the president’s car approached them, waving the some 20,000 flags that had been distributed earlier that day. Several bands played along the route, police and fire sirens shrieked, and at 10th Avenue west the 125th Artillery Regiment fired a 21-gun salute. After passing through downtown the motorcade headed up to The Boulevard—today’s Skyline Parkway and the pet project of then-mayor Sam Snively, who accompanied the Coolidges on their visit. The president was reportedly impressed with “the panoramic view afforded him.”

A lithographic postcard commemorating the summer of 1928, when Presidemnt Calvin Cooldige spent the summer in Northwestern Wisconsin, using Superior Central High School as the “Summer White House.” During that summer he toured Duluth. (Image: Zenith City Press)

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