August 4, 1891: Bench and Birch Streets become Superior

On this day in Duluth in 1891, city alderman passed an ordinance renaming Bench Street Superior Street and Birch Street Superior Street East. Superior Street was also tweaked, becoming “London Road” at Eight Avenue East. Why? Because between 1877 and 1887, Duluth was a village, and its eastern boundary in 1887 was at 14th Avenue East, originally the border of Portland townsite. East of that was the town of Endion, which originally stretched to 21st Avenue East—it essentially sat between Chester and Oregon Creeks. Endion, part of the original 1870 City of Duluth, was left out of the 1877 village but rejoined the city when Duluth regained its charter in 1887. At the same time, Endion’s eastern border was stretched to Twenty-Sixth Avenue East. Superior Street originally followed the shoreline, and Bench Street ran between 8th Avenue East and 14th Avenue East. Birch Ran along the same line as Bench from 14th Avenue East to 21st Avenue East. Bench and Superior converged between 8th and 9th Avenues East. In other words, Birch, Branch, and Superior streets were essentially the same street, and so the name change was likely a simplification issue. Before the name change, Superior Street turned right at between 8th and 9th Avenues East and followed a path the connected with London Road at 21st Avenue East. So the renaming of that stretch of Superior Street was a logical resolution that required no re-engineering—that came later. The convergence of Superior Street and London Road moved to 10th Avenue East during the Highway 35 expansion in the 1980s.