December 10, 1939: Hotel Duluth hosts first television telecast in Duluth

On this day in Duluth in 1939, the Hotel Duluth hosted a viewing of the first television telecast in Duluth, sponsored by the Zenith City’s Kelley-Howe-Thomson company, hardware distributors. The headlines read “3,000 See Telecast” and “Radio’s New Magic Shown Here.” Here’s the entire report from the following day’s Duluth News Tribune: “Television came to Duluth yesterday—at least the first official demonstration of the new scientific development of radio was viewed by more than 3,000 dealers and visitors in Hotel Duluth. The demonstration was staged by Kelley-Howe-Thomson Co. for dealers, to show development of the newest field in radio. The attraction drew hundreds of Duluthians to the hotel ballroom. Several Duluthians and a troupe of Twin Cities artists appeared before the television cameras in an anteroom at the hotel. Their performances were clearly reproduced on the television receivers in the ballroom. The sets were similar to those put on the market in the east during the past several years. A special telecasting station was set up in the hotel to transmits the pictures.” It took nearly 15 more years before Duluth had its own television station. Read a history of the Hotel Duluth, today’s Greysolon Plaza, here.

A postcard of the Hotel Duluth published in the 1950s. (Image: Zenith City Press)

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