January 15, 1910: American flag waves atop Alworth Building for first time

On this day in Duluth in 1910, an American flag was raised over the still-under-construction Alworth Building for the first time. At sixteen stories, it was the tallest building in Duluth—and indeed, the entire state—when first built and remains the tallest in Duluth today. Marshall H. Alworth—Duluth pioneer in lumber, mining, and real estate—raised the flag. He financed the construction of the building that bears his family’s name. Attorney Jed Washburn made “a few remarks in the presence of the dozen or more who witnessed the raising of the flag,” reported the Duluth News Tribune. While the building was designed by nationally renowned architect Daniel Burnham, local architect John J. Wangenstein oversaw all of its construction. The cream-colored brick masterpiece took only nine months to build, and the Duluth News Tribune described it as “a cosmopolitan office building, one that dwarfs the tower of Babel” and “an epoch in the architectural history of Duluth.” The building would not be occupied until its first tenant, the Clark-Werin Company, moved in in Mid March. Unfortunately, as you can see below, historic photos of the building crop off the top half of the flag pole. Read a more complete history of the Alworth Building here.

The Alworth Building, photographed in 1912 by Hugh McKenzie. (Image: University of Minnesota Duluth Kathryn A. Martin Library Archives and Special Collections)

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