July 28, 1910: Temperance leader Carrie Nation speaks in Lincoln Park

On this day in Duluth in 1910, “saloon buster” Carrie Nation spoke to Duluthians from the pavilion in Lincoln Park at an event sponsored by local temperance groups; another talk was scheduled that day in Lakeside. Nation—often pictured holding a hatchet she famously used to literally bust up saloons—entitled her talk, “How She Smashed, Why She Smashed and How You Can Smash.” In Duluth Nation stayed at the McKay Hotel and also managed to get in a talk in Two Harbors during here stay. She charged 25 cents per person to attend her talks, at which the Duluth News Tribune seemed to take slight offense, noting that “Whatever else Carrie Nation may be she is a financier—she makes her propaganda pay her dividends [and] showed her ability to thoroughly advertise while in Duluth.” Those advertisement must have run in the paper’s rival, the Duluth Herald, as during the entire month of July the News Tribune ran just one classified ad consisting of only ten words. The newspaper failed to cover the actual event and did not report on the content of the speech, but we know Nation never minced words: it was reported that she was suspicious that President William McKinley was a secret drinker, and when he was assassinated in 1901 she applauded the act because drinkers “got what they deserved.” Nation died less than a year after her visit to the Zenith City and was initially buried in an unmarked grave to protect her remains from being desecrated by her enemies. Later the  Woman’s Christian Temperance Union placed a stone on her grave that read in part “Faithful to the Cause of Prohibition, She Hath Done What She Could.

Carrie Nation. (Image: Public Domain)