June 15, 1891: “Completion” of the Boulevard—today’s Skyline Parkway

On this day in Duluth in 1891, the Boulevard—later Roger’s Boulevard and today Skyline Parkway—was “completed” between Lincoln Park along Miller Creek and Garfield Park along Chester Creek. It would turn out that the roadway wasn’t completed at all—and wouldn’t be until 1929—but the original segment of the parkway was only intended to stretch between those two park. (Garfield Park, of course, was later renamed Chester Park). While Duluth’s Board of Park Commissioners had met its self-imposed deadline they did not hold a formal opening ceremony to mark the occasion. According to Duluth parks historian Nancy Nelson, “The road had already been in use for nearly two years, and even as they reached the June 15 deadline, board members continued to make changes to the right-of-way. In their annual report for 1891 they wrote, ‘At the present time we have a drive that is the pride of our city and one that for its picturesque and varied scenery, is second to none in the world.’ They reported that they had spent $25,954.67 to acquire land for the right-of-way, and they calculated that by the end of 1891 the total amount spent on building the road was $102,737.15 (equivalent to at least $3 million in 2016 dollars). You can read the entire history of Skyline Parkway here and the history of Duluth’s park board here.

Lithographic postcard, ca. 1904, of a coaching or “Tallyho” party touring Rogers Boulevard, today’s Skyline Parkway. (Image: Zenith City Press)

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