June 4, 1828: Birth of W. W. Kingsbury, namesake of Kingsbury Creek.

On this day in 1828, William Wallace Kingsbury was born in Towanda, Pennsylvania. After attending school in Athens, Pennsylvania, and working as a surveyor, he struck out for the frontier in 1852, settling in the townsites that would later become Duluth. He was a boyhood friend of novelist Stephen Foster, who said that as a young man, Wallace “enjoyed romping in the woods and wading along the creek banks, but had a dislike for sweaty and soiled clothes, discarding them as soon as possible.” Wallace built a shack along a creek in what is now West Duluth, and that creek was later named for him (most of Duluth’s creeks are named for early pioneers). He was part of a group of pioneers that formed northeastern Minnesota’s first organized mining organization, the North Shore Mining Company. The outfit was organized to mine copper along the north shore of Lake Superior, but they never found deposits large enough to be productive. Kingsbury represented northeastern Minnesota as a member of the Territorial House of Representatives in 1857 and served as a delegate to the state Constitutional Convention. That same year the Democrat was elected to congress. By 1865—one report says as early as 1859—he was back in his home town in Pennsylvania were he sold insurance and real estate. He later spent a few years in Baltimore, Maryland, before moving to Tarpon Springs, Florida, in 1887. He died there five years later. Duluth’s Fairmount Park was established along Kingsbury Creek in 1902.

Lithographic postcard, ca. 1910, of a foot bridge spanning the rocky banks of Kingsbury Creek within Fairmount Park. (Image: Zenith City Press)kingsbury