March 3, 1837: Birth of Duluth Pack creator Camille Poirer

On this day in 1837 (some say 1838) Camille Poirer was born in Montreal, Quebec. By 1870 he had visited Duluth often and decided to make the Zenith City his home. Here he first provided drinking water to local homes and businesses and later established a boot and shoe company on Superior Street just west of Lake Avenue. He eventually focused on canvas goods, creating Duluth Tent and Awning. It was in this capacity that he invented the Poirier Pack Sacks including early version of the “Duluth Packs.” (Duluth Pack, a descendant of Poirer’s Duluth Tent & Awning, still operates at 1610 West Superior Street.) When he died on October 17, 1919, the Duluth News Tribune wrote, “Always kindly, scrupulously honest in his dealings and thought, never unjust, never unfair, with a heart that denied itself to no one and to no right cause, Camille Poirer has closed a life lived in an Arcadia of his own making. To know him was to respect and admire him and almost to envy the serene peacefulness that rose above physical ailment or outward misfortune. He was, too, a man of force of character, of decided opinions and independence….. As a business man, as a friend, as a citizen, as one who always helped, he has left everything he touched and everyone he met the better and happier. Such a man can hardly be said to have died.” Learn more about Poirer here.

Camille Poirer stands next to his sledge, which holds a hogshead of Lake Superior Water, some time in the 1870s. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

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