May 18, 1883: C. H. Graves appointed Mayor for second time

On this day in the Village of Duluth in 1883, trustees appointed Colonel Charles H. Graves as mayor for the second time. Graves, a native of Springfield, Massachusetts, received his military title fighting for the 40th New York Volunteers and was severely wounded at Gettysburg. He first came to Duluth in 1869 and established C. H. Graves and Company—dealers in salt, lime, cement, grain, and insurance—in a two-story wood-frame building he constructed at 108 West Superior Street. That building would also house the the Duluth Library Association and Duluth’s first Y.M.C.A. and hosted the first meeting of Pilgrim Congregational Church. In the 1880s, Walter Van Brunt connected the first telephone line in Duluth between Grave’s building and Grain Elevator A. At that time, graves owned the elevator along with Roger Munger and Duluth’s second mayor, Clinton Markell, partners in the Lake Superior Elevator Company. Graves was also a founder of Duluth’s Board of Trade and the Kitchi Gammi Club, the first director of St. Luke’s Hospital, and served as Grand Master of Duluth’s Palestine Lodge #73 when the masons opened their new home in the Temple Opera Block. He served in the Minnesota State Legislature Served as a senator (1873–1876) and as a representative (1889–1890) and became U. S. minister to the Court of Sweden under Teddy Roosevelt. Graves served his first one-year term as mayor in 1882. He was replaced by Colonel J. B. Culver, another 1869 pioneer and the city of Duluth’s first mayor in 1871, who died in office. He and Culver, by the way, were also business partners in the 1870s. At the same meeting the village council also decided that since Grave’s business partners Clinton and Markell had just built the city a beautiful Grand Opera House, the council granted an exemption from all taxes and licenses for one year.

C. H. Grave. (Image: Duluth Public Library)