May 19, 1857: Town of Duluth incorporated at base of Minnesota Point

On this day in 1857, the town of Duluth was incorporated by Joshua Culver, Orrin Rice, Robert Jefferson, and brothers George and William Nettleton. The previous May they had platted the town of Duluth between Third Avenue East and Eighth Avenue West at the base of Point of Rocks, from First Street south to just above Buchanan Street in today’s Canal Park business district. Directly above Duluth to Fifth Street John Pendergrast platted North Duluth, then lost nearly all of it in a dispute with the Nettletons. Immediately below Duluth to roughly today’s ship canal William Cowell purchased property called Cowell’s Addition, and south of that, all the way to Oatka, Markland and Robert Reed platted Middleton. Meanwhile C. P. Huestis and C. A. Post platted Fremont among the muck and floating islands below modern Michigan Street between Minnesota Point and Point of Rocks. Those borders blurred in 1857, when the communities centered on and above Minnesota Point—including everything from Fifth Street to Oatka between Third Avenue East and Eight Avenue West—incorporated together as the town of Duluth. Read more about the eleven original towns that made up Duluth here.

George Nettleton. (Image: Duluth Public Library)