May 28, 1901: Fire destroys Beacon Hill Incline Pavilion

On this day in Duluth in 1901, at 7:30 a.m., a fire started in the engine house of the Seventh Avenue West Incline and quickly spread to the Beacon Hill Pavilion, which was quickly consumed. The pavilion had nearly burned to the ground when a the heat of the flames melted the cable holding the east car in place, sending the flaming car hurling toward Superior Street. A quick-thinking patrolman named Tully and incline employee Paul Sharvy cleared people got out of the way and stopped a Woodland Streetcar just a few feet from the path of the burning east car, which crashed through the Superior Street incline depot, crossed Superior Street, and was stopped by a masonry wall just before Michigan Street. No one was injured, but a patron of A. L. Halvorson’s Saloon on the south side of Superior Street was almost hit by a flying metal rod, which shattered the building’s plate-glass window. Duluth Street Railway manager Luther Mendenhall, citing insufficient insurance coverage, declared that the pavilion would not be rebuilt. Photos of the fire’s aftermath, at both the top and bottom of the incline railway, can be found here. Read more about the Seventh Avenue West Incline and the Beacon Hill Pavilion here.

The ruins of the Beacon Hill Pavilion follwing the fire of May 28, 1901. (Image: Funimag)