May 6, 1891: Alphonse Guerard acquitted of assault

On this day in Duluth in 1891, brownstone quarryman Alphonse Guerard was found not guilty of assaulting quarry owner Michael Chambers on April 24 during a heated property dispute. That July an arson fire gutted the Chamberses’ mansion, and Guerard was the prime suspect. Months later Guerard’s home was also destroyed by an arson fire. No legal action was taken in either case. The Chambers mansion was never rebuilt. Chambers died in 1895, but the remains of the house were not removed. The ruins became a popular spot for picnickers until they were removed. In the 1920s, Chambers’ widow Emily Chambers sold her property to the city of Duluth; a large portion of it became Fond du Lac Park. Read more about Duluth’s brownstone industry (including other assaults on Michael Chambers) here, the history of Chambers Grove here, and the history of Fond du La Park here.

The ruins of Michael and Emily Chambers’ 19th-century brownstone house in Fond du Lac, misidentified in this postcards as the ruins of the American Fur Post. (Image: Zenith City Press)