November 22, 1915: The official opening of Duluth’s National Guard Armory

On this day in Duluth in 1915, the new National Guard Armory at 1301–1305 London Road was opened with a military-style ball. The Armory’s opening was touted as “one of the most brilliant social events of the year,” and was organized by Colonel F. E. Resche, Captain Guy Eaton, and Lt. Colonel Hubert Eva. Minnesota Governor W. S. Hammond officially opened the Armory at 8:15 p.m., following some drilling demonstrations by Duluth’s soldiers. Congressman Charles G. Miller, namesake of Miller Trunk Highway, and Mayor William Prince also gave speeches. More than 50 officers from other Minnesota regiments also attended. When the talking was over, all 28 members of the Third Regiment Band hit the stage, and the dancing began. The new armory was built to replace the 1896 Third Regiment Armory at 201–207 East 1st Street. The new armory was designed by Duluth architectural firm of Kelly & Williams, who may well have had an inside track on the job. Clyde Wetmore Kelly was also a licensed master ship pilot and served under Eaton with Duluth’s Naval Militia. In 1918 he was called to duty as America entered the war in Europe and commanded the U.S.S. Massachusetts until 1919. When Eaton died unexpectedly in 1924, Kelly took over his role as naval militia commander. You can read about the 1915 armory’s entire history here.

The city of Duluth had this postcard produced to promote its new state-of-the-art Armory in 1916. (Image: Zenith City)