November 23, 1905: Duluth’s Stone Memorial Fountain passes inspection

On this day in Duluth in 1905, St. Paul architect Thomas Holyoke inspected the installation of the stone fountain he designed to commemorate Duluth pioneer George C. Stone. Stone (not to be confused with George Chickering Stone) came to Duluth in 1869 with George Sargent as agents of Jay Cooke and set up Duluth’s first bank. Stone was credited for actually running the business of the bank and was described as “a peculiar-looking man… [who] was not very well dressed, talked smoothly, seemed to have had considerable experience of the world, and transacted all the business.” When Duluth became a city in 1870, he was appointed as its first treasurer and was one of the initial trustees of Duluth’s First Methodist Episcopal Church, co-founded the first Duluth Chamber of Commerce, and later helped the Merritt family open the Mesabi Iron Range. The fountain was financed by his daughter, Mrs. T. L. Blood, and was erected between Ninth and Tenth Avenue East, at the convergence of Superior Street and London Road. Made of granite quarried at Ortonville, Minnesota, the fountain included a bronze electric lantern to illuminate it. Its practical use was to provide water for horses (and dogs), but when Duluth’s ice delivery men started using its water to rinse debris from ice, the public protested. In the late 1920s the fountain was moved to Lakeshore Park, which soon after was renamed Leif Erikson Park. Today the fountain is a central feature of the park’s Rose Garden.

Stone Memorial Fountain in its original location. (Image: Zenith City Press)