October 27, 1914: City officials bow to demands for Halloween bonfires in West Duluth

On this day in Duluth in 1914, city officials denied they had overlooked the citizens of West Duluth when planning annual Halloween celebrations and promised to have a bonfire in the community even if Park Superintendent Henry Cleveland had to “donate the price of a barrel of apples” himself. West Duluthians complained after learning the previous day that Cleveland and Mayor William Prince announced plans for three Halloween bonfires planned for the Zenith City, one at 15th Avenue West and Superior Street in the West End, one at 13th Avenue East and London Road—the entrance to Lake Shore Park—and at 62 Avenue East in Superior Street, adjacent to Lester Park. The celebrations grew out of an event organized by Prince and Cleveland at Lake Shore Park the previous year, and Cleveland kept up the tradition (at Lake Shore Park, at least) until he retired in 1925. The 1914 West Duluth celebration, which included a parade, was held in front of Irving Elementary School at 101 North 56th Avenue West. All four events were a success, with an estimated 2,500 children attending the bonfire at Lake Shore Park alone. The Fitzsimmons-Palmer Fruit Company gave away 7,000 apples. You can read more about Cleveland’s historic Halloween celebrations here, in a history of Lake Shore Park, known today as Leif Erikson Park.

This image accompanied an October 1914 Duluth News Tribune story about four upcoming Halloween celebrations planned throughout the city—and designed in part to reduce Halloween-related pranks, acts that apparently included placing wagons atop of churches. (Image: Zenith City Press)