October 30, 1959: Statue of Neptune dedicated along the Duluth Ship Canal’s North Pier 

On this day in Duluth in 1959, a 26-foot high statue of Neptune—Roman god of the sea—was dedicated in its new home along the North Pier of the the Duluth Ship Canal.  The statue depicts Neptune brandishing his trident in his right hand as he cradles a ship in his left—a replica of the freighter Ramon de Larrinaga, the first ocean-going vessel of the modern era to pass through the Duluth ship canal and under the aerial bridge. According to the Duluth News Tribune, the idea to bring the statue to Duluth came from D. T., Grussendorf, a member of the board of the Minnesota State Fair. Grussendorf said he felt the statue exemplified the “rugged individualism in which Duluthians believe.” Mayor Clifford Mork predicted the statue “will certainly become a tourist attraction.” The mayor also conduced the proceedings by breaking a bottle of champagne against the statue base. Why the base? Because if he had hit it anywhere else, he probably would have damaged the statue. It was made of “weather-proof plastic composition” that could “withstand winds up to 75 miles an hour.” It couldn’t withstand flames, however, and it was destroyed by fire in 1963. You can read about that here.

This statue of Neptune stood along the north pier of the Duluth Ship Canal from 1959 to 1963. (Image: Zenith City Press)