October 8, 1927: City officials announce plans to eliminate Point of Rocks

On this day in Duluth in 1927, three of the city’s five commissioners announced plans to remove Point of Rocks, described by the Duluth News Tribune as “the barrier leading to the western section of the city.” In a joint statement, commissioners W. S. McCormick, James E. Foubister, and Chris Evans explained that the effort would put unemployed men to work and that once removed, the rock would be crushed and either sold or used in the construction of the city’s streets. The newspaper could not reach commissioner Philip Philip’s nor Mayor Snively, who was also the city’s commissioner of Public Affairs, but Snively would have agreed with the plan: earlier that year he and parks superintendent F. Rodney Paine had proposed a redevelopment of Lake Shore Park. Their plan included a breakwater that would extend five hundred feet into the lake from the back of the Duluth Curling Club and run southwest approximately parallel with the shore for about 1,500 feet to a point opposite Eighth Avenue East. A road would be built on top of the breakwater, and the enclosed area would be filled to create more parkland—and boulders from Point of Rocks would be used to build the breakwater. It wasn’t the first time Duluth attempted to remove Point of Rocks. In fact, the city had been trying since 1887, but the first blast sent a huge boulder flying, narrowly missing a man on horseback. In 1924 citizens again called for its removal after 100,00 tons of rock fell onto Superior Street. Although city engineers did their best to blast away Point of Rocks, they eventually abandoned that project as too costly. In 1931 another 10,000 tons of rock fell from the landmark following heavy rains.

Point of Rocks c. 1905. (Image: Zenith City Press)point