October 9, 1974: Duluth ends effort to annex Herman, known today as Hermantown

On this day in Duluth in 1974, city council president (and future mayor) Robert Beaudin announced that the Zenith City was abandoning its effort to annex two-thirds of the township of Herman. Herman had been established as early as 1873, but its population remained less than 1,000 people until the 1950s when family housing lured more residents who worked at the nearby air base. Low taxes and good schools were attractive to Duluthians, and by the early 1970s the town had about 7,000 residents In order to retain its status with the State of Minnesota as a “city of the first class,” Duluth needed to keep its population—which had been declining steadily since the early 1960— over 100,000. Annexing Herman Township would help with that effort. The idea had outraged Herman residents, who under the leadership of Town Board Chairman Reginald Royer had recently applied to the Minnesota Municipal Commission to become a city. The surprise announcement followed a public hearing on Hermantown’s application; more than 700 people attended the hearings, including 200 from Hermantown, who rose to their feet and applauded when the event concluded. The following February the commission granted Herman permission to become a city, and on December 31, 1975, the City of Hermantown was officially established. Today, with a population of 9,500, Hermantown uses its lower sales tax rate to lure businesses that might otherwise set up shop in Duluth.