On this day in Duluth in 1883, the Kitchi Gammi Club was officially incorporated “for the purpose of social culture” by “individualistic men of prominence, respect, and leadership in the community.” Charter members included E. A. Gilbert (lumberman), M. J. Forbes, (grain trader) Charles W. Culver (son of Mayor J. B. Culver), Frederic W. Paine (banker), and Charles D’Autremont (county attorney and future Duluth mayor). Other pioneer members included former Duluth mayor C. H. Graves (grain trader), George Barnum (grain trader), Luther Mendenhall (banker), Martin Pattison (lumberman/mining executive, three-time mayor of Superior, WI), William Sargent (real estate), Hamilton Peyton (banker/lumberman,) George Spencer (banker/grain trader), and Robert Whiteside (lumberman/mining executive). These represented Duluth’s most wealthy citizens, and most of them had been pioneers in the 1860s and helped Duluth survive the Panic of 1873. That social culture included providing a space for its well-heeled members to enjoy a drink without having to rub elbows with those in one of Duluth’s then 65 saloons. That was about one saloon for every 200 of Duluth‘s 13,000 citizens. If that same ratio was in place today, Duluth, population roughly 86,000, would be home to about 430 drinking establishments. You can read the entire history of the Kitchi Gammi Club here.
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