Visit Uptown Superior … or Downtown Superior or the North End

Visit Uptown SuperiorThis past summer a new marketing effort was launched in Superior to attract people back to the downtown area, which struggled through a long Tower Avenue reconstruction project in 2013. The strip has seen a number of new businesses spring up on the fancy new avenue, but also still has numerous vacant buildings. It’s a work in progress. The joint effort of “collected businesses promoting each other” to “highlight the diamonds in the proverbial rough” is called Visit Uptown Superior.

Why is the downtown now the uptown? Isn’t “uptown” a word to describe a residential area? Well, this part of Superior is the North End, and people tend to think of north as up … and maybe these business intend to “Uptown funk you up.” Let’s not overthink it. Below is the back of a promotional postcard highlighting the collective businesses in said Uptown.

Visit Uptown Superior postcard

Postcards from Chester Park

Scene in Duluth Chester Park

“Chester Park is popular both in summer and winter,” according to old postcard propaganda. “In it is located one of America’s highest ski jumps and also Chester Creek, one of several flowing thru the city in which trout may be caught. Duluth is the only city in the United States where trout fishing is possible within city limits.”

Well, we know the famous ski jumps came down in 2014, but there seems to be another fact in there worth examining. Was Duluth at one time really the only city with trout fishing? Prove it or debunk it, dear reader.

In the meantime, here are more snappy postcards …

Know Your Duluth Liquor Laws!


Over the next week or so, Zenith City Online is publishing five separate stories on the history of Duluth’s liquor laws so that voters and elected officials can better understand the historic context of the issue they face in this November’s citywide referendum. I have included links to all five stories below so you can read them now. This issue is embedded in misinformation and myth. In fact, former Mayor Herb Bergson recently told Zenith City Online he vetoed a 2007 City Council resolution to request the repeal of the 1891 law because he believes that all of Lakeside and Lester Park was a gift to Duluth from the philanthropic Marshall sisters (Julia and Caroline) and that Myrtle Marshall, who fought to keep the law in place in 1973, was one of those sisters—none of which is true. So here’s a chance to catch up on Duluth liquor history so you can make a well-informed decision on this issue.

Selective Focus: Duluth

Tamara Jones

Tamara Jones, “Full moon over the Lake”

There is no way to comprehensively describe Duluth with an inane little photo feature, but I do think this week’s image’s alternations between grandeur and ruin say something about this place; what we value, what we’ve let moulder. Duluth is a place where our failures aren’t hidden. Its broken roads and crumbling industries, all set on that capricious gem of a lake impress the psychic landscape, and inform our present strivings.

Glensheen: the Musical

Glensheen the musical

Glensheen, a musical based on the book by Jeffrey Hatcher and music and lyrics by Chan Poling, opens at the History Theatre in St. Paul on Oct. 3 and runs through Oct. 25.

Good lord.


So I’m finishing work tonight and my friend says, “meet me at the Brewhouse.” I tasted a flight of three and ordered the dopplebock. The drink coaster just made it too easy for me.

St. Paul Beer Fail

Great American Beer Festival Awards Winners 2015

Don’t get me wrong, I love St Paul, but it appears as though the judges have spoken.

From the Great American Beer Festival, Duluth takes two awards!

To me, it’s gotta be extra special bitter. (How often can a drink coaster be mightier than the billboard)?

  • Silver – Double Porter | Bemidji Brewing Co., Bemidji (Baltic-style porter)
  • Bronze – Lonely Blonde | Fulton Beer, Minneapolis (English-style summer ale)
  • Silver – 14° ESB | Bent Paddle Brewing Co., Duluth (extra special bitter)
  • Silver – Procrastinator Doppelbock | Fitger’s Brewhouse, Duluth (German-style doppelbock or eisbock)
  • Silver – Pumpkin Grinder | Mankato Brewery, Mankato (pumpkin)
  • Silver – Size 4 | Steel Toe Brewing, St. Louis Park (session India pale ale)
  • Bronze – Firebrick | August Schell Brewing Co., New Ulm (Vienna-style lager)

Where in Duluth?

Homemade bench

Rachael Kilgour – “If I Am Gonna Fall Apart”


New song by Duluth’s Rachael Kilgour, recorded live on Sept. 10 at the World One Studios in Maryland.

Kilgour has launched a month-­long Kickstarter campaign to fund her upcoming album, which will be recorded in Boston.

Duluth’s Sister Lisa Maurer on CBS News

Sister Lisa Maurer of the St. Scholastica Monastery was featured in a national TV news story on Sept. 29 during the CBS Evening News. The piece will air again on CBS This Morning on Wednesday, Sept. 30, between 7 and 9 a.m. on KDLH-TV Channel 3.

Sister Lisa is a kicking coach with the St. Scholastica Saints football team. A news team from CBS Evening News, including national correspondent Dean Reynolds, came to campus Sept. 10 and 11 to interview Sister Lisa, Coach Kurt Ramler, and football players Michael Mensing and Donovan Blatz. The crew also filmed shots of the St. Scholastica campus, and captured footage during the Saints’ Sept. 12 football game at Public Schools Stadium against MacMurray College.

Last November, Sister Lisa was featured in a New York Times story.

1995 TV Mashup


In the fall of 1995 I tossed a tape in the VCR and somewhat indiscriminately recorded while I flipped channels over a few different nights. The above video is the result. Most of it is not locally relevant, but there are a few clips from Duluth Public Access Community Television, including two excerpts from Colleen Shannon’s In My Room.

Some of the transitions are edits I made in 2015 for the purpose of cutting this down to 28 minutes, but many of them are just what naturally happened in 1995 when I paused the tape, changed channels and resumed recording.

Yes, I know how geeky this is. Yes, I’m proud of myself.

Awkward Duluth School Board Moment #4,536: Gadfly Edition


File under: Tried to be clever; totally fell flat.

Inefficient, Crazy and Utterly Delicious

admiring the gardens

Recently I was treated to a 90-minute interview with Tom Hanson in his office just off the kitchen of Duluth Grill, beyond the secret sauces and fresh ingredients. What I learned continues to blow my mind. The resulting column, accessible through the Duluth Budgeteer, barely scratches the surface in observing how he continues to utterly defy conventional wisdom. I quickly came to the conclusion that if he were the CEO of any large corporation he would have been given his walking papers years ago. Happily, it ain’t so, and we’re left with one of the Duluthiest establishments in town.

You can view an expanded version with numerous photos on Ed’s Big Adventure.

Where in Duluth? #132

where in duluth sept 2015

Time for another installment of Perfect Duluth Day’s ultra-thrilling photo-trivia sensation. Where in Duluth was this shot taken?

This Week: famous bass players, organs, boat-ghosts and more

Here’s a bit of what you’ll find on this week’s PDD Calendar:

Lake-themed artwork is up for viewing this evening in the Zeitgeist atrium, Duluthians can hear from their City Council candidates, there’s an 80’s Dance Party at the Red Herring, UW-Superior is looking to help address bullying, UMD Theatre begins its 2015 season with Spoon River and Gruesome Playground Injuries can be seen by the public at the Underground.

The Halloween season is officially upon us with the opening of the Haunted Ship, pop-music wizards speak at UMD, Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic (!) comes to town to talk about ranked-choice voting, the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra scores The Wizard of Oz, that industrial band from The Crow plays R.T. Quinlan’s, it’s BradToberFest time, again and Sacred Heart is tending to its organ.

Community Connect seeking volunteer stylists

Community Connect is seeking volunteer hair stylists and massage therapists. We are especially in need of stylists experienced with African heritage hair. If you are able to help, please email duluthcommunityconnect@gmail.com or call Loaves and Fishes at 218-724-2054.

Community Connect is a twice yearly event that connects people experiencing poverty and homelessness with housing, hygiene, IDs, employment, drug/alcohol treatment, voter registration, outdoor survival gear, child care and other vital services. Between 300 and 400 people are expected to attend the fall Community Connect on Oct. 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Gimaajii Building, 202 W. Second St.