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Duluth Citizenship Test

Today jessige and I were having lunch together and we pondered the question: how long do you have to live here to be considered a native? (We’re both transplants from Eau Claire, Wisconsin that have lived in this area for ten years or more.)

Well, that topic has been done before here on the ol’ PDD (someone else can find it, I wasn’t able to), so we extrapolated it to “what questions would you put on a ‘Duluth Citizenship’ test?”

What are the essential things that you have to know to be considered a native Duluthian?

72 Comment(s)

  1. Location of the former House of Donuts.

    Sjixxxy | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  2. By definition, you’d have to be born here.

    ironic1 | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  3. I think a good test would be to ask yourself “do you find people in stocking caps more attractive than without?”

    Adam | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  4. The correct pronouciation of “sauna” -- it’s still hard for me to remember “sow” instead of “saw”!

    Bad Cat! | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  5. Donuts … food co-op only have heard stories of late night donuts … anyone have a picture of this place … or their own donut story?

    hunter | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  6. There is, of course, a Facebook Group dedicated to preserving the memory of the HOD. They even have pictures posted. Ain’t the internet a wonderful place?

    And, again, to be a native you have to be born there.

    ironic1 | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  7. What does it mean to be “Bridged”?

    Where do you get beer on Sundays?

    What does “High” and “Dick Bong” have in common?

    Name 4 local artist, 4 local bands and 3 theater companies.

    What role does the Armory play in Rock and Roll history?

    Where is the Peace Bell?

    What same word completes the following: Pizza ____, Crazy____.

    Name at least past/present five mayors, and eight council members.

    Name your favorite (street) pothole.

    Name at least four DTA routes

    Name at least five city parks

    edgeways | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  8. Know the difference between West Duluth and the West End.

    Chris | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  9. Bad Cat, your response was so right on! I was just in Cali, and asked where the sow-na is at our hotel. The woman at the front desk told me where the saw-na is — and I’m sure she thought I was the one mis-pronouncing it!

    Claire | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  10. Where is Cascade Park?

    vicarious | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  11. Edgeways -

    As a 5-year Duluth resident, I could answer all of your questions. Way too easy, man!

    I’ve met many lifelong Duluthians who have no idea where Cascade Park is…thus, I win the non-contest!

    vicarious | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  12. You worked at Jeno’s.

    You drove to Superior on the wooden bridge before the Bong Bridge.

    You know who Bong was.

    You have eaten at the Flame and know where it was located.

    You recall the strip clubs downtown.

    Frank | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  13. What is a “cake eater”?

    Bret | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  14. You recall Canal Park as a scrap yard and a area full of rubber tires.

    Frank | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  15. I have you all beat. You stayed at the Lake Aire Motel before finding an apartment.

    James | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  16. I recall Canal Park as a scrap yard, but I lived in St. Paul in those days.

    Bret | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  17. The Viking Motel on London drive is another. Early 1980s or so? The Lemon Drop restaurant down the road from it. The Army Corps of Engineers Museum being built.

    James | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  18. A person saying they saw Buddy Holley at the Armory would top everybody I think. That would be top dog in my mind.

    James | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  19. If you don’t know where you were or what you doing during the “Halloween Snowstorm” then you are not a native.

    watergirl | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  20. Tamara,
    the Scandinavians who dominate this area like so many Whitetail sprinting down Central Ave are strange and mythical beasts. Sightings from outsiders are rare. Do not try to root him out of his den or he may spring like a cornered Badger. Offer him free food and beer shy of an eleven year ‘getting to know’ phase, he might suspect you of trying to poison him. Offer him coffee, he may accuse you of peddling drugs. Invite him into your home, he’ll foresee ambush. The best way to become local is to perish while trying to belong here. Once you are firmly established in the local cemetery, there is no way he can deny you residence, but this still might take a few more years to gel in his Viking brain. Taking a hockey puck on the forehead. Choking on some Lutefisk. Drowning in the lake. All these are good ways to prove that your intentions of belonging to the community were sincere. And now that you are gone for good, he won’t feel that you are encroaching on his territory.

    Dr. Rand McDaniel | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  21. Three feet of snow in 1991! Huge and a record
    never broken to date. Even the Twin Cites
    can’t brag a total bigger then that.

    James | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  22. Don’t leave town for 3 years. Not even to Superior or Hermantown. Then leave for two months, return forever. Gold. Solid gold. Welcome.

    egn | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  23. Do the local TV news shows and the locally produced TV ads seem normal?

    Bret | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  24. OK, so I’ve lived here for 2.75 years now, and I could answer most of the local trivia questions, not all, but most. Having lived in West Duluth, and recently located a bit further east (I’d technically be a “cake eater”) it’s been pretty easy to pick up on a few park names and I’ve even been in Cascade Park.

    But most of the other “requirements” put up for citizenship just require being old.

    How about a more general set of requirements, like being able to accurately give someone directions from one place to another while you are both at a third unrelated location. Or, what are the best restaurants in each available food genre? Or, how has the latest political change helped or hurt the community and why?

    If you pay attention and listen to natives, you can naturalize yourself to any community pretty quickly.

    But, the ultimate indicator for me would be if a “native” thought I should run for school board, city council or mayor. If that ever happens, I’d consider myself an honorary native.

    BryGuy | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  25. I think the question is whether you’ve given up economic opportunities to stay in Duluth. That commitment to the community qualifies as ‘native’.

    From one who whored out to Minneapolis but has fond memories.

    dbb | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  26. Claire, I believe if it’s in a hotel, it IS a sonna. It’s a SOW-na if it has a wood stove. That’s how some Finns from the UP explained it to me, anyway. Electric powered, in the Holiday Inn: sonna. Wood-heated and out in the woods: sauna. They gave me this pronunciation aid: “How now brown sauna.”

    bluenewt | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  27. Thanks BlueNewt — And here I thought I was so superior to that Californian, b/c I knew how to pronounce the word correctly. At least I didn’t try to throw water on the electric heater.

    How about — who was Duluth’s first poet laureate? Who is Duluth’s current poet laureate?

    Claire | Dec 29, 2010 | New Comment
  28. As was pointed out, only being born in Duluth can make you a native. Any questions could be answered by the majority of people from Souptown just as easy as the majority of Duluthians. Of course just being born in Duluth also qualifies the majority of people who have always lived in Souptown as well, so that makes it not such a great litmus test either. I also agree a lot of the things mentioned above are age related and would keep many Native Duluthians from rightfully claiming that title. Perhaps the solution lies not in a test to see who is a Native Duluthian, but a TRUE Duluthian. Examples would be having a MN state I.D. (keeps Superiorites honest), perhaps a mix of both time spent living in the city and questions you can pick about certian subjects pertaining to the city (because everyone has different interests so you can’t expect everyone to have knowledge of just things the tester is intersested in.) Just some thoughts on the subject.

    Jadiaz | Dec 30, 2010 | New Comment
  29. I was born at St. Luke’s, lived in Lakeside and Woodland for 18 years. I moved away well over 20 years ago and now live across the country. Despite my lineage even I can’t answer a handful of those questions. IMHO, ddb nailed it.

    p.s. I’m Duluth and Proud.

    Dod | Dec 30, 2010 | New Comment
  30. Native Duluthians do not use the term “northland.”

    Swan | Dec 30, 2010 | New Comment
  31. When you change yor cell phone number to 218, then you are a Duluthian. When driving up the hill feels like a long drive. When you have a favorite meal at every local eatery. When you get told at Blackwater that you need to take your stocking cap off and you feel like you were wronged. When local music plays on your IPOD and you can sing every word. When you have spoken in front of the City Council. When your wardrobe contains an excessive number of layers of coats and shirts. When you know where to park for free for events at the DECC. Lastly, when you know all of the words and sing along to the “Arrowhead Autobody” song. When you have a car that has a dent to odometer ratio that show a car with half the mileage of Twin Cities resident, but lots of dents, scratches, and joint/cv/brakes/heating issues.

    Andrew O | Dec 30, 2010 | New Comment
  32. Watching Jimmy Carter cruise down Second Avenue West in 1975 in his big black limo. Right in front of our house. Or watching the bicentennial fireworks and noticing that one of the parachutists had his chute hung up on a spire of the Depot.

    Not conclusive citizenship, just good memories.

    Jamie B | Dec 30, 2010 | New Comment
  33. The Jolly Roger

    “Leave Skeeter Alone!”

    The Christian Radich

    Brad and Brian Dudek

    Life with Louie

    Elizabeth Congdon

    If you recognize any of these you’re probably a Duluthian.

    Teal | Dec 30, 2010 | New Comment
  34. Great stuff, Teal, but if you were trying to reference Louie Anderson’s sitcom set in Duluth you got the title wrong.

    Life with Louie was an animated series that premiered before, and continued after, the short-lived 1996 sitcom The Louie Show.

    Although The Louie Show was set in Duluth, it wasn’t shot here, except for the opening theme footage, which someone should put on the Internet immediately.

    And what character did Louie Anderson play, by the way? Psychotherapist Louie Lundgren, of course.

    Paul Lundgren | Dec 30, 2010 | New Comment
  35. I’m afraid that if you have to ask what might make you a native Duluthian, you’re probably not a native Duluthian. And if you’re wondering whether you’re a native Minnesotan or not, you might know by the addition of qualifiers like “I’m afraid” and “probably” to your statements.

    Kelli | Dec 30, 2010 | New Comment
  36. When you’re driving on London Road in the direction of Canada, you think you’re going east instead of north.

    Bret | Dec 30, 2010 | New Comment
  37. Where will the test/oath/swearing in be taking place New Year’s Day? And will Mayor Ness be there?: Ich bin ein Dulutherner.
    I say we line up along the channel in Canal Park at noon. Reception/lutefisk eating contest at the Decc at 12:10.

    Vomitorium at 3. In other words, lolng story short:

    Where is the Duluth vomitorium?

    spy1 | Dec 30, 2010 | New Comment
  38. Perhaps native is the wrong term here. “Local” might be more accurate. I’ve lived in Duluth my entire adult life — longer than I’ve lived anywhere else. I bought my first home here, was married here, my children were born here, and I’ll probably die here. Despite all that, when native Duluthians find out that I did not graduate high school here, it’s game over. I’m convinced I could live here 80 years and still not be considered a local by some. To be fair, I will never intuitively understand why what school someone went to as a teenager is so important. I’m not bitter, just a bit mystified. Ah, Duluth. Let me count the ways.

    MJ | Dec 30, 2010 | New Comment
  39. I am a genuine, native Duluthian — born and raised. That said, one of the best things to happen to this town is transplants. People who did not grow up here have a different perspective (less pessimistic?) and have helped make Duluth a better place. Thanks!

    TimK | Dec 30, 2010 | New Comment
  40. We are all ‘immigrants’ here, even if Great Grandma Berta came by ship or rail and settled on St Croix Avenue and settled in at “Herring Bone Flats’; a collaborative residence now called an apartment?

    We are all immigrants you could say, arriving at varied time-lines from before the beginning of the 20th century or if one just arrived off the freeway.

    So maybe we should be holding Blue Cards; Duluth I.D. cards; blue like in the great lake itself…in tandem with the Green Card phenomena, I.D.s required of others in our society?

    Do you have a copy of your great grandmother’s citizenship papers?… who knows how many of us assume Gramma Berta did the right thing or slipped over the border from Canada and just squatted, and beget your elders and eventually, you, down the lineage time-line?

    Might be an interesting experiment or experience, knowing one’s elders status, origins; legal or illegal heritage?

    Think if we all had to register for a Blue Card; quirky idea, yes, but worth playing with always-an-immigrant-never-a-native perspective in seeking to determine what qualifies as ‘native’…may at least be revealing in the searching…or even thinking about the idea in the musing?…Happy New Year, hey…

    bk gullsgate | Dec 30, 2010 | New Comment
  41. TimK nailed it.

    Paul Lundgren | Dec 30, 2010 | New Comment
  42. Started Kindergarten at Ensign Elementary.

    woodtick | Dec 30, 2010 | New Comment
  43. @ Edgeways … Funny, I’m not technically a Duluth native, yet I can answer all those except the city council one. However I can’t even name my own city’s council members, past or present, so that question technically doesn’t count in my mind.

    rs | Dec 30, 2010 | New Comment
  44. Bret -- the cardinal direction overhaul in Duluth continues to bring me joy to this day.

    You know you are from Duluth when you can explain all cardinal directions in relation to the lake. Driving up hill makes it north. Plus, being able to easily convert this logic when directing people outside of the city (Mini-apple, Souptown, etc.) is a local skill.

    betso22 | Dec 30, 2010 | New Comment
  45. Jolly Roger or Jolly Fisher?

    Larry | Dec 30, 2010 | New Comment
  46. Jolly Fisher of course…sheesh. Missed two of them!

    Teal | Dec 30, 2010 | New Comment
  47. 2nd Tim. Easily half the weirdos I know in Duluth are transplants.

    adam | Dec 30, 2010 | New Comment
  48. adam | Dec 30, 2010 | New Comment
  49. Locals like swimming in the lake. They also know when the water temperature will be bearable independent of the air temperature.

    Margo | Dec 30, 2010 | New Comment
  50. The north shore is northeast, so, one is going both north and east at the same time.

    Shane | Dec 30, 2010 | New Comment
  51. Proof that if not born here you are never allowed to be a native: If you have lived here for how ever many years, but not born here, if you ever break a law, the first thing out of the native’s mouth is, “Oh, but, you know, they’re not from here.” That covers any crime and any number of years that you have resided in Duluth.

    sarafenix | Dec 30, 2010 | New Comment
  52. When you remember your phone number starting with two letters…

    french | Dec 31, 2010 | New Comment
  53. While I appreciate TimK and Paul’s love of the transplants, I think MJ sums up the feeling I get sometimes in Duluth. I love this town, and I consider it my home, but I’m awfully glad my daughter was born here so that if she decides to stay, her pedigree will be clean.

    Most of the things that have been added so far illustrate that perfectly. They’re not about being a Duluthian--they’re about having grown up in Duluth. But one of the things I love about Duluth is how much pride its residents (including me) take in living here.

    This (and spy1′s “ich bin ein duluthian” post) made me have a grandiose and ridiculous idea. How about if we start a Founders Day festival? And part of the Founders Day festival is a “naturalization” ceremony for those transplants who want to publicly announce that they are renouncing their allegiance to other godforsaken places like Eau Claire or Minneapolis and becoming a full-fledged Duluthian with all the rights and responsibilities associated?

    I’m only half-kidding. It would be a pretty cool way to celebrate all things Duluth, from the schools to local arts to volunteer opportunities. I tried to find the date Duluth was incorporated, but my Google-fu is failing me. Tony D can probably help me out.

    And to raise funds for our festival, we can sell Upset Duluth calendars.

    [On a related nerdly note, I looked up the US citizenship test cause I thought I could be clever and create my own Duluth one based on it. All that did for me was make me feel inadequate as an American.]

    jessige | Dec 31, 2010 | New Comment
  54. 1. You know who Larry Race is
    2. You have a Herb Bergson anecdote or two
    3. You remember the Benzene spill and ensuing toxic cloud
    4. You have eaten or drank at the Buena Vista
    5. You know what the RPM show is

    Gary | Dec 31, 2010 | New Comment
  55. I know it — but can’t tell you where it was — been here 10 years.

    francenestarr | Dec 31, 2010 | New Comment
  56. I meant the House of Donuts location, duh.

    francenestarr | Dec 31, 2010 | New Comment
  57. These are good!!!

    francenestarr | Dec 31, 2010 | New Comment
  58. @jessige
    1857, I believe.

    year of glad | Dec 31, 2010 | New Comment
  59. Thanks, Year of Glad, but I’m wondering about the actual day. So I can plan my one-girl festival. Heh.

    jessige | Dec 31, 2010 | New Comment
  60. Born, raised, and never left here in 33 years, but I’ve never been able to remember the difference between West Duluth and the West End. I’m pretty sure I know the boundary line (not spoiling that for the non-locals), but … er … no clue. Obviously an east ender, here (never lived west of 34th Ave. E.).

    Karasu | Jan 2, 2011 | New Comment
  61. I think West Duluthians are the most sensitive about neighborhood boundaries because West Duluth’s boundary is so simple — the ore docks to the zoo. Most neighborhoods have streets for borders instead of iconic spots.

    Paul Lundgren | Jan 2, 2011 | New Comment
  62. How about if you remember which ‘old guys’ bar downtown was the hotspot before the Mirror Lounge?

    Obviously, a 2-parter.

    jimW | Jan 3, 2011 | New Comment
  63. Hows about this: regardless of how long you have lived here do you;
    1. Love your city and call if home.
    2. Own a home and pay your property taxes.
    3. Volunteer your time to the community in some meaningful way.
    4. Support the local Arts in all its various forms.
    5. Encourage others to come and visit and spend lots of money and then, preferably, leave after a week or two.
    6. Have an innate understanding of what a cool place this is and how lucky you are to be able to scratch out a living so you can remain here.
    If the answer is yes to most of these I would consider you a Native of Duluth!
    PS: Home owning not required, paying taxes,required, even thought the money gets misused on occasion.

    W.T.F | Jan 3, 2011 | New Comment
  64. Jessige:

    Good idea. I’m ipicturing thousands under Enger Tower, hand raised:

    “I, state your name.”
    Reply: “I, state your name.”
    Hereby renounce … and embrace …
    T shirts and a concert afterwards. PDD banners everywhere.
    Imagine all the people …

    spy1 | Jan 4, 2011 | New Comment
  65. Naturalized Duluthian. | Jan 4, 2011 | New Comment
  66. I saw the Benzene spill mentioned and would like to point out that happened even outside of Superior, in Wisconsin. The train wreck was in the Nemadji river. Despite what the news had to say (yes coverage was saying the Nemadji is in Duluth), Superiorites have more claim to the Benzene spill than Duluthians do any day. All of Superior was evacuated and shut down. Benzene needs to go in my humble opinion.

    Jadiaz | Jan 4, 2011 | New Comment
  67. @Spy1: I know! It would be outstanding. And green cards!

    jessige | Jan 5, 2011 | New Comment
  68. I ditto Paul Lundgren ditto-ing TimK. My native Duluthian cred is beyond reproach but I didn’t know a lot of these things, people or places until after they were long gone.

    Some of my bestest friends, heck, most of my bestest friends are people that are “transplants.” And like U.S. immigrants, these people tend to be generally much more patriotic (Duluth-iotic?) than the natural-born citizens. Newcomers help to remind us what’s so great about our little town.

    wildgoose | Jan 5, 2011 | New Comment
  69. I would like to say that no other topic on PDD has had an astounding 69 responses, folks are obviously passionate about this place in spite of the rock tossing hellions. So I would like to comment on the numeral 69. Aside from being only three digits past the groundbreaking Route West, was the year of man on the moon, 2001 A Space Odyssey, Woodstock, it was also the year of my Triumph 650 motorcycle, as well as the dollar amount of my 2007 speeding ticket outside Dubois Wyoming, and also the year of the quarter in my pocket when I got that ticket. To the stone cold sheriff with mirrored sunglasses who asked why I was speeding, I responded, ‘it is the solace of open spaces such as these which makes me want to go faster!’ He looked at the sad Basset Hound in the back seat with pursed lips, and fought back the smile which began to crack on his as he told me to ‘Have a Nice Day.’

    “If 6 was 9, I wouldn’t mind” Jimi Hendrix

    Rock Aloha | Jan 7, 2011 | New Comment
  70. To correct Rock Aloha, many PDD posts have received more than 69 responses. I’m not sure what the record holder is, but two posts from 2010 to mind.

    Tragically, and perhaps naturally, it’s bitching that tends to get people to comment, so “PDD Troll Zone” and “Duluth Google Fiber Movie!” are probably #1 and #2.

    It’s nice to have a fun topic like this that people are eager to chime in about, but I guess overall the quality of a post should not be judged by the quantity of its comments.

    Anyway, you may return now to the topic at hand.

    Paul Lundgren | Jan 7, 2011 | New Comment
  71. Well said, maybe talking about bitching will help people realize that negativity is mostly unproductive, and being positive is better in the long run, perhaps leading to positive posts and perfect pitches more plentifully.

    Despite his extreme challenges, Jimi Hendrix was positive and humble in the face of much adversity. His managers had mafia ties, people were stealing money and time from him, some wanted him dead. At times, his positivity was misconstrued as negative as was in the case of his rendering of the Star Spangled Banner. Though it was his way of protesting the War Profit Machine in hopes of preventing the fruitless slaughter of innocent farmers and their children, some viewed his version as anti patriotic and threatened his life. Still, he stayed true to his vision of how things could be, divisive as the country was, which is what I would propose for 2011 in this beautiful town, in these challenged times, to stay true and positive to your vision of our better world of tomorrow, and realize we’re all neighbors on one tiny planet, local or not, and have a PDNY.

    Always trust a gut feeling, but never believe it is enough- Chinese Proverb

    Rock Aloha | Jan 7, 2011 | New Comment
  72. Native,Transplant?

    I more readily identify with prairie chickens and prairie dogs and the swish of prairie grass.

    You could say prairie is my root culture; my ‘native’ sense of place…where I do occasionally rest my mind among the sweet-earthy smell of a remembered bed of clover.

    I note the bee and the meadowlark too; all tangible yet real reflections, like lost friends making their quiet sounds; almost silent in their breathing.

    Yet Now is another time and what I view out my window is landscape of the big lake…and its is indeed Superior but not necessarily superior to prairie -- yet the two ‘place settings’, they share the same power over me…as this land has cast its spell over a diversity of souls, native and transplant.

    My land now is a strip of sand; an index finger pointing into the big lake even as it links its disconnected beaches to the city by the historical Aerial bridge.

    I recognize I am a guest in this land. A temporary resident and yet inherently a part of the soil and sand that surrounds me in this place.

    Maybe its not necessarily important if one be declared a ‘native’ or otherwise but how one respects this dwelling space in all its rare beauty; all its human diversity and for that indeed…celebrate,eh?

    bk gullsgate | Jan 12, 2011 | New Comment

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