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Duluth’s Old Street Signs

Mundane fact of the day: Before Duluth’s street signs were white on green they were black on white. For a while after the switch the old signs were piled up at the spot where Upper and Lower Michigan Street meet. I spent a few minutes browsing them on Jan. 30, 1999, but didn’t take any home as a souvenir.

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10 Comment(s)

  1. That was the day I turned 14. This pic is cool. The end.

    EvilResident | Feb 25, 2012 | New Comment
  2. It’s a great picture!

    greg cougar conley | Feb 25, 2012 | New Comment
  3. Did the city hold a big “garage sale” of sorts, and sell those signs?

    I vaguely remember hearing about such a sale, and I’ve seen some of those black-and-white street signs posted in yards around the area, presumably by people who live / lived on those roads back in the day.

    akjuneau | Feb 25, 2012 | New Comment
  4. I love those old signs. Some are still up, right alongside the new green ones: Woodland and Arrowhead; 4th st and 21st ave e. (I think); 8th St and 27th ave. e. (again, relying on my faulty memory).

    One of the first things I noticed/loved when I moved to Duluth, was that the city preserved some of these old signs alongside the new ones. To me it spoke volumes about the city’s commitment to preserving the old.

    emmadogs | Feb 25, 2012 | New Comment
  5. Yes, akjuneau, the city did sell the signs. I bought one, but I don’t remember exactly what it was (Seventh Street or Avenue and something else). I lost it not long after while moving to a new apartment.

    Lithis | Feb 25, 2012 | New Comment
  6. That pile is a government oversight failure.

    Who owns the signs? The taxpayers. However taking one from that pile is stealing. The people should have the right to re-purchase those signs in an open, free auction.

    It would not have taken many hours of Union time to dismantle and preserve those signs. Signs like those sell on eBay for over $100.

    Vintage Street Signs on eBay

    Revenue generated from the signs goes to emergency street repair fund.

    DontTreadOnMe | Feb 25, 2012 | New Comment
  7. Disregard my previous comment, a friend of mine informed me the city did sell the signs, but many were damaged from being piled up like the photo.

    At least some of you lucky enough to get them know their worth beyond the priceless value of nostalgia.

    I was out of state (and the loop) when the sale went on. The word is the sale was poorly advertised.

    Does anyone know where to find / buy more of these signs?

    DontTreadOnMe | Feb 25, 2012 | New Comment
  8. I doubt that any of these signs are still around other than in private ownership. This photo is from 13 years ago.

    Barrett Chase | Feb 25, 2012 | New Comment
  9. I worked for an old 3M chemist who happened to be the inventor of reflective paint which utilized the process of using microscopic glass bubbles in paint to reflect light, or in the case of the Apollo missions, to create the world’s blackest paint by using tiny black glass bubbles to absorb sunlight. He also invented scratch n’ sniff stickers which used the same concept, glass bubbles filled with scent. This dude ultimately created the demise of all these old signs.

    Herzog | Feb 26, 2012 | New Comment
  10. I just found another shot, from a different angle, same day.

    Paul Lundgren | May 7, 2012 | New Comment

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