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Duluth Mystery Photo #11: 1891 Couple

This photo is dated 1891 and is from the studio of Lars N. Liden, 1619 W. Superior St. in Duluth’s West End, a location that is presently a parking lot. That’s all we’ve got to go on. It’s a long shot, but can anyone name these two 19th Century Duluthians? Or at least write some good fan fiction about them?

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7 Comment(s)

  1. Well, both look to be about 16 years old or so. Also, I don’t think either is wearing a wedding ring, but can’t tell for sure. Additionally, in this case the male is sitting while the female is standing over him — a reversal of traditional gender placement in old photos?

    So I wonder if they are siblings.

    P.S. As young as this kid is, that is some mustache. I am betting he could have grown a mighty mullet if he had lived a century later.

    emmadogs | Mar 31, 2014 | New Comment
  2. Wait, did I see that wrong? Is that a mustache or a shadow? Do I need bifocals Hmmm.

    emmadogs | Mar 31, 2014 | New Comment
  3. Yeah, that looks like a 16-year-old peach-fuzz mustache. And there are no rings, so we probably are indeed looking at siblings.

    On the other hand, how could that young lady possibly be single? I mean, with the way she’s showing off her hankie like that, I’d be surprised if she made it out of the West End without five proposals.

    Paul Lundgren | Mar 31, 2014 | New Comment
  4. Sadly, the fiery ol’ Swede Lars Liden appears to have been a drunken jerk. From the March 10, 1911, Duluth News Tribune:

    Paul Lundgren | Mar 31, 2014 | New Comment
  5. I Googled it, but couldn’t find when divorce became legal in Minnesota, especially with the wife filing, and especially with the grounds being abuse, and finally, especially with the wife asking for child custody and property settlement. If Minnesota was offering this in 1891, then this rates highly in the reasons I moved here from Nebraska.

    In the meantime, I sure hope old Lars kept his paws off of these two in the photo. And I hope his wife got her fair share of this photo’s proceeds.

    emmadogs | Mar 31, 2014 | New Comment
  6. Oh hey, I botched the citation on that clip initially. It is from 1911; I’ve corrected it now.

    That date and source I originally noted was Feb. 19, 1891, Duluth Herald, which is another story. I don’t have the clip from that, but it indicates Lars Liden was brought before the court for assaulting his wife.

    Paul Lundgren | Mar 31, 2014 | New Comment
  7. Turns out Lars had two wives. He was married in Sweden at age 20 in 1878 and two kids later, with his wife living in St. Paul, Lars filed for divorce in Feb. 1901, according to the St. Paul Globe.

    A June 1905 Herald item notes a new wife and the birth of a baby girl.

    A year before the apparent second divorce, according to the Feb. 8, 1910 Herald, Lars was arrested for shooting an air rifle at a neighbor boy.

    Lars was the definition of unruly.

    spy1 | Mar 31, 2014 | New Comment

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