Perfect Duluth Day | Duluth News Events Music and More



Tony D. - Author Archive

Duke of Duluth Revisited »

Back in June, 2010, PDD featured a post about the photo above, which was labelled “The Duke of Duluth.”

We have been digging into all things “Duke of Duluth” and “Duluth Duke(s)” over at Zenith City Online. The first of three stories on the topic posts today and discusses two literary dukes of Duluth: a 1905 Broadway play and a 1926 novel. And the story just may shed some light on that photo. You can read it here.

Homegrown in Memorium »

Today marks the passing of Stella the Dog, a Staffordshire Terrier/Australian Shepherd mix and my great companion, just two-days shy of her 15th birthday. Stella is noted in Homegrown lore as the dog who, in 2000, destroyed one of the first two official Homegrown kickballs roughly 30 seconds after Starfire arrived at Chester Park and tossed the newly purchased balls onto the field. She spent most of the rest of the day carrying its carcass, occasionally thrashing it about.

In memory of Stella’s remarkable spirit I humbly request that members of the Friday and Saturday night teams take the field this Saturday under Stella’s motto:

Carpe calcitrant pila!

Smart as she was, that dog never could get her Latin declensions right.

Zenith City Online is … online ! »

I just wanted to drop those PDDers with a taste for local history a reminder that Zenith City Online is up and running at I’m hoping you stop by Zenith City after your morning check of PDD for your daily dose of Duluth history with “This Day in Duluth.” This month’s issue also features … (more…)

Where in Duluth? »

Where in Duluth?

Zenith City Online »

Coming January 2012.

Discover more at

Need a Nice Piece of Glass? »

I have a 4′ x 8′ sheet of picture window glass, double glazed and (I assume) gas filled.

It’s yours for $50 if you pick it up yourself. Bring some friends: it’s one heavy piece of glass.

M’haha Window on “History Detectives” »

Duluth’s “Minnehaha” Tiffany window (sometimes referred to as the “Hiawatha” window) designed by Duluth’s Ann Weston—and a watercolor associated with it—will be featured on next week’s “History Detectives” on PBS North. Look for Wade Lawrence, former director of Glensheen, for his expert analysis of the window.

Here are the air times/dates/PBS description:

Tuesday, June 28 – 7pm on PBS North
Tuesday, June 28 – midnight on PBS North
Saturday, July 2 – 6pm on PBS 2ndChance
Sunday, July 3 – 5pm on PBS North

Was SMDC name change Essential? »

I just saw a piece on NBC about how Gap changed its logo and then changed back to the original after a whole lot of internet chatter by graphic designers criticizing the new logo. (Both logos below.)

Corporate identity is a huge issue for many businesses, and this one seems to have backfired on Gap. It is very, very expensive for a large organization to change its name: all printed materials, signage, marketing material, vehicle graphics, etc., with the old name and logo have to be changed.

So that got me to thinking about SMDC’s recent name change to Essentia Health. Personally, I don’t like the change: the name sounds like something thought up by a research group and could be used to market some kind of dietary supplement for seniors. And it kind of irks me that SMDC would spend the money to make this seemingly unnecessary move when so many people are fighting the high cost of health care.

Of course, I may be overreacting. Anyone else have a problem with the SMDC name change?

DEDA Approves Budget for Norshor »

DEDA Approves Budget for Norshor
Posted on the WDIO website at: 08/25/2010 9:22 PM

The Duluth Economic Development Authority approved a capital improvement budget on Wednesday for the Norshor Theatre.

The City of Duluth purchased the building in June, for $2.6 million. Fundraising is now underway for renovation work.

DEDA voted Wednesday night to put almost $100,000 towards those efforts. The Duluth Playhouse is managing the Norshor Theater and intends to have a full line-up of entertainment this fall.


I’ll say it before Paul does: NorShor, with a cap S.

Mac repair in Duluth? »

If anyone knows of a good Mac repair person in town, I’d sure appreciate the contact info.

Duluth Plaza Super One … Is it just me? »

I shop at the Co-op, Cub, and Super One, depending on what I need and where I am at the time. I’ve noticed that the Plaza Super One has much higher prices and lower quality produce than the other Super One stores. There are also fewer healthy product alternatives and generic alternatives at this location. And each time I go there, at least one of the items I buy does not ring up for the advertised sale price.

The cynical side of me wonders if the owners might be consciously taking advantage of the Plaza’s customer base, which appears to be of a lower income than that of their other stores — many of whom don’t have a car to use to get to another store.

Does anyone else share this perception or experience, or is it just me? Because lately I’ve developed a new, highly cynical theory on the human race: People are not essentially good, but they are not inherently evil either;  rather, they are prone to do the wrong thing (or the lazy thing), especially if they think no one is watching or that they won’t get caught.

Online Meds? »

Does anyone out there in PDD land have experience buying legit prescription meds online? Ideally some place inexpensive and trustworthy, of course.

A Little Kozy History »

An earlier post about a car hitting the Kozy brought a discussion of the building, so I thought I’d share what I know of the building. So here’s some info on the Kozy we at X-Comm have gathered for a forthcoming book, Duluth’s Grand Old Buildings.

“Picture Duluth” Book Launch »

Please join us this coming Friday to celebrate Duluth Photographer Dennis O’Hara and the release of his first book, Picture Duluth: Photographs of the Zenith City.

Day: Friday, May 14
Time: 7 – 9 p.m.
Place: Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center (Canal Park)
Cause: Ten percent of the sales of “Picture Duluth” will go to support the LSMVC.*
ETC: Author presentation starts at 7:30; refreshments served.

To check out the book, including a online condensed eBook version, click here.

*Special prices on books, and everyone who buys a book or donates just $5 to the LSMVC will receive as our thanks either one of four vintage postcard reproduction art prints or a copy of Greetings from the Arrowhead: the North Shore & Canoe Country.

Lost Dog? »

Anyone out there missing a dog tonight? There’s a sweet pit bull or boxer (it’s dark) brindle colored, limping around by my garage, but every time I approach her she runs off. The pup is limping pretty hard and is likely scared. I’m on Chester Parkway down from Skyline on the west side of the creek. 310-6541.

Holy X-Comm! Holiday Book Sale and Author Signing! »

Duluth Publishers Holy Cow! Press and X-communication have teamed up for this very special sale and author signings

Date: Sunday, December 6, 2009; noon to 4 p.m.

Location: Spiritual Deli, 3 West Superior Street, Duluth


• 10% of proceeds go to the Duluth chapter of C.H.U.M.

• All prices greatly reduced—up to 66% off!

• Refreshments will be served

Special: Spend $20 on X-Comm titles and receive a free book or historic art print of the Aerial Transfer Bridge, Incline Railway, Enger Tower, or Old Central and Minnesota Point from the top of the hillside (scroll down to see examples on flyer).

(Note: We do not have credit card capability at these events, so please bring cash or checks.)

Author Signing Schedule:

Chuck Frederick • Leatherheads of the North: The Duluth Eskimos • 12 – 1 pm

Duluth Poet Laureate Jim Johnson • Dovetailed Corners • 1 – 2 pm

Denny Anderson • Good Night, Everybody…and Be Kind • 2 – 3 pm

Jim Heffernan • Cooler Near the Lake: Collected Columns • 2:30 – 4 pm

Anthony Bukoski • Twelve Below Zero • 3 – 4 pm

Jim Perlman • Beloved on the Earth • 12 – 4 pm

Tony Dierckins • Crossing the Canal: Duluth’s Aerial Bridge • 12 – 4 pm


Garage Sale / Publisher’s Clearance Sale! »

118 Chester Parkway. Fri 10-6, Sat 8-2. Dining set, couch, library table, books, misc. household items, and much more.

Using this opportunity to create room in my warehouse (some call it a “garage”), so ALL X-comm books will be on sale. C’mon—stock up on Holiday gifts!

Prices slashed: Coffee Table books like Crossing the Canal and Zenith: A Postcard perspective of Historic Duluth (hardcover edition!) will go for just $15; bestseller Will to Murder for $10; paperbacks like Leatherheads of the North, Goodnight, Everybody…and be Kind, True North, and The Mosquito Book only $5.


Special: Buy any book and get a copy of Greetings from the Arrowhead for just $5; buy $20 worth of X-comm books and take a copy home free! (more…)

Got an opinion on the Old Jail? »



Tonight is your last chance to make your voice heard to those who will make the decision: the Duluth City Council.

The Duluth Heritage Preservation Commission has denied a permit to St. Louis County to demolish the Jail, which is protected from demolition under Duluth law as a landmark building. The County is appealing this decision, and the only way for the Council to overturn it is to essentially break Duluth law, which would establish a precedent that puts all of our historic assets at risk.

The appeal is on tonight’s City Council agenda. If you have something to say about the building’s demolition (on either side of the issue), you get three minutes to make your point.

I am biased to the Jail’s preservation (I write and publish Duluth history books and sit on the HPC), so I also encourage those who don’t wish to speak but who want to see the Jail saved simply show up to show support.

You can learn more about the issue in a letter to the Editor in today’s DNT penned by Richard Moe, a Duluth native and the president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation:

Have you seen this dog? »

One of my dogs, Gilda, decided to take herself for a walk today and she has yet to return. She’s tall, reddish in color with white marking (Rhodesian Ridgeback mix), and a sweet, if skiddish, dog. Chester Creek/East Hillside. Please call if you find her. 218-310-6541dscn03911

Can the Old County Jail be saved? »



Folks, as you may know, the county has long wanted to tear down the historic St. Louis County Courthouse to create parking spaces. They are now pushing forward with those plans.

The jail is part of Duluth’s Civic Center, Duluth’s one-stop shop for some very impressive Classical/ Renaissance architecture. The center includes the St. Louis County Courthouse, Duluth City Hall, and the U.S. Federal Building—as well as the county jail, the Cass Gilbert-designed Soldiers & Sailors Monument (Fortitude Defending the Flag), and a fountain. The courthouse, which went up in 1909, was designed by famed architect Daniel H. Burnham, who among other accomplishments oversaw the entire design of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Abraham Olstead and William J. Sullivan designed the 1923 county jail, but did so in a manner in keeping with Burnham’s original idea and under Burnham’s direction. The gray granite building includes features such as Doric columns and lions heads. The jail is adorned with symbols of justice, including Roman fasces (a bundle of birch rods wrapped around an axe).

(The whole complex was part of the “City Beautiful” movement, a progressive reform movement of architecture and urban planning popular in the late 1890s and early twentieth century—it was thought that a beautiful city would create moral and civic virtue, people would behave, and the lives of inner-city poor would improve.)

The building is on the National Register of Historic Place and has been designated a Duluth Landmark property. Twice it has appeared on the Minnesota Historic Preservation Office’s “Ten Most Endangered Buildings” list.

Contrary to popular belief, the building can be successfully adapted for reuse, though it would be an expensive venture the county can’t afford. I know not everyone cares about saving our old buildings–and there are valid reasons the county has no more interest in maintaining the building. But to many like me, buildings such as the jail reflect our social and cultural heritage, and an effort should be made to at least attempt to sell the building to a party willing to invest in it–at the very least, demolition should only be discussed when all other options have been exhausted. They have not.

Technically, since the building has landmark status, the Duluth Heritage Preservation Commission (disclaimer: I sit on this commission) can do little else but deny any work on the building that does not meet it’s plan for renovation, and demolition does not fit the plan. Technically, the City Council can override the HPC, but only if the work on the building fits the Secretary of Interior’s standards for preservation projects, and again demolition does not fit such plans. But that does not mean it won’t happen.

If the future of this building matters to you and you want your voice heard on this issue, there will be a public hearing before the HPC at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24 in the City Council Chambers in City Hall where you can speak your mind. Please attend.

And if you have some time tomorrow, at 2 p.m. folks are gathering at the Jail to show their support for the building. Please come.