Duluth’s Cascade Park still exists, but it’s nothing compared to what it used to be. In the late 1800s a sandstone pavilion and bell tower overlooked the city, with Clark House Creek running through it and down toward a pond and lush gardens. The bell tower was destroyed during a storm, and Mesaba Avenue eventually ate up part of the park, pushing the creek completely underground. These old postcards offer a look at what was once Duluth’s most extravagant park.
This clip from KDLH-TV 3 is from 10 years ago — June 14, 2006 — the day Duluth Mayor Herb Bergson announced he would not seek re-election the following year in order to focus on solving the city’s unfunded retiree health-care liability without politics interfering. At the time, the city’s health-care debt was projected to reach $300 million by 2014.
In early 2007, Bergson hinted he might run again after all, then announced two months later that he wouldn’t, only to reverse course three months after that and file to run.
His opponents in the race were Charlie Bell, Meg Bye, Joanne Fay, Greg Gilbert, Todd Gremmels, Sunny Helbacka, Reiner Nelson, Don Ness, Jim Pratt, John Socha and Robert Wagner. Bell and Ness advanced to the General Election, with Ness ultimately replacing Bergson as mayor.
After posting about Duluth, the City of Electric Lights, I of course wondered what the deal was with the Gidding’s building. A quick search of the internet produced the photo at left, which depicts the Knox Five and Dime fire of June 10, 1910, and shows the Gidding’s building at left.
A more thorough search pulled up a number of other tidbits:
J.M. Gidding & Co. opened in March of 1904, according to Millinery Trade Review. The magazine noted before the store was set to open that it would be “devoted to the sale of dry goods, millinery and women’s wearing apparel, which, in elegance of equipment and decoration, will surpass anything in that section of the country.” Clothier and Furnisher magazine also reported March 1904 as opening month for Gidding’s, noting the store would have “departments for clothing, furnishing goods, hats and shoes.”
The large, weathered building on the corner of Industrial Avenue and Spring Street in Duluth’s Riverside neighborhood is a bit of a curiosity. Does someone live there? Is it basically a storage building? What was it constructed for?
The “One River, Many Stories” community journalism project in April seemed like a good excuse to track down some answers. The owner of the building, Douglas J. McEneany, did not respond to requests for an interview, but searches at the Duluth Public Library for historical data were fruitful.
This mystery photo comes from the folks at UMD’s Kathryn A. Martin Library. The majorette featured front and center is June Feick, leading her fellow majorettes and the UMD Marching Band during the 1952 Homecoming Parade on Superior Street in Duluth.
The mystery? “June doesn’t appear to have enrolled at UMD for the 1953-54 (school year),” reads the caption on the Kathryn A. Martin Library Facebook page. “We are curious about what happened in her life after she left UMD. Can anyone help us find more information?”
Who are they? W.M. Matheny, A.F. Vance and J.W.A. Abb. When were they leaving Duluth? One hundred years ago — June 2, 1916, at 1:45 p.m. Did they plan to return? Yes. Two days later. It’s all written in pencil on the back of the postcard.
Walter Haugen stands in front of buildings on the 2100 block of East Fifth Street, all planned for demolition this spring.
Walter Haugen stood inside an old corner pharmacy his father operated for close to 70 years on Superior’s East End. A junk pile was pushed near the plate glass front windows. Empty shelving units displayed old merchandise tags. A pungent mercurochrome smell filled the dusty store.
He pointed through a hole in some foam panels overhead. The hole exposed a tin ceiling most likely installed when the building was constructed in 1878. Dozens of silver, square tin tiles decorated the ceiling.
Haugen said someone could be hired to take down the tin, which could be sold for a hefty price to antique dealers or architectural salvage specialists. But it won’t be done.
“It would be like gutting a relative,” he said. “It would be like if you had a pet deer that you raised and someone asked you to chop it up and sell them the meat. You just wouldn’t do it.”
The East End Drug Store, on the corner of Fifth Street and 22nd Avenue, anchors a collection of storefront buildings in the oldest business district in Superior. The 19th Century buildings are expected to meet the wrecking ball in the coming weeks, opening a prime corner to commercial redevelopment.
The Zenith Quartette was a Dutch vocal group based in Duluth. Members shown in this old flier are Carl Hvaal, first tenor; J. Olsen, second bass; O.A. Gronsette, baritone and O.O. Hovday, second tenor.
It was ten years ago — May 24, 2006 — that the NorShor Theatre first hosted exotic dancers, with two simple words on the marquee: “Live Girls.” Later, the words “Adult Club” would appear above the theater’s new business name: the NorShor Experience.