History Posts

Happy Thanksgiving from Bessie

Bessie Thanksgiving  Postcard 1908

Sulfide Mining Debate + The Holidays = Watch This


Surely sulfide mining is close to the top of the things Minnesotans can disagree about with family and friends as we enter the holidaze. This two-minute video depicts one way the outcome of the PolyMet question could play out. Great for captive audiences who are too stuffed to resist. Enjoy!

Video Archive: Deer hunters outside Chet & Emil’s


This film, circa 1975, was shot by the late Emil Praslowicz in Birnamwood, Wis., and digitized by his grandson, Kip Praslowicz.

New Radisson Hotel coming to Duluth Gateway!

They’re going to spend $3.6 million. Isn’t that a lot of money?

MT 19670422 Radisson Duluth

(From the Minneapolis Tribune, April 22, 1967.)

The Mystery of Chuck’s TV


I have a mystery on my hands. About a year ago while driving over West Ninth Street, just before the intersection of North Eighth Avenue and East Orange Street, something caught my eye — what appeared to be an old car in the woods. After a couple passes, I could see that it was indeed an old car. Curious, once home I started some research. On the newly updated Google maps this past spring, I could see the car in question. Checking the DNR Historical Airphotos, I found that up to 1961 there are what appears to be two buildings, houses or perhaps a house and some other type of building on that very corner. Sometime between 1961 and 1972 they were torn down, as they no longer appear on the 1972 imagery.

Video Archive: Gary Doty wins second term


For your Election Day amusement we take a trip to 1995.

Twenty years ago, Gary Doty defeated challenger Herb Bergson to earn his second term as Duluth mayor. Doty served a total of three terms, holding office from 1992 to 2004. He did not seek a fourth term. Bergson became mayor in 2004, defeating Charlie Bell.

Last Boo on Grandview



This is the last year the house on Grandview in the Chester Park area will be haunted. After 25 years, that’s sad, but thanks to the owners for such good times. Glad it was your house and not mine.

How to see Duluth and Superior on electric cars

How to see Duluth and Superior

The date on this bad boy is 1909. The cover image seems to suggest there was a floating railway perpendicular to the shipping canal where people could watch flaming ships torch the city.

Old Casino Signs

Casino SignsI noticed these in the alley behind Fond-du-Luth Casino yesterday. Anyone got a pickup truck and a nice loft space?

Keep your weather eye open. And use Duluth Imperial flour.

US Weather and Wind Signal Flags

John Vachon’s Duluth Milk Company Photos

Child drinking milk

MPR News did a series of stories on John Vachon earlier this year, which was noted at the time on PDD along with a Duluth Milk Company photo. Today we present the rest of the Duluth Milk Company photos and a link to the lot of 61 Duluth images Vachon shot in August of 1941, from the collection of 170,000 photographs from 1935 to 1945 created by the United States Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information.

Duluth Population: 1860 to 2010

Duluth Population Chart

Since the only long-range Duluth population chart on the Internet seems to be an old one published on Perfect Duluth Day before the 2010 figures were available, here’s a new one.

Trampled By Turtles Commemorative Handprints Project


Postcards from Chester Park

Scene in Duluth Chester Park

“Chester Park is popular both in summer and winter,” according to old postcard propaganda. “In it is located one of America’s highest ski jumps and also Chester Creek, one of several flowing thru the city in which trout may be caught. Duluth is the only city in the United States where trout fishing is possible within city limits.”

Well, we know the famous ski jumps came down in 2014, but there seems to be another fact in there worth examining. Was Duluth at one time really the only city with trout fishing? Prove it or debunk it, dear reader.

In the meantime, here are more snappy postcards …

Know Your Duluth Liquor Laws!


Over the next week or so, Zenith City Online is publishing five separate stories on the history of Duluth’s liquor laws so that voters and elected officials can better understand the historic context of the issue they face in this November’s citywide referendum. I have included links to all five stories below so you can read them now. This issue is embedded in misinformation and myth. In fact, former Mayor Herb Bergson recently told Zenith City Online he vetoed a 2007 City Council resolution to request the repeal of the 1891 law because he believes that all of Lakeside and Lester Park was a gift to Duluth from the philanthropic Marshall sisters (Julia and Caroline) and that Myrtle Marshall, who fought to keep the law in place in 1973, was one of those sisters—none of which is true. So here’s a chance to catch up on Duluth liquor history so you can make a well-informed decision on this issue.