History Posts

The Duke of Duluth, Redux

"Finds Duke to be Insane," Duluth Weekly Heard, 15 January 1908

“Finds ‘Duke’ to be Insane,” Duluth Weekly Herald, 15 January 1908

In the interest of furthering the ongoing fascination with the “Duke of Duluth” on PDD [1][2] and in the broader Duluth community, I submit this 15 January 1908 clipping from the Duluth Weekly Herald. Given the description of the unfortunate Arthur J. Baird–”claimed to have acquired his nickname by reason of his hirsute adornment, his education and general demeanor“–it seems possible that he might in fact be the same man in the photograph nemadji posted in 2010.

It would appear that some members of the local community, inspired by Nat M. Wills 1905 musical “The Duke of Duluth,” bestowed the mocking title on Baird, but that’s the limit of what I’ve (accidentally) found.  Stay tuned for more fascinating updates if/when they appear.

Mystery Photo #21: What was Cook’s Place?

Cook's Place Duluth Cook's Place - Good for 10 cents in trade

For sale on a couple websites are tokens for Cook’s Place, 527 W. Michigan St., Duluth. What was Cook’s Place? The address puts it on the western end of where the Duluth Public Library stands today.

A listing on tokencatalog.com offers what appears to be a list of various names the business may have gone by over the years: “Moses S. Cook Saloon 1898-1912; Mayer J. Cook Saloon 1912-1916, Beverages & Restaurant 1920; Homer L. Cook Restaurant 1937-1942; J. Earl Cook Confectionery 1947-1958.”

That seems to raise some questions, though, like: How did so many different Cooks carry out 60 or more years of business in one spot? When was it called Cook’s Place? Is Mayer a first name? There was no “mayor” of Duluth named J. Cook, although Jay Cooke played a big part in Duluth’s history in the late 1800s.

What’s the deal with Cook’s Place?

Do you remember Fox Night?

In Great Britain, November 4th is Fawkes Night, but in Duluth in the 1970s and 80s, the night before Halloween was “Fox Night.” It was a warm-up for Halloween, with no costumes and no candy — instead it focused entirely on vandalism and mischief.

I’ve talked to plenty of people about this, and for the most part, people don’t know what I’m talking about. But people who grew up in a certain time in a certain place know it all too well. And it’s interesting to think about how this happened. How did Guy Fawkes Night make its way to the midwest, change its date, and alter its name for this brief period of time?

Duluth was not alone in the celebration, if you can call it that. Wikipedia calls it Mischief Night, and pins it down as a primarily East Coast phenomenon with roots reaching back to the 18th century. It lists many alternative names, but does not mention Fox Night.

  • Hackers Night
  • Goosey Night
  • Cabbage Night
  • Gate Night
  • Mat Night
  • Devil’s Night
  • Mischievous Night
  • Miggy Night
  • Tick-Tack Night
  • Corn Night
  • Trick Night
  • Micky Night
  • Cabbage Stalk Night
  • Mizzy Night

In 2003, a bunch of PDDers brought back an adult version of Fox Night, which was basically barhopping while acting like a jerk. If memory serves, it involved a lot of duct tape and firecrackers.

So what are your memories of Fox Night? Did you participate? Were you ever toilet papered, egged, or soaped? When did it originate here? When did it end?

Help searching Duluth addresses for old businesses

I’m a bit of a armchair history buff, especially when it comes to Duluth and the surrounding area. I love absorbing historic information, but one thing has eluded me: finding out information about old businesses and such. I just want to be able to type in an address and see old directories, find out the history, but I’ve had zero luck.

I tried Ancestry.com, which is close, but you can only search the old city directories by a person’s name, which does not help at all if I don’t know who to look for. I know there must be something out there. I know people on PDD seemingly have this very ability as they’ve contributed information on past posts, like “(insert business)” was listed at such address in 1985,” etc. So how is it done? Is there any online resource that can feed my history needs? Your suggestions and assistance would be greatly appreciated by this curious minded fellow.

New calendar editor and a 2004 flashback

Tony Bennett wore cardigansWe threw all the résumés up in the air and one of them landed on top. Tony Bennett is the new editor of the PDD Calendar. His credentials include writing for nearly every publication in town, fronting the band Cars & Trucks, working a camera for TV shows such as Almanac North and The PlayList and for dissecting the work of “positive bros” as the Duluth News Tribune‘s music critic.

Tony can be reached via e-mail at tony @ perfectduluthday.com or calendar @ perfectduluthday.com.

Duluth Target Discount Store opens in 1962

Duluth Target Store 1962

Built in 1962, the Duluth Target store was one of four Targets built in the company’s inaugural year. Roseville was the first store; the other two opened in St. Louis Park and Crystal. Target President Doug Dayton said the new stores would, “combine the best of the fashion world with the best of the discount world, a quality store with quality merchandise at discount prices, and a discount supermarket.”

Five-minute excerpt of Minnesota Woolen film from 1959

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnuoC-QtB9Y&feature=youtu.be

It’s been over a year since a post was published on PDD inquiring about the history of Duluth-based clothing manufacturer Minnesota Woolen. The first thing that came out of that post was the discovery that the Northeast Minnesota Historical Center Collection has a 16mm film about the company, but does not have a projector. Well, a projector was found this week and loaned for a little screening.

Photo Tour of Nopeming

Nopeming photo by Andrew Perfetti

Photographer Andrew Perfetti has posted an interesting series of photos of his time “discovering the abandoned hospital on the hill.”

For background, there’s a history of Nopeming on Zenith City Online. Also, check out Substreet’s “The Nopeming Stories: Recollecting a Century of Use and a Decade of Abandonment.”

Nopeming Chateau Roof

Duluth Mystery Photo #20: Who was F. W. Miller?

F. W. Miller Residence on Park Point

He had a house on Park Point. That’s all we know.

Last One Leaving Duluth Billboard – Myth Confirmed!

leavingduluth

This (in)famous billboard has been discussed many times, but it seemed there was never any conclusive evidence of it’s existence, until now.

Mayor Fedo was able to dig up a copy from his records, thus solving the mystery of the billboard that kicked Duluth while it was already down.

Pride of the Twin Ports Area Game

Pride of the Twin Ports Area Game Board

From the heyday of Monopoly comes … Pride of the Twin Ports Area Game! It doesn’t appear to be something local marketing geniuses came up with, but rather a product of a company called Citipride of America, which probably made different versions of the game for different cities across the country. Perhaps the local Chamber of Commerce sold sponsorships on the game board to various businesses to raise money to have the game made, and then sales of the game raised money for the chamber … or something. That’s all conjecture; there doesn’t seem to be any info online about the game or the company.

So, does anyone else have this game? Can anyone put a year on it? It’s no older than 1978, because the instructions contain historical info about the sponsoring local businesses and mention that Northwest Office Supply expanded in 1978. It’s no more recent than 1982, because the Normandy Hotel was taken over by Holiday Inn & Suites that year.

The best fishing and hunting and general outing in America

The Duluth District - 1903

Ten Years Ago: The End of Salsafication in Duluth

ChiChi

On this date in history — Sept. 19, 2004 — Chi-Chi’s Mexican Restaurante in Duluth closed following corporate bankruptcy. It had been located in the Fitger’s Brewery Complex for 20 years. Baja Billy’s Cantina and Grill replaced it in 2005, but closed four years later. Mexico Lindo opened in April 2010 and remains there today.

Found Atlantean Artifact

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3JjX69IA-w

R.I.P. Irving Recreation Center

Irving Recreation Center 2014

Demolition of the Irving Recreation Center has been taking place this week. Above is a photo of the rubble. Below is a shot from February 2013.

Irving-Rec-Center-February-2013