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Category: History

Help in identifying a Duluth location »

I believe this is Garfield Avenue and Superior Street. A relative once had a grocery store directly to the left of Garfield in the photo. I’m pretty sure it is the store with the canopy or the one to the right (west) of that one. Charles Atol was the “original?” owner then later Jimmy Atol. Any information would be appreciated.

From the PDD Archive: Leave a Message at the Beep — Twice But Nice Edition »

Ten years ago Starfire amassed a collection of tapes from answering machines that ended up in thrift stores. “These are spectacular glimpses into peoples lives and I can’t believe they get so casually discarded,” Starfire wrote at the time. Today we resurrect the audio files from the answering machine of the old Twice But Nice store.

Outgoing message

Lamps

Disgusted

Las Vegas

Missy

Bettie Mae

R.I.P. Memorial Community Center »

The community center building at Memorial Park in West Duluth is no more. The PDD Drone did a fly through on Sunday for posterity.
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Duluth Mystery Photo #12: Holt Caterpillar »

This week’s mystery photo is an illustration, really, but the small print indicates it’s a “drawing from photograph.” The text of this 1922 advertisement in the Saturday Evening Post refers to Duluth, which leads one to assume the illustration is based on a photo shot in Duluth. Is it? Does anyone recognize this location 92 years later?

Ye Olde Duluth — Rollerskating Edition »

Duluth's Frank Bryant (right) and Raymond 'King' Kelly after skating 348 miles to set a world distance record for a 24-hour two-man relay, 21-22 January 1915.

I ran across this on the Library of Congress’s Flickr Commons photostream today and got curious. Although the original caption suggests that Bryant and King’s record was set “on ice,” the wheels on the skates the men are wearing make me skeptical–as does the background material on the Frank Bryant collection at the Northeast Minnesota Historical Center.

So, here goes:  From 1913-1916, Duluthian Frank Bryant was a dominant competitive roller skater, holding a world championship in speed skating. The photo here depicts the 25 year-old Michigan native with St. Paulite Kelly, with whom he set a world record distance of 348 miles for a 24-hour two-man relay event–the Minnesotan pair’s performance eclipsed the previous 203-mile mark set just two weeks earlier in New York. A knee injury in 1916 apparently ended his high-level skating career, but he continued skating competitively into the late 1920s. Bryant worked for Duluth’s Union Towing and Wrecking Company for 32 years, retiring in 1955; he died in 1961.

Duluth Man on the Street circa 1994 »

The low quality of this video is not just because it’s 20 years old; it’s also because I was the camera man and I probably neglected to white balance or something.

The low quality of the content is because it’s all made up on the spot. My then-UWS classmate Trent Jameson simply asked me to go shoot some video of people on Superior Street with him.

We move around a little bit, but the end location is the old parking lot across the street from the Electric Fetus, which is now where Pizza Lucé is located.

I don’t know who the interview subjects are, except that the first guy says his name is Fred York, and the woman at the end is Mary Jo Kroska. About two years after this video was shot, Mary Jo and I became colleagues at the Budgeteer News. These days she is an account executive at the Northland’s NewsCenter.

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.

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?

Select Images from East’s 1974 Birch Log »

“Moods” was the theme 40 years ago when Duluth East High School published the 1974 edition of its Birch Log, the school’s yearbook. Some of the many moods were captured by student photographers; we share select images here simply because a copy of the book was sitting in a crate at Globe News in Superior with the meager asking price of $8 on it.

Some of the photos have captions, which you can read by hovering over the image. You can also click on the images to see them larger and read captions, then use the left and right arrow keys to view them as a slide show. If the photo had no caption in the book it is simply titled by the page number it appeared on.


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Duluth Mystery Photo #10: Paul and Virginia Gilmore – Gilmore Comedy Theatre »

This postcard is for sale on eBay under the headline “MN antique real photo rppc post card Gilmore Comedy Theatre Duluth Minn.” The description reads:

This is an antique real photo postcard captioned “No. Shore Blvd., Paul and Virginia Gilmore Summer Stock, Duluth, Minn.” The sign on the building reads “The Gilmore Comedy Theatre.” Just below the caption in the lower left corner, you can see a road sign for Motorola TV Sales and Service. Printed on Kodak paper (stamp box indicates in use from 1950 and later).

So, who were Paul and Virginia Gilmore and what was the deal with their theater? Well, the internet provides some easy answers this week, so there’s not much mystery in this week’s mystery photo.
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Jolly Fisher: “If it swims, we have it.” »

Jolly Fisher is one of Duluth’s best-remembered old restaurants. It was in business for 50 years, from 1942 to 1992. The original location was at 15 E. Superior St., where the Duluth Technology Village sits today. After 1979 it was at 10 W. Superior St., presently the Minnesota Power Plaza.

Jumbo fried shrimp was the specialty, but as the slogan noted, Jolly Fisher had everything that swims. Chet and Mary Turnbull were the original owners, followed by Paul Andrews. “Skipper Andy” and Gloria Maras ran it for its last 30 years, until competition from Red Lobster proved to be too much.
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Ten Years Ago: The Dames open for Melvins »

On March 19 and 20, 2004, a little Duluth band called the Dames opened for Melvins at Grumpy’s Bar & Grill in Coon Rapids. Unlike a lot of old, abandoned blogs, Tony Bennett’s Journal is still parked on the web with the story of his brush with the influential punk metal band.

They’re my heroes, you know. They’re my band. Just like there are tons of rockers out there with old Metallica or Kiss or Led Zeppelin fixations (me included), the Melvins are up there just like that. They’re an obsession for me. So it’s a little weird suddenly standing there with all three of them, shaking hands and having Buzz say “Yeah, I remember you guys from last year; you were good.” And then following that up with “Did you cut your hair?”

Yes, king Buzzo asked me about my hair. Does it get weirder than that for a Melvins nut from Duluth? I don’t know.

Duluth “Underground Historian” »

The SubStreet Underground page yesterday released one of it most compelling stories, about the demolition of a St. Paul power station.

While the story is about St. Paul, the photographer/archivist/ storyteller behind the project is Duluthian Dan “Glass.” His page of Duluth projects is here. If you have yet to see Dan’s work, now is a good time.

Duluth Mystery Photo #9: Father Daughter? »

We’ve had some good luck identifying locations and other details of mystery photos, but this one is a doozy. We have no clues at all, other than the assertion that it was shot in Duluth and whatever can be gathered by looking at it. Good luck. It looks like a late winter shot, so it seemed appropriate for this week, as the snow melts.

Do you find green beer to be bilious? »

This ad is from 1906.

Duluth Mystery Photo #8: Darling Blond »

This photo is for sale on eBay under the title “Vintage Photo Girl Child Tricycle Antique Cars Duluth Mn Houses Picture #166.”

The description notes it is “a great vintage snapshot picture of darling blond girl riding a tricycle on a street in Duluth Minnesota. Picture is from the 1920. In the background are old cars and houses. Found in a photo album of pictures of a family living in Duluth.”

Can anyone identify the house? Pin down the neighborhood? Identify the darling blond?

Duluth Mystery Photo #7: Mr. Green »

Is Green the photographer’s name or the dude in the photo? Who is this dapper West Ender?

Meet the Notorious Madam Gain »

Read an article on the Queen of Duluth’s Underworld, circa 1908.

Yoshikas Sauna Revisited »

On the Bumper to Bumper show on KFAN Radio, broadcast out of the Twin Cities and on the air in Duluth on KQDS AM 1490, host Dan Barreiro and his crew took on the subject of a new “cuddle business” opening near Sacramento, Calif. The subject turned to a “health club” called Yoshiko’s Sauna in Minneapolis that was in business during the 1990s. Later in the show they discovered an old post about Duluth’s Yoshikas Sauna on Perfect Duluth Day and … well … that’s the clip above.

Duluth Mystery Photo #6: Snowdrift Family »

This image seems timely considering recent weather in Duluth, but it’s actually from 1935. It’s an “Illustrated Current News” poster, published by the Marlin Co. The website bonanza.com is selling it for twenty bucks under the headline “1935 news poster: Duluth Minnesota snowstorm; Farnam family ice home.”

The caption on the poster reads something like: “The family of Clinton Farnam was completely isolated during a recent snowstorm … (then it gets hard to read) … they had to dig a tunnel from the doorway to the roadway, which (blurry again) … Photo shows family with friends just after they had evacuated themselves.”

So, this week’s mystery is less of a mystery than usual, but can anyone fill in the blurry parts of the caption and tell us more about Clinton Farnam, his family, and the snowstorm of 1935?
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