R.I.P. Posts

R.I.P. Nick Bockwinkel

Nick Bockwinkel 1987

Professional wrestling great Nick Bockwinkel died Saturday night at age 80. The image above is from what was probably his last appearance in Duluth, as special referee during a World Wrestling Federation card at the Duluth Arena in 1987. (WWF is now World Wrestling Entertainment; Duluth Arena is now the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center Arena.)

Jade Fountain closed; Gannucci’s expansion planned

Gannucci's Italian Market and Jade Fountain

Within six months of acquiring the Jade Fountain, Bill Kalligher locked the big red doors to the iconic Chinese restaurant. He reached the decision in September, fed up with a dirty kitchen he says he’s still trying to clean, alleged poor product quality from food suppliers and a box filled with bounced checks from customers.

R.I.P. Mr. Richard H. Gastler

Richard Gastler

Longtime Denfeld High School economics teacher Dick Gastler died on Thursday, Oct. 15, at the age of 79. Among many great teachers at Denfeld, Mr. Gastler would have to be considered the most famous of his era. He was a ham. He broke into song all the time. He frequently digressed into stories about growing up in Chaska. He wore cheesy leisure suits, famously sporting the same one every day during a stretch of 1984 when he was raising money to fight hunger — a stunt that landed him on Good Morning America. The suit was burned when Mr. Gastler reached his fundraising goal. The ashes are still in a trophy case at the school.

R.I.P. old Norm’s Beer & Brats building, Cedar Lounge as it once was and the Loading Zone in all it’s glory

Norm's Beer & Brats

A few notes on Superior bars:

Norm’s Beer & Brats held a “Final Bash” over the weekend. According to its Facebook page, the bar will be moving early next week. “The old building will still be open for business tomorrow for tacos (since last week got all kinds of messed up with the power outage), and all week including Friday and Saturday,” reads a post published today. “Our new home is currently known as the Cedar Lounge. Be sure to check it out! We need to clear out the rest of our booze so our specials will be epic this week, stay tuned! Thanks to all that came to the big shindig, we had a blast!”

R.I.P. Edgewood Joshua Smith

Photo by Paul Van Antwerp

Photo by Paul Van Antwerp

We are crushed at Perfect Duluth Day to learn our great friend Edgewood Smith died on July 15.

On PDD he went by the handle “Edgeways” and was one of the earliest contributors to the website. He also frequently DJed The Local on KUMD, using the moniker DJ-E.

Edgewood was employed for 18 years providing services to people with disabilities and was also an advocate for them as a volunteer. In addition, he served as an election judge in Duluth, was a member of the Duluth Public Arts Commission and helped to restore Sacred Heart Music Center, among other contributions to the community. He was a graduate of Northland College in Ashland.

He was born Joshua Aaron Samuel Smith, and officially changed his name to Edgewood Joshua Smith when he married Bridget Riversmith 22 years ago, though he had been going by Edgewood long before that.

Jefferson People’s House closing July 12

Jefferson People's HouseJefferson People’s House will close July 12, according to an announcement on the Facebook page of the worker-owned cafe, bookstore and social-justice community spot that specialized in coffee and toast.

It’s the fourth piece of coffee-shop related news in recent weeks. Jitter’s has changed ownership and become Lake Superior Bakehouse, Vietnamese Lotus Inn has reopened as VN Coffee House and Cookie Temptations has opened a coffee shop in the Fitger’s Brewery Complex.

Jefferson People’s House is located in a storefront just below Anytime Fitness on the corner of 15th Avenue East and Jefferson Street in Duluth’s Endion neighborhood.

Below is the Facebook message to customers:

Dear Cherished Community,

June 1st, 2014, we started a venture that has involved love, affection, fierce dedication, and cooperative exuberance. Jefferson People’s House has seen a year of delicious toasts and community growth. We rode this train until the tracks ran out. Our team has simultaneously discovered new opportunities and have decided as a collective to dissolve Jefferson People’s House to put our energies into new, exciting projects. We have loved our time together, and it is bittersweet that we leave this adventure. Our official closing date is July 12. In the meantime, we will be open regular hours (barring July 3-5.) Keep an eye out for our closing weekend events, July 10th and 11th. Our Flowers and Coffee CSA will continue as planned through October.

Much love and solidarity, Jefferson People’s House

Goodbye Jitters, hello Bakehouse

Lake Superior Bakehouse

Lake Superior Bakehouse Bakery and Coffee HouseJitters Lake Superior Coffee & Tea House is no more. New sister-brother owners Katina and Pauly Petsoulis took over in February and launched a name change last weekend. The new Lake Superior Bakehouse at 102 W. Superior St. promises “small-batch baked goods all from scratch and small-batch house-roasted coffees.”

Although the look of the space is changing and the variety of baked goods and other foods expanding, Katina notes one thing will stay the same.

“A lot of Jitters regulars were loyal to the coffee,” she said. “We have the same roaster, Jesse Bamford.”

Old Klearflax warehouse is a-comin’ down

Klearflax 2015

As previously reported on PDD, Walker Display has moved its operations out of West Duluth, and its former location on Grand Avenue is being demolished to make way for a Kwik Trip convenience store. The demolition process has revealed the former exterior of the building’s west side — a reminder that it once served as a warehouse for Klearflax Linen Rugs Co.

Natural Discoveries: A Portrait of Travis Melin


Nature photographer Travis Melin died on Wednesday, May 6, after failing to recover from an April 21 heart attack. He was a 1991 graduate of Hermantown High School, a former resident of Washington Studios Artist Cooperative and lived his final years in Ely. The documentary above was produced by Mike Jandl in 2013.

A tremendous spirit and body of work lives on …

Travis Melin 2013



Don’t worry, the Duluth News Tribune is still a thriving enterprise and the sign on the back of the building is holding strong. The visibility of the sign, however, is slowing diminishing as the future Maurices headquarters climbs skyward.

R.I.P. Frankie’s Tavern

Frankie's Pool Table

The Tower Avenue bar known for karaoke and bloody Mary’s is winding down operations. Owner Frank Rozowski Jr. is retiring and selling the building.

Uncle Harvey’s Mausoleum sinking


Oh Snap. Uncle Harvey’s Mausoleum (a.k.a “The Cribs” a.k.a “Duluth Ice House”) seems to be melting away this winter.  First the column went missing a few weeks ago and now the whole house seems to be doomed. Let’s hope Lake Superior Aquaman can fix this?

What happened to Dubrue?

Dubrue Beer DuluthI remember drinking Dubrue at local restaurants and bars around 2011-2012. I also vaguely remember a story of a fire in the building the brewery was located in. Since then, I haven’t seen the brew anywhere. I did some internet searching but I haven’t come up with much. Is Dubrue around anymore?

Has a little of Uncle Harvey gone missing?

Harvey1 harvey2

Mike Scholtz’s photos of the sand- and gravel-hopper ruins known as “Uncle Harvey’s Mausoleum” suggest the round column near the shore collapsed at some point in recent days. The photo at left is from 2013. The photo at right is from today.

żartujesz sobie ze mnie? Nye’s is closing?


Minneapolis Star Tribune: Nye’s Polonaise Room to close next year

Nye’s Polonaise Room, a Minneapolis fixture, will close next year, marking the end of an era of polka and piano. Owners of the bar and restaurant, located across the Mississippi River from downtown, told their 35 employees Monday that Nye’s will shut its doors after 65 years in business. Home to the “The World’s Most Dangerous Polka Band,” Nye’s has been a local landmark for decades. In 2006, it was named by Esquire magazine as the best bar in America.