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An American cinematheque production by Jack Rossi.

Obituary of Peter S. Svenson, Minnesota’s Rogue Historian

August 23rd 1947-January 24th(?) 2022. The historian Peter Sven Svenson died without heirs sometime last week according to his autopsy. He will be buried in Forest Hills cemetery in Duluth after the spring thaw. Speaking as one of his only friends, I have penned this obituary.

A document hoarder, Svenson was practically the state’s analog back-up brain for decades, and its conscience.

He was a popular history professor at UMD from 1973-2002. However, he tussled with the university over the legitimacy of his sources. Then they disavowed his work altogether when issues arose about his statistical analyses. Under pressure, he took early retirement, but sued the university for defamation. He lost.

Svenson went on to self-publish books, monographs, and articles, but struggled to find a paying audience. His most important work was produced during this period. Being his friend enabled my access to his research and unpublished manuscripts.

“What About the Legend of the Underwater Lake?”

This informative article refers to the “legend” of Lake Inferior, which originated here at Perfect Duluth Day with my 5/8/21 Saturday Essay, “Lake Inferior: the Underground Lake Beneath Lake Superior.” From a blog post to legend in less than two years — oh, internet! The informative article summarizes the “legend,” linking to the PDD Saturday Essay as the source, which is repeated in a second article seemingly plagiarizing the first:

Old Softball Field in Midway Township

On Midway/Becks Road, about a quarter mile south of Interstate 35 and just west of the former Nopeming Sanatorium, sits a softball — or perhaps youth baseball — field that doesn’t appear to have been played on in about 40 years. These photos are from November.

Savalex

Dream of a better life. A life in Duluth. Take Savalex, the once-daily Duluth hallucination pill.

Video by Jack Rossi.

Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards 2023 Call for Nominations

Lake Superior Writers is seeking nominations for the 2023 Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards.

The categories have changed and are as follows: Nonfiction; Fiction; Children’s Literature; Middle Grade/Young Adult; Poetry; and Memoir. Art/Photography is now part of the Nonfiction category. A $40 entry fee is required for each nominated title.

Duluth Incline Magic Lantern Glass Slides from 1893

Car on the Seventh Ave Incline Duluth Minn. 1893

Images here of the Duluth Incline Railway are from three lantern slides, also known as “magic lanterns.” According to the website of the Magic Lantern Society of U.S. and Canada, the slides generally “consist of two sheets of glass, one of which has the image on one side of it and the other which covers the image, and bound all around by a black paper tape.”

The Story of Grace

Austin McConnell delves into the backstory of Grace, the official state photograph of Minnesota. Photographer Eric Enstrom shot the image in 1918 at his home in Bovey, about 60 miles northwest of Duluth.

My retirement fund in squished pennies

I told artist Moira Villard that she was my retirement plan, as I pressed six pennies at the Duluth Public Library on Saturday. Someday, when she’s even more famous, these pennies will be worth more than a cent!

List of Duluth Authors from Duluth Public Library Vertical File

It used to be, a library committed to local information had to keep it in a “clippings file” or “vertical file.” The local history room at the Duluth Public Library still has one and has a master entry on clippings about authors from/in Duluth.

West Duluth theater project moves forward, seeks city loan

The Alhambra Theater sits just to the east of the West Theatre on Central Avenue in West Duluth (Photos by Mark Nicklawske)

A long-lost vaudeville theater renovation gained ground this week when city officials authorized grant money to fund a business loan for the West Duluth entertainment district project.

The Duluth Economic Development Authority approved a $150,000 grant Jan. 25 to the city of Duluth 1200 Fund for restoration work at the Alhambra Theater, 321 N. Central Ave. The move allows the 1200 Fund to loan building owner Paladin Properties LLC a total of $200,000 for project completion.

PDD Quiz: January 2023

The first month of 2023 is nearly over; how many of its headlines do you recall? Jump into this week’s PDD quiz to find out!

A Valentine’s Day-themed quiz comes your way on Feb. 12. Submit question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by Feb. 9.

Ripped at Molly’s in 2003

[Editor’s note: For this week’s essay we’ve once again pulled out a relic from the archive of Slim Goodbuzz, who served as Duluth’s “booze connoisseur” from 1999 to 2009. One of Slim’s favorite old stops was Molly’s Tavern in Superior, which had a sign outside promising “dancing & sandwiches,” neither of which could be found inside. The bar closed in 2005 and later became Tower Avenue Tavern. Twenty years ago the Sultan of Sot paid a visit to Molly’s and wrote the article below for the Jan. 22, 2003 issue of the Ripsaw newspaper.]

Whenever I find myself at Molly’s, I’m usually there to “finish up.” Usually, it’s late, I’m half in the bag and I have little interest in anything other than the square foot of bar top directly in front of me — the magical zone in which I lay down money and it miraculously turns into booze. But tonight Sean the Locksmith and I end up at Molly’s relatively early in evening. And I’ll be damned if Molly’s isn’t a pretty sweet place.

This doesn’t really surprise me. I’ve heard many tales of the coolness of this bar: the cheap booze, the weird and amazing antiques scattered about, the mother of Darryl Hall’s child pouring drinks. But maybe it’s to its credit that I’ve never really analyzed it. I go to Molly’s because I want to drink undisturbed. The appreciation of the bar among homosexuals and its seedy location at the very end of Tower Avenue help to keep away most of the local dillweeds.

Digital piano repair person needed

Duluth music weirdos,

Who can repair my 17(?)-year-old Technics SX-PR51? It turns on, but that’s it. I’m sure it needs a circuit board thing or a new fantambulator or something. I would rather pay an individual than pay Schmitt Music, but I’ll do what I have to do.

Mana Bear Bolton has her way with the Tweed elevator

Mana Bear Bolton‘s “Primordial Rapture” opened in the Tweed Museum’s elevator on Aug. 30. Read all about it at findmana.com.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!