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The Two Questions

There are two questions that we native Duluthians always ask people when they move here. The first question we ask, usually with a tone of confusion and shock in our voice, is "Why did you move here?" Maybe we don't seem all that confused if you moved here from Ashland or Grand Portage, but if you moved here from any distance -- or even from a foreign country -- we are baffled that you have even heard of this place, let alone chose to live here.

The second question we ask, usually with a bit of sadistic glee, is "Have you spent a winter here yet?" We ask this for obvious reasons.

Because it just officially turned spring (um, yeah) let's assume your answer to question #2 is affirmative. But I would like to hear people's stories about how and why they chose to move to a place like Duluth, Minnesota. If you think your story is too big for the comment section, by all means make your own post. It would be nice to hear from some of the quieter people out there -- maybe some of the member/lurkers who haven't posted yet.

Also, if you haven't seen it, "Why Do You Live Here?" was a recent VoxPop topic on Minnesota Stories. It was a great video with some familiar faces, but I'd like to read some longer, Duluth-centric stories.



My standard answer for question number one is always, "For the weather."

When I'm asked this question I usually answer with probably the most common and boring answer of all time: I fell in love with that big majestic awe inspiring lake at the bottom of the hill. I remember the first time I visited Duluth; I was 12,and when I crested Thompson Hill, the view of the lake took my breath away. I hadn't seen a body of water that big ever before and it acted like a magnet. That pull stuck with me and when I moved here 9 years later, at a tender 21, it was in pursuit of that big water.

hung moved here to buy people shots! yay!

Several good friends of mine moved up here in 1992 from Purdue. I started coming up to visit, the first time in January of 1993, and I fell in love with the place from the very start. Yes, in winter. I started coming up to visit almost annually. On a trip up in 1999 I came over the crest on 53 and saw Duluth and the lake and I felt like I was home. After that I started planning seriously to move up here. I have never regreted that decision.

I came for the great restaurants.

i'm just a lurker. live in Mpls. haven't moved to duluth, but i've always wanted to and would if there were more opportunity for me up there. i like duluth because its beautiful. it has a lot of character.

I moved up here because it was away from the Twin Cities and seemed like a really cool town. I have vivid memories of visiting when I was younger and liking the highway system (I don't know why). Also, UMD was the only college that accepted me (which was good, because it was the only college I applied for). I really liked the small/big town atmposphere here: big enough to have a scene and get what you need, but small enough that people are still nice.
I also move here to get away from my family. Unfortunatly, they followed me (bought a "vacation" home on the point that they visit every weekednd - *ugh*).

I came up from the Chicago area for a Greg Brown concert back in 1989 and fell in love with the fact that you can go a mile in any direction and be totally in the boonies. Where I'm originally from, you're lucky if you can find a park bigger than a postage stamp. I was also pretty taken with the fact that most people in the Twin Ports really don't give a crap how bizarre or "out there" you are as an artist and there always seems to be an appreciative, supportive audience no matter what. Where I come from, anything outside C&W music and Terry Redlin paintings is grounds for a lynchin'. There are many more reasons, but those are my highlights.

i'm here for the chicks.

...and the suberbly calibrated stoplights.

when i was 16, i heard low talking all about duluth on radio k, and i thought, "i should live there when i grow up" - not in a stalker way though. it was more like, "duluth, huh? duluth could be cool." and it is.

it blows my mind that something so dumb could shape my life so much. if i never moved here . . . wow, would my life be different. not that it would suck, but it couldn't possibly be as good as it is.

I was in Mpls for 10 years or so, and half-heartedly looking for a new job. My wife threw the classified section at me one Sunday while I was sleeping on the couch (that's how half-heartedly i was looking) and said "you should apply for this job. We could live in Duluth." I applied, not expecting anything to come of it.
Nothing came of it for about 3 months, but then I needed to get my portfolio samples back to continue my half-hearted search for a job, so I called the place I applied to and said "Can I have my stuff back?" They said "Oh, yeah, we would like to talk to you."
I talked to them.
They offered me a job.
We had to make a decision. Yikes.
A month later, we had sold our house in Mpls., loaded up the moving van and it left. We finished cleaning up the house, loaded the final odds and ends, cat, and 6 month old kid, and found that we had overestimated the capacity of the car. We still had a mop, broom and coffee can of pens, pencils, and small box of miscellaneous stuff that absolutely would not fit in the car. There was stuff tied to the top of the car, and it was piled to the ceiling with stuff. I had to call a friend and see if he would store my box of miscellaneous crap and mop until the next time I came back to Mpls.

Then we drove in freezing rain with the cat squealing all the way and stayed at the Buena Vista a couple nights until we could get into our house in Duluth. The Buena Vista allowed cats. A hotel has never seemed so comfortable and welcoming. But now it's gone.
So is my mop.

I'd like to know who is considered a "native Duluthian". Who are you people and how can I identify you on the street?

I grew up in Fargo. To kids in Fargo, Duluth is like some faraway magical land filled with candy mountains, chocolate waterfalls and unicorns who dance in the park. After I moved here as an adult, I discovered that all my friends in Fargo must have been high on pot or something. But I still love Duluth. It's a city full of possibilities. And sailors.

My family moved here primarily because my Dad got a department head position at UMD, but I was as much a contributing factor as was the job.

I was born in Phoenix, Ariz., where I spent the first 11 years of my childhood. The summer before beginning Junior High, my dad accepted a position in Grand Forks, North Dakota. I experienced a number of shock factors during that geographical transition; the big ones being climate and culture. I was from a desert city inhabited by transplants (in the 70s and 80s families were not “from” Phoenix; all of our parents were from somewhere else) moving to an icy-cold hick-town inhabited by inbreeds who thought Fargo was a big city full of weirdoes.

Can you tell I hated Grand Forks? The first two years I lived there, I begged my parents to move us back to Phoenix. The last two years we lived there, I begged them to move anywhere. “Anywhere” ended up being Duluth. I never thought I’d stay here, but except for a couple of non-consecutive years living in Great Britain, I’ve been here nearly 20 years. And now that I have a kid, I don’t want to live anywhere else. I like it in Duluth.

1 & 2 in one answer.

I moved here for the weather.

I hate heat & humidity.

I moved here because I was tired of east coast big city life, and I love winter and nature.

The first time I came here was by bus; from the Greyhound station, I caught a local bus to near the library and got off to walk to the Voyageur where I was staying. The first person who spoke to me in Duluth looked at me and my two bags and said, "Get out of town."

I used to wonder which he hated: hippies or tourists; now I just think it was good advice. After five years, my love of the place has been turned to disgust by rightwing rednecks, hunting in town, and construction everywhere I look. I'm leaving within a couple months. It's a dream location, but it ain't no dream town.

i have been here 11 years. i moved here because some woman i was in love with cried when i asked her to move to chicago. so i visited for a weekend, and moved here within a month of first sight. the human relationship only lasted a few months, but my love affair with this place hasn't come close to stopping. i fully intend to die of old age here or by slipping on the ice on my top step in a few years.

incidentally, my first two winters here were the coldest and snowiest winters on record (i think). i'm quite proud that it made me even more determined to stay. i too despise hot summers and wimpy winters.

I was born in Minneapolis, moved to Duluth when I was three, then moved back to Minneapolis when I was 22 (mainly because of a job). I have a lot of great memories about growing up in Duluth; the hills, the rivers, Park Point, the big lake, the city's history, and all my friends. Its such a great place. I wish I could have raised my own kids there (even though they think it's Hicksville USA). About once a month, some of my childhood buddies and I meet for lunch at Sammy's Pizza in Coon Rapids and rehash the good old days when we all lived in Duluth.

I'm not sure you are considered a native around here unless your mother's mother was born here.

Native is definately a +1 generation thing.

both my parents were born here, but their parents were born back in the 'old country'. does that make me an immigrant?

...and the well-maintained streets.

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