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Am I a Duluth Snob?

For years, Duluth being “the best kept secret” has been a prevalent conversation theme amongst us who live here. Only we truly appreciate our city’s magnificent landscape, outdoor galore, deep-rooted historical culture, awesome arts scene, low crime rate, family friendliness, THE LAKE…..I need not list more because PDDers know why Duluth is special.

It’s great living in such a fabulously clandestine city. In fact, I’ve lived here for 20 years and it’s only been in the last 10 that I’ve developed a deep love for this place. But the secret has been let loose, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

In 2001, Duluth was named one of the “Top Ten Dream Towns” , James Fallows of The Atlantic Monthly won’t shut-up about the greatness of our city , and even a Vox blogger, when writing about leaving LA, mentions Duluth in the same category as Manhattan, Paris and Austin .

A part of me feels flattered for our little city’s recognition, but there’s this other part of me that tenses up, Gollum-like, wanting to scream “MY PRECIOUS” every time someone else discovers Duluth's greatness.

My family moved about the U.S., so as an outsider I have a disdain for the tight-knit territorial nature of some cities’ life-long inhabitants. Yet, I don’t want to live in the next Portland, Seattle, Austin, etc. I want to live in the best kept secret.

Your thoughts on this subject?


There are some definite factors that keep the population down. Coldness being one, difficulty in finding high paying jobs, and integrating into the community. But, as for myself, I'm originally Canadian so the cold and the reticence don't bother me quite so much and everywhere I've lived the job situations has been similar or worse, should try Newfoundland after the fish industry collapse... phew.

I think Edgewood is dead on. The biggest reason to me is the lack of decent paying jobs in the twin ports. It's the main reason most people leave, especially young people. In the on-and-off 16 years I've lived here, there must be at least a good hundred or two younger folks I've met that one day I realize, "Hey, where did they go?" Away is where they went. Before I graduated from college, I would have starved if it wasn't for loans & grants. I've been lucky enough to find decent jobs in the last 10 years that actually pay a living wage since I graduated. I consider myself pretty fortunate. Many people I know are barely sqeaking by.

We're barely squeaking by, so I get what you two are saying. And in a way I think that's why Duluth's new noteriety scares me. If you aren't connected but from Duluth, it seems like many buisnesses are apt to hire the "big city" candidate.

i'm coming up on my sixth winter in Duluth...twelfth in mn altogether...and can say that coming from a small town, it's easy to understand the desire to leave as soon as humanly possible once you are able...but coming from a small town is what makes living here that much more pleasant.

i did big city life...and was really resistent to moving to duluth when J. decided she wanted to live here. Oddly, I credit her for bringing me here.

I agree on the high paying job sitch as a precursor to long term residence. I'm lucky in that respect. But like Gwanto said, there are a lot of people I know who're squeaking by.

I find much similarity amongst people that move to Duluth. We are lovers of the sea, and of things worn and forgotten. We tend not to be careerists nor fearful of intemperate weather.

I don't worry much about being overrun with newcomers. Duluth can be like a sad song that for some reason makes you feel happy. It's not everyone that can hear that tune.

I just moved from Duluth after 8 years of living there. Never bonded with the city. I am living in Shakopee, MN now. This feels more like home. Just a matter of personality I guess.

As a lifelong Duluthian, it's kind of odd to me how Duluth natives never talk about why they live in Duluth. I suppose that's because we live here because it is home, and because of the other people who also live here, not necessarily because of the lake or the view or whatever.

Though I must say that it's nice to have all of these attractive things that happen to be in the town I call home.

i read that outside article as a minnesotan living in southern california and it made me want to move back to mn but this time just wave at mpls on the drive north.

still haven't convinced the san diego-born wife that given the proper gear a duluth winter is a breeze. she likes the idea of snowmobiles though.

we visited july '05 and she loved it but i am still shocked at how the housing seems to be priced above the average incomes. i mean, who is buying at 311 superior or these other condos? answers unnecessary as i really don't care!

anyway, i spent my summers growing up in duluth and loved it, but i don't tell anyone out here that. i tell them it's miserable, some editor at outside owed someone in duluth a favor, and they should think about colorado springs, boise, seattle, missoula, [insert town from latest top ten list here].

so, you can thank me for doing my part!

fucking condos... this is why it is a good thing dynamite is illegal... grr grr grrr.
ahem. ok more rational now. I haven't a clue who will buy all these new condos. Good grief there has been talk about housing shortages in Duluth for a few years now, and the most obvious projects are these condo things. Not, you know somewhat affordable housing.

Ok enough already sorry, that is just a topic that pushes my buttons right now.

your Duluth secret is safe with me ... i just moved back to the city of my college years five months aog ... in my 30's it's a very different town. i thank my lucky stars that i am here every day and that i found a decent paying job [that i hope i didn't steal from a local resident. ... sorry] i've lived in mpls and in portland, oregon [pronounced ore-a-gun] and Duluth blows them all away. why just the other day i was pickin' up the dog poo in my backyard when i turned around ... the view of the lake took my breath away. although i wish i didn't live next door to 12 college kids or have to park a block away or wonder if my car will start in the morning .. i've never lived in a more fantastical place ..

anyhow, to keep it under wraps .. maybe someone should blog a duluth sux post .. hhhmmm

it's like my man Paulie says: "It's where my ma lives."

I found that the lifelong residents don't warm up to you til you've "put in your time" as it were, and done a few winters. It's not for everyone...I understand that not many transplants make it very long, and with good reason. Winter.

tracy...concerning your young neighbors, i've always found that a running lawnmower (or snowblower) between your and the offending house at seven a.m. after a night of hard partying usually goes a long way at discouraging obnoxious behavior in the future.

if that doesn't work try polka.

I'm with pretty much all of you here. I get this feeling about Minnesota in general- you look at the Twin Cities, and it too seems to be becoming... diluted. By people from bigger cities, other parts of the US, other Midwestern towns. Non-Minnesotans.

I get worried about Duluth with this, but I think we as a town, our city government, etc does a decent job of treading the fine line. I don't think we'll turn into some Austin, etc. We won't get all the jobs either. Instead, (I hope) we'll retain our Duluth character with a fair bit of additional economic oppotunity as well.

I am from the TC originally, moved up here to go to school. It's been 7 years, and this is where I live, this is my home, and I love it. I think of that every day. My wife and I are both fortunate enough to have great jobs and we bought a house back in March thanks to NHS. I even got to stay on the Hillside like I wanted.

Well, I'll keep this short. But thanks for the thought. I'm a Duluth snob.

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