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Trivia help please!

Right then, I'm in need of fun/ridiculous/amazing Duluth trivia for a tiny thing I'm doing on the BBC next week. I've got the obvious - Telly Savalas, REM, cold, Bob Dylan, blah blah blah. There's tons I've forgotten, so any suggestions?


Duluth was once know nationally for how many rats we had. Years ago I worked at the bottom of a local grain elevator and there were hundreds if not thousands of rat tunnels. It really gave me the creeps. The rat thing was covered by the local paper at one time in history. I wonder if the situation is different today or it just isn't talked about.

Duluth is the westernmost port that connects to the Atlantic Ocean.
The "Christmas City" song was written for Duluth: "Christmas City, wonderful city, all dressed up in snow and mistletoe ..."
I've heard Duluth used to have (like in 1880 or whatever) the highest percentage of millionaires of any U.S. city. Don't know whether that's true.
You could look up "Leatherheads of the North" stuff from Chuck Frederick's book about the NFL team Duluth used to have.

Lorenzo Music (most notably the voice of "Garfield") and Don LaFontaine (the movie voice guy).

Gena Lee Nolin of Baywatch fame (she's kissed David Hasselhoff!) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gena_Lee_Nolin

Home of Danny the Dipshit, worlds most stupid podcaster.

A puppet from Duluth received 13 votes in recent Mayoral election

Albert Woolson, the last surviving Union Army soldier of the US Civil War (he was a drummer boy) died in Duluth in August of 1956 (at either age 106 or 109). There's a statue of him in Canal Park and at the Gettysburg Battlefield in Pennsylvania.

Re: Christmas City song. It was written by Merv Griffin.

Sinclair Lewis lived and wrote for a while in Duluth. His book BABBITT (and I think a few others) is based in the fictional town of Zenith City which was probably based on Duluth since it had been known by that nickname early on in its history.

You could look for a solid citation for that 2004 'highest voter turnout in America' factoid that I've heard 8 dozen people cite.

The 'highest number of millionaires per capita' factoid is another one of those that's currently in the repeat-it-often-enough-it-becomes-true category.

can always read through the wiki for Duluth

Gena Lee Nolin is from Cloquet.

Not only is Duluth the westernmost port that connects to the Atlantic, it's the furthest inland "sea" port in the world.

Minnesota/Wisconsin Point: Longest freshwater sandbar in the world.

Lake Superior: Broadest (not biggest or deepest) lake in the world; holds ~10% of world's freshwater (though soon to be displaced in breadth by lake behind Three Gorges Dam in China)

Duluth has the 3rd highest union density of urban areas in the U.S., or so I'm told (something like 30%ish).

Duluth was the scene of the northernmost lynching of African Americans (Clayton-Jackson-McGhee, 1920).

One of my favorite descriptions is by William Least Heat Moon in "Blue Highways" (1982): "Before the St. Lawrence Seaway made Duluth the most western Atlantic port, people used to say it was an old maid city looking under the bed each night for an ocean."

Thanks! This is just what I was needing. Never heard of the civil war soldier in Duluth, or the rats, for that matter.

Bill Berry of REM was born here. I saw him on the street when he was in town for his father's funeral.

Another of Sinclair Lewis' books that was based on Duluth is Cass Timberlane.

President Rutherford B. Hayes had property in Duluth in the 1880s. He owned a building at (I think)the SW corner of 1st Ave. E. and Superior Street. He also owned acreage on the upper hillside along about 7th Ave. West. His close friend William K. Rogers lived in Duluth for a time and looked after Hayes's interests along with his own. Rogers was on the board of the Highland Improvement Company which built the Incline Railway that ran up the hill at 7th Ave. West. A consortium of landowners along the Incline route were contracted to help pay for the construction with either cash or donated acreage. By creating this access to the upper hillside Hayes, Rogers, and other landowners speculated that their acreage would increase in value. However, the increase was slow in coming from what I can gather. The Highland Improvement Company was slightly late in finishing the Incline as specified in their contract, and because of this Hayes stiffed them for his share of money or land donation. He was sued but I never found out who won the case.

William K. Rogers served as Hayes's private secretary while Hayes was president (1877-1881). But he was Hayes's third pick for the job, and made some blunders while on the job. History hasn't been kind to Rogers who was rather sickly (his reason for coming to Minnesota from Ohio) and was viewed even by Hayes as an easy mark for anyone looking to take advantage. He was always short of money - and Hayes sometimes carried Billy's side of the debt from their Duluth investments.

However, Rogers did leave a great legacy in Duluth: Skyline Parkway. While hiking the upper hillside tending to his and Hayes' acreage, he envisioned the building of a boulevard across the brow of the hill that would interconnect a number of ravine parks built along the many creeks that flowed to the lake below. He presented his plan to the City Fathers in the late 1880s and the plan was accepted. A parks commission was created and Rogers accepted the job as its first president. The initial segment of the boulevard was completed in 1891. After that Rogers resigned for health reason and went back to Columbus, Ohio where he died 2 years later, just nine months after Hayes passed.

The rest of what today is called Skyline Parkway was built in segments over the next 50 years. By the way, Rogers' original plan also included building a parallel parkway along the lake shore, which of course is today's Lakewalk.

Giant squids are rumored to prowl Duluth's troubled waters.

it's spelled "McGhie" in regards to the lynching... also, we have the only memorial to lynching victims in the United States that isn't a roadside plaque or in a cemetery.

of course, the lynching history is neither fun nor ridiculous ... might qualify as amazing, since there are so many other places where victims have deserved a memorial. there was a guy who tried to get one going in Washington DC, but it never took off.

but it hardly fits the light-hearted aim of your piece, i am sure.

Hey! What are you doing on the BBC? TV? Radio? Which channel? I've lived in the UK for over 20 years now, but grew up in Duluth. I'd love to watch/listen to it!

Duluth is the birthplace of prominent physicist and UFOlogist James MacDonald, who, like Duluthian Frank Halstead of Darling's Observatory, knew what was up long before those the History Channel bozos. Public ridicule of his tireless UFO research helped lead to his unfortunate suicide.

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