Jay Cooke

Jay Cooke has a perfect Duluth day.

Jay Cooke has a perfect Duluth day.

24 Comments

baci

about 13 years ago

that balloon is red and inflatable

dbb

about 13 years ago

Wonder where the other 98 are...

edgeways

about 13 years ago

wrong color and way too small, but I will say I have been watching the Prisoner lately so my first thought was RRRRRRAWWWWOOOOOOOO

vicarious

about 13 years ago

He looks serene, and somewhat contemplative. The balloon introduces a bit of whimsy. The collie is watching eagles in the distance.

baci

about 13 years ago

@ edgeways .. be seeing you

udarnik

about 13 years ago

Rover didn't have a leash.

maryb

about 13 years ago

i'm sorry not to know this, but where is this statue? i love this photo!

Tim K

about 13 years ago

It's on Superior Street- if you are heading east out of downtown, it's across from Sir Ben's/ KitchiGammi Club. It used to be a little further east, but was moved during the freeway construction.

ironic1

about 13 years ago

What Tim said, and thanks!  I was passing it on Superior Street yesterday and felt compelled to pull over and take a photo.  I have no idea if the balloon just happened there or if it was placed there on purpose, but it made me happy.

udarnik

about 13 years ago

We came by a little before 6 on our way to supper at the Grape Vine, and the balloon was still there.

hbh1

about 13 years ago

My favorite story about Jay Cooke is that the first time he came to Duluth, he spent the early hours of his first day being ferried about on the harbor by a biracial teenager named George M. Smith. First he had the kid take him over to the Ojibwe village on the Point, where he had George roust them out of their wigwams at 6am so he could bestow upon them a literal stump speech (in English, which most of the villagers didn't understand). Then he passed out coins to every villager, and paid one guy 25 cents for a whitefish (which made George worried about inflation). Then, on the way back to Duluth proper, he decided that those floating islands in the harbor were *his* islands, and so told George he wanted to get out on one of them to claim it. The kid tried to dissuade him, saying they were nothing more than muck and driftwood, and unsafe for walking. Cooke insisted, and so George got the boat up to one, and crossed a pair of oars so that Cooke could stand on them. Cooke then gave a long, beautiful speech, with only George as his audience, which Smith said was the best speech he ever heard in his life.

And then Jay went back to the one and only hotel, woke everyone up, and had a day-long meeting with Duluth's incipient luminaries about all the things he was going to do to make Duluth the next New Yawk City.

woodtick

about 13 years ago

The 1950's french film, The Red Balloon, always comes to mind whenever I see a red balloon so this whimsical image is a nice and pleasant reminder of something simple and beautiful.  Thanks...

ironic1

about 13 years ago

woodtick, that movie was the first thing I thought of too. :)

udarnik

about 13 years ago

We were shown that movie in first grade and it made almost everybody cry.

Resolutionary

about 13 years ago

Thanks for the story hbh. Jay Cooke sure seems like a goofy industrialist.

Todd Gremmels

about 13 years ago

The story that is missing is that Jay Cooke then proceeded to clear cut thousands of acres of white pine totally changing the ecology of the area and laying to waste most of the native trout poulation by the run off.

Peace
Todd Gremmels

PS Oh I forgot he made millons of dollars of which he paid very little tax on and very little back to the people.

Tony D.

about 13 years ago

Mr. Gremmels, sir:

If it weren't for Jay Cooke, you wouldn't ever have a Perfect Duluth Day because Duluth and all the townships that became Duluth would have failed long ago. His investment in Duluth--especially building the railroads--has allowed this town to survive financial turmoil time and time again. His investment started in 1865, after he nearly single-handedly financing the Civil War for the Union. Gave little back to the people? He went broke investing in this nation's infrastructure. When he lost his fortune, the entire nation went into a depression (The Panic of '73). His investment in Duluth allowed others to come here and start businesses of their own: saw mills, flour mills, banks and all sorts of retail businesses that served the people who worked for Cooke. Ironically, if we didn't have his railroads, grain elevators, and especially the canal who's digging he financed, Duluth would not have become a center of the grain trade, which pulled us out of debt in the 1880s, and we wouldn't have been ready to be a shipping center when the Merritts started mining iron ore on the Mesaba range in the 1890s. Sure, he could be an arrogant, ignorant blowhard as HBH described, but he wasn't the only one cutting timber in the second half of the 19th century. (By the way,  income tax in the U.S. was first introduced in 1861 to help the government finance the war: in other words, to PAY COOKE BACK for loaning the U.S. the money in the first place).

I like to think that when his statue was moved across from the Kitch, it was a symbolic gesture: the gents who started that club would never have made their fortunes if Cooke hadn't cleared the path in front of them, and consequently they couldn't have made the investments that made Duluth the great City it is--or once was, depending on your perspective, I guess. (One example, like it or not: rich white guys like Chester Congdon, Guilford Hartley, Sam Snively, and Bert Enger either donated or financed the purchase of much of the land that makes up Duluth's park system; Snively's efforts alone created Seven Bridges Road and the extension and completion of Skyline Parkway; Enger bought the Leif Erikson ship and gave it to the city.) 

Sorry if this seems aggressive, TG, but when you wave the the "politically correct" flag about something that happened over 150 years ago, before studies showed the effect of clear-cut logging and other such activity--and you don't have your facts straight on top of that--well, that's just irresponsible blogging, my friend! Let's not revise history using todays standards of political correctness--it must be viewed within the context of its time. You might as well complain that the Greeks didn't not treat their Trojan prisoners according to the guidelines of the Geneva Convention.

"Peace"

Tony D.

Tim K

about 13 years ago

I love the whole concept of "responsible blogging." Does that actually exist anywhere?

Paul Lundgren

about 13 years ago

Responsible blogging is sort of like safe sex, Tim. It doesn't really exist, but we should appreciate efforts made in its name.

vicarious

about 13 years ago

Cooke had great boots.

sbuchanan

about 13 years ago

safe sex?  sure it exists...spend a quiet day at home and wash your hands...

huitz

about 13 years ago

Whoa, Tony.  No doubt Mr. Cooke was a then-day philanthropist, but so was Al Capone in his own time in some circles.

I'm sure Cooke was a devout Christian and all around nice guy, but I don't find it hard to believe he was riding hot on the coattails of the railroad monopoly (ahem, J.P. Morgan) era to make some selfish moola.

It's plausible he was "in love" with Duluth simply because he saw $ in ore, and, well, apparently he liked fishing for trout.

Who knows for sure?

Tony D.

about 13 years ago

Huitz, I wasn't trying to make Cooke into a "better" person than he was, and I'd bet right along with you that his efforts were more selfish than selfless. (Not sure I care  about his religious affiliation at all.) I just wanted Todd to know that Cook's efforts did a lot more for this area than simply strip away a portion of its white pine As for whether he was in love with Duluth and its trout streams, who knows. I simply think Cooke took a look at a map of the U.S. and its territories and made a logical plan for his transcontinental railroad based on geography. It couldn't've been the ore--it wasn't discovered until Cooke was long gone.

hbh1

about 13 years ago

well, i hate logging as much as ... anyone. and aside from JC being a goofy guy for a story, i'm no real fan. however, we can look to him and his contemporaries and their big dreams about Duluth and realize that's pretty much *why* we have so much greenspace in our city. if they didn't think this place was going to be the New York to St. Paul's Philadelphia (really, they thought that... crazy, huh?), they wouldn't have annexed so much land, and if their dreams hadn't failed, so much wouldn't remain undeveloped. i read somewhere we have more greenspace per citizen than any other place in the lower 48, as a result.

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