Quantcast

Park Point Park cabin?

On the hiking trail at the end of Park Point, there’s an old cabin on the harbor side.  Does anyone know the story behind this cabin?  I read that there used to be several “settlers cabins,” perhaps this is the one remaining settler cabin?  I can also of course speculate about blacklisted Finnish bachelors, but I suspect folk on PDD know the real story.

57 Comments

digit3

about 10 years ago

Not intending to hijack this thread but in addition to the original question, does anybody know the history of the big building down the trail from the cabin that has all of the spray paint on it? Also, does anybody know how that water pumping station functions? Does water really get sent all the way to Cloquet from there?

Bret

about 10 years ago

There's some info here: http://www.duluthmn.gov/parks/parkpointtrail.cfm

On the cabin it says: "Nearby is the one privately owned cabin still in use on Park Point."  Although this cabin doesn't seem to be "in use" anymore.  But perhaps there is some mysterious "use" of which I'm unaware.

On the other building it says: "Nearing the end of the "Point" there is an abandoned boat house which formerly housed a small boat and buoy works."

vicarious

about 10 years ago

I've heard the empty concrete block building with the graffiti referred to as the "old buoy building" -- apparently the Coast Guard used to store buoys in it. 

I also have always been curious if lake water gets pumped all the way to Cloquet.

Tony D.

about 10 years ago

Bret, I have no idea which cabin that is, but it likely never belonged to a Finnish bachelor. Any "settlers" wouldn't have been Finns, but Yankees from the east, mostly Philadelphia, most with some sort of British blood in them. Most of the Finns started arriving in the mid 1890s to build the concrete piers along the canal (the lake side of the northern portion of Minnesota Point (the Canal Park Bus. District) included a shantytown called "Finn Town."

The first European to settle on MN Point was George Stuntz in 1854 or 56, setting up a trading post near where the old MN Point Lighthouse stands. Don't have a pic of that, but do have one of W.C. Sargent's "Summer Home" on MN Point. Sargent was a pioneer, arriving in 1866 with his father, George, who was Jay Cooke's point man in Duluth. No info on precise location or date of build or if it still stands

(Wish I knew how to post a pic in a reply so you could see it. Can anyone help me out here?)

digit3, that's the ruins of the U.S. Lighthouse Station Depot, used to store buoys and acetylene used in the batteries that powered the lighthouse on the piers along the ship canal--they didn't want to store acetylene too close to the canal and aerial bridge. Used from 1905 to WWII.

ginger

about 10 years ago

I believe the cabin was once a privately-owned getaway and the land is now owned by the state. I don't think it has quite the mythological status it has developed; it was just someone's lake cabin.

Bret

about 10 years ago

Tony D., thanks for the detailed info.  Do you have any info on the history of Lakeside?  In particular the Lakeside Land Company and the New London Addition?

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

The Lakeside area was originally named Belville for J.B. Bell. Bell finished building a cabin there that had been abandoned by three men who stopped building it when they didn't have enough food for lunch one day. 

Belville was platted by a group of investors connected with Jay Cooke's overseas operations. Hugh McCulloch, a former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, was the group's leader. He platted and named many of the area's streets, including McCulloch Street, of course.

Local interests bought out the investment group and organized the Lakeside Land Co. in 1886. In 1888, the neighborhood had 12 houses. The following year, it had 74.  

In 1889, 185 villagers voted unanimously to incorporate their village. The area became known as New London, and later, Lakeside.

Lakeside became a city in 1891. 

It joined Duluth in 1893 on one condition: the neighborhood was to be kept dry. There has never been a liquor establishment of any kind in Lakeside. It is the only neighborhood in Duluth with that restriction. A 2008 advisory referendum to repeal the ban on alcohol sales favored (by one vote!) maintaining the restriction.

Also in 1893, streetcar tracks were extended to Lakeside.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

Oh, and Tony, I added a Help Topic for Adding an Image to a Comment. It's not the simplest thing to understand, but I did my best.

Tony D.

about 10 years ago

Well, brett, looks like Paul saved me some typing--thank goodness he's a very nice man, and a well informed Duluth citizen.

Some say the Lakeside/New London "Dry" thing came about not only out of the temperance movement, but also because essentially two types of folks settled those neighborhoods: the second-tier rich (merchants, doctors, etc.)--mostly English Protestants--and the servant class--mostly Irish Catholic--who served them and those in the East End/Congdon Park mansions. Supposedly the community leaders didn't want it to be too easy for their Irish Catholic servants to access booze and miss work. Of course, these things were not discussed in polite society, so finding any records to support a theory such as this is likely impossible.

Bret

about 10 years ago

Thanks all; I love all this local history stuff.  I'm most interested in the New London School, which was built in 1889 as a four room schoolhouse (at the NE corner of Regent St. and 46th Ave. East).  It was used until 1893, when the Lakeside School replaced it.  The New London School was the second school in the area as it replaced an original one room schoolhouse on London Road.  The New London School was dismantled in 1900 and moved to London Road and reconstructed as a house which I now live in.  So, I'm doing the house history thing.

Tony D.

about 10 years ago

Bret: cool beans. Please email me at tonyd[at]x-communication.org

jj

about 10 years ago

Does Northland C.C count as serving alcohol in Lakeside or is that considered Congdon neighborhood.

The Big E

about 10 years ago

American temperance and prohibition movements had been intertwined with Protestantism and nativist sentiments from their very beginnings--hence it's hard to believe that "dry" Lakeside wasn't tied in with the apparent wave of hysterical anti-Catholicism that was cresting in Duluth in 1893 when Lakeside was annexed.  That was the year that candidates from the American Protective Association, a group which held that a vast Papist plot would culminate in a worldwide anti-Protestant pogrom on St. Ignatius Day, 1893 [1] swept the election for Duluth city offices (with the exception of city treasurer, where the incumbent ran unopposed).

[1] "When the massacre did not happen," Richard Hudelson and Carol Ross note, "the APA blamed it on the trickery of the Jesuits, who hoped to lull the Protestants into a false sense of security."  (By the Ore Docks, 32-33.

Tony D.

about 10 years ago

Nice work, Big E.! So when those who want to keep alcohol out of Lakeside say they want to keep up the tradition, is it the tradition of alcohol temperance or the tradition of Protestant v. Catholic, or the tradition of the English abusing the Irish, or the tradition of class warfare?

JJ: I'm pretty sure Lakeside officially starts at 40th Ave. East, the eastern border of Northland CC and yes, still part of Congdon.

Charlie

about 10 years ago

The buildings of concrete near the bitter end were built by the U S Army Corps of Engineers to assist them in the construction of the Piers and Break-wall, one one each side of the Superior entry to the harbor.  The building in back used to contain all the items stored to work on boats, which were hauled in to the front building on railway tracks and then repaired there before re-launch.  The Derrick Barge Coleman was used to carry rock and place it carefully so as to prevent large waves from dislodging them.  I was a cook on the Dredge Gaillord in the 1970s and that was used to maintain depth down to 28' in Duluth and other harbors.

zra

about 10 years ago

"Bitter end," the name given to the tail of the working end of rigging lines and ropes.

When working rigging on tall ships, getting down to the "bitter end" was to say that you were running out of line.

GTR

about 10 years ago

Hey, Tony... the acetylene stored at the Depot had nothing to do with batteries... it was burned for illumination in the new automated lighthouses and maybe some bouys. 

I lived and worked at Raspberry Island Lighthouse in the Apostles (and portrayed a keeper's wife from 1923). My "husband" was never around, because he was always supposedly over checking the automated Sand Island light, which had been switched over to acetylene in the early 20's, I believe. More info on the contemporary technology can be found in Professor H.G. Söderbaum's 1912 presentation speech for the Nobel Prize in Physics.

cjedin

about 10 years ago

About the old US Lighthouse Service depot, w/ old pictures:

Duluth USLHS Buoy Depot

Also, out on the point are the remains of the original lighthouse that marked the Twin Ports - its appearance hasn't changed much since 1905!

Minnesota Point Lighthouse

rediguana

about 10 years ago

Fascinating history discussion, all! Thanks for making my day more interesting.

wildreed

about 10 years ago

Love the history discussion! Any recommendations on great books on Duluth history, so I can research more of this great stuff?

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

By the Ore Docks: A Working People's History of Duluth. Richard Hudelson and Carl Ross. 2006 University of Minnesota Press.

Duluth, Minnesota. Sheldon T. Aubet and Maryanne C. Norton. 2001, Arcadia Publishing.

Duluth and St. Louis County Minnesota: Their Story and People. Walter Van Brunt. 1921, The American Historical Society.

Duluth: Sketches of the Past, a Bicentennial Collection. Edited by Ryck Lydecker and Lawrence J. Sommer. 1976, American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, Duluth, Minnesota.

Duluth: The City and the People. Chuck Frederick. 1994, American & World Geographic Publishing.

And a bunch of books from X-Communication.

Tony D.

about 10 years ago

Thanks for the X-comm plug, Paul!

I just started "Ore Docks." fascinating so far, especially the tracking of immigration of ethnic groups and the religion (or complete lack-there-of) and politics they brought to Duluth.

And there's more coming: Maryanne Norton and I are currently working on "Lost Duluth" about the man-made buildings and landmarks that are gone (should be out Spring 2011), Mark Ryan and Nancy Nelson are hard at work on a history of Duluth Parks we hope to release in 2012, and HBH is working on TWO books for X-comm that should prove both fun and fascinating.

The Big E

about 10 years ago

By the Ore Docks is awesome.  An interesting complement to the Sketches of the Past book is Duluth's Legacy, Vol. I:  Architecture, also produced by the Bicentennial Commission in 1974.  There's some crossover with the Aubut-Norton book (if I remember the latter accurately), but the combination of historical background and a tour of notable architecture (including hundreds of brief entries on individual houses) makes it worth exploring.  If nothing else, it's interesting as a series of snapshots of Duluth in the 1970s.

The Big E

about 10 years ago

Oh, and Arnold Alanen's recent Morgan Park: Duluth, U.S. Steel, and the forging of a company town is also fascinating.  [There's an article  by Alanen on Morgan Park in the Sketches of the Past book too.]

Bret

about 10 years ago

More on the Cabin on Park Point - I found the following letter in the Sept. 2004 edition of The Breeze.  I also paid a visit to the cabin again this weekend and noted the name "Pine Knot" on it and the flagpole (referred to in the letter) is still in front on the harbor side.

Dear Friends,

I enjoy reading the Breeze newsletter and news of the pine forest. I last walked the forest when I left the cabin "Pine Knot" in the year 1999. She had been a member of our family since 1927. We gave it to the state hoping she could be used as a historic site.

Pine Knot today is the same cabin in size as when my grandparents purchased it. Nothing was added but new siding to keep vandals from breaking in. Built in 1900 and still standing, it is a tribute to my dad, who maintained it so well since the 1950s.

I hope someday, if she still stands, that the flag will fly proudly in front of her again. It cannot be moved, as it was built on a scow.

All my best,
Ed Pollock

beryl john-knudson

about 10 years ago

The end of Park Point once had a cluster of cabins possibly used by artists for inexpensive housing during the thirties...leftover summer cabins from an earlier era. Bernie Quick original creator of the Grand Marais Art Colony once lived there and went on to national recognition but seems to be forgotten here almost?

The origins of Duluth began in the Pine Forest at the end of Park Point. 

The end of the Point should be recognized with appropriate historic preservation status... and, all inclusive, established recognition with historic sense of place, for the rare Pine Forest also. All should be clarified as land heritage never to be destroyed or ever compromised any more than the dunes community has already.
Will that happen? I doubt it. Not when developers grow like poison ivy on the Point.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

A Bernie Quick painting was in the Denfeld Centennial Art Show in 2005. That guy was one hell of an artist.

Laurie DeGrio Mattson

about 10 years ago

HI!  I know that the large concrete building past the old lighthouse on Park Point has the letters USLHB Depot(United States Lake Head Basin or Boathouse?) in the front, and was once used by the Coast Guard, as the sign says as you enter by the airport. It may have been more than that. The remains of an old wooden dock lie in the water directy in front of the building.  As my husband and I were scouting in the woods just past it (I am a local history "Hunter") we discovered an old brick and cement foundation, years old.  Possibly George Stuntz's?  He was the first settler to Duluth in around 1860.  It is hidden , but if you look around you'll see it. Very historic piece of land, and I agree in making it a special designated area as such!  Keep the historical fires burning!

Tony D.

about 10 years ago

Laurie: It would be great if that were Stuntz's cabin, but the brick and concrete foundation itself is a likely clue that it was not the foundation of his cabin, which would not have been concrete. By 1852 he lived in Superior, working as a government surveyor, and said himself he "set down stakes" on Minnesota Point in 1853 for his house, trading post, warehouse and dock.

So the dock pylons may be from his dock, but more likely from the dock used to access the buoy stations. And lots of folks after Stuntz lived on the Point and used it for a variety of operations, so it could be from any number of projects.

And keep in mind that the Superior Entry shifted a great deal from the time Stuntz arrived until the entry was "set" by the concrete pier system built, starting in 1896. (The light house was originally much closer to the entry.)

Laurie DeGrio Mattson

about 10 years ago

It's all so interesting!  I know the old warehouse is pretty old.  Is there a chance he could've had it built..and the dock served his purposes being built directly in line with it?  I know many people lived down there at one time or another.  It's so intriguing to speculate about all of it.   Your books are awesome, Tony....thanks for all the great info.  I'm always out in the woods looking for signs of the past.  Chuck Frederick wrote an article on my "passion" in 2008...and I'm even crazier now!   Love this blog.

Laurie DeGrio Mattson

about 10 years ago

OH!  I see on an older blog you wrote about the warehouse and when it was built...duh.  Was that info at UMD?  Glad to know!

Tony D.

about 10 years ago

Laurie:

I write and publish books about Duluth history, and I got the information from books I have researched and written: www.x-communication.org

Sandy Petersen

about 10 years ago

On April 9 of this year, my husband, two youngest daughters, and I walked all the way out to "The Old Standby," Minnesota Point lighthouse. I took quite a large number of photos. I anticipation writing a few articles about the old lighthouse, the US Light House Buoy Depot, and flora of Park Point for publication on some websites to which I submit articles. (I'm not a published print author.) 

One of the sources I am reading is "Minnesota Point Time Line" written by Janet E. Olson and published by the Park Point Community Club. Very interesting reading. I found that and a number of excellent books about Duluth's history at the Duluth Public Library. The Time Line speaks of at least two, maybe three, sizable fires which were almost impossible to put out in the old growth forest area. Some of those pines could be 200 or more years old, according to what I read in the book.

Another reference I'm using to find out more about the lighthouse and the buoy depot is Terry Pepper's website http://www.terrypepper.com/lights/index.htm. 

Anyhow, I thought I'd chime in. Nice to find others who love history and places like Minnesota Point.

Laurie DeGrio Mattson

about 10 years ago

Sandy, thanks for the link to Terry Pepper's site.  GREAT FACTS!  It's good to know these things about the glorious history of Duluth and surrounding areas.  I've been doing some "hands-on" digging near old carriage roads in Lester Park... Oriental Road, Graves Road, and Benson Road show signs of former inhabitants.  Some excellent old bottles and crockery, etc.  Came across a stone marker in the woods. At first I thought it was a grave, but now realize it probably was a property or survery marker from way back.  Very cool. If anyone is interested, email me at [email protected]  I go all over and try to find obscure places, and there is always something new waiting around the bend!

ginger

about 10 years ago

Now, can anyone tell me more about the Park Point Beach House? Been looking for info about that but it's been hard to find.

Sandy Petersen

about 10 years ago

I found these bits of information about the Pine Knot cabin in the book to which I referred in my previous post.

Pine Knot cabin was constructed as was mentioned, in 1900. The original owner was then mayor of Superior Charles O'Hehir. The Pollock family bought the cabin in 1927. The cabin was on land leased by Superior Water, light and Power. When the lease came due on the land in 1996, their right to be there was threatened. Minnesota Power, who is parent to Superior Water, Light & Power, looked over historical data the Pollocks had collected and intervened to allow them to lease the property still. In 1999, the Pine Knot cabin was a gift to the City of Duluth by the Pollock family. At that time, the City was hoping to be able to move the structure to the Recreation Center and open it as an interpretive center. Obviously, there were difficulties with this idea because the cabin is still there facing the bay.

Tom

about 10 years ago

These are my favorite kinds of posts on PDD. I'm not a tech person but it would be wicked if there was some sort of interactive wikiduluth with maps, timelines and essays on it covering all facets of duluth culture and history.

Ed Pollock

about 9 years ago

Just decided to look online today and see if there was anything written about our beloved Pine Knot cabin of Park Point.  What a surprise to see the interest.  We haven't been back to Duluth in over 12 years to see what shape she is in.  But I did look at Zillow.com and saw her by satellite photos.

That place was a family cabin for nearly 70 years, and is about 110 years old now.  I still have the original water pitcher pump and photos from the the 1920s.  I spent so many wonderful summer vacations there.

I am surprised there is no talk of the Peabody ferry that crossed the harbor from Superior to the point.  Most of the folks who had cabins on Park Point came from Superior. Coming to the point was difficult as public transportation ended at the turnaround at 43rd street.  The rest of the way was on foot.  Not easy.

There is so much history there and that is why I am so impressed people are talking about it.  The more you know, the more you will fight to save the 200-year-old pine forest, the lighthouse built in 1858, and the remnants of a light station.  Here is one for you; did you know the original lighthouse home is still on Park Point?  It was moved years ago and is on Minnesota Avenue.  

If you have any questions, I am willing to tell you what I know, having been part of the point since I was a little guy in the 1950s.

Please do what you can to save Pine Knot.  It was never added onto during the years we owned it.  I have a picture of my dad's family sitting 4 feet from the front porch with their feet in the bay.  You see, the bay was dredged during the depression and that is why all the front yard there.  Pine Knot used to be just a few feet from the bay.

Don't get me started.  I'll be interested in comments.

Tony D.

about 9 years ago

Ed: Thanks for your family history in connection to Pine Knot!

But I have a question. You wrote: "did you know the original lighthouse home is still on Park Point?  It was moved years ago and is on Minnesota Avenue."

Do tell! My research on the lighthouse shows that the keeper's cottage was torn down long, long ago. If it was indeed moved to Minnesota Avenue, do you have an address or estimated location for it? it was refurbished in 1885 and used by keeper of the newer, wooden pyramid light located on the Superior Entry (replaced by the Superior Entry Light after the concrete piers were added in the late 1890s). Then in 1895, "The Minnesota Point keepers dwelling was abandoned, and without the constant care of the keepers, deteriorated rapidly" (from Terry Pepper's "Seeing The Light" web site).

I'm hoping you're right--but where is it? It was, like the lighthouse, originally red Ohio brick covered in limestone, and I don't think I've ever seen such a structure on Minnesota Avenue--but then, I haven't been looking!

Ed Pollack

about 9 years ago

I am talking about a house that sat next to the big cement US Lighthouse building.  It was located right next to the brick outhouse that still stands in the original location.  I was told that this "house" was the keeper's cottage.
 
As to it's current location:  It's on the bay side of Minnesota Avenue just north of the S. Lake Avenue curve.  If I was there, I would recognize it by where the bathroom "addition" is located.  If you're standing on Minnesota Avenue and looking at the single-story house, the bathroom "addition" would be on the left side of the house.
 
Somewhere in storage, I have a photo of the place.  Can't find it, but will keep looking.

Brian

about 9 years ago

Wow. Saw this old thread, 40+ posts, figured I'd take a look. Fascinating material, and what an amazing find in "Ed." Makes me want to start digging.

Kim

about 9 years ago

Does anyone know if there has been a book published on the history of Lakeside yet? I know someone was in the process of starting one a few years back.

Tony D.

about 9 years ago

No book that I am aware of. There is a walking tour  pamphlet by Wendy Greffen (available online), and as I type this a gent is giving a lecture on the history of Lakeside at the Depot as part of "Lunch with the History People."

steve kemp

about 9 years ago

My great aunt (Doll) Charlotte and John Harry Peabody ran that ferry in all weather. She was a tough old gal. I have pictures of the two boats the Peg and the Jeanette, p.h.p. footlocker, other misc. pictures and articles. She's one of William Howenstine sisters. They owned a cabin on the point. I live in Nebraska, but we were on the Point on Sept. 19 trying to figure out where it ran. I want to write the story when I get more facts.

steve kemp

about 9 years ago

I goofed on the trunk tag it jhp. I have since found a picture of the peabody boathouse with a building behind it please send me a copy of the cabin.

E. Dahl

about 9 years ago

Ed Pollock:
Maybe it was you I met some years ago who gave me a key to the road.  Have always been interested in the end of the Point and its history.  Have a reference from Douglas County, WI Historical Society that Duluth was "granted the use of fifty acres of land south of forty first street for recreation" in 1940.  Recall anything about that?

c davey

about 9 years ago

The cabin was torn down 12-1-2010.

Bret

about 9 years ago

They tore it down?  After this thread, that's particularly sad.

wildknits

about 9 years ago

One condition of that area of Park Point becoming a SNA involved removing the Pine Knot Cabin(no man-made structures allowed). 

Very little mention is made of the designation as an SNA because of the other rules that apply to these areas - check out the DNR website for more information.

Sad to hear it was destroyed - too bad it couldn't have been left as a testament to the many cabins in the area and the long history of human use of Minnesota Point.

Jan Olson

about 9 years ago

It was with great sadness that I learned about the passing of the Pine Knot.  I became very interested in preserving the history of the Point when I did a stint writing and editing the "The Breeze", a monthly publication of the Park Point Community Club.  I was fortunate to spend several hours in the Pine Knot with Ed Pollock Sr, a very fine gentleman and a delight to interview.  Ed's tales of the Pine Knot were riveting. His stewardship of the land was gratifying to see. 

Several years later I was asked to compile the time line that Sandy Petersen referred to in an earlier post.  That work 
became a part of the "Minnesota Point Environmental Management Plan" produced in 1999 with funding from the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources. It tickles me to see that folks actually look at it!  There was an effort by interested people and one terrific city planner to save the Pine Knot.  However, city officials were not in favor of moving the structure.  Incidently, the Pine Knot was actually on leased land owned by Superior Water, Light and Power.  The work to get the land and old growth forest protected fell on the hands of volunteers. Hundreds of hours of networking and research culminated in convincing the Superior company to deed 23.5 acres to the Minnesota Land Trust in 1998.  In 1999 the land went to the DNR and was designated the Minnesota Pine Forest Scientific and Natural Area.  According to DNR rules, no buildings are allowed on a parcel of land designated as a SNA.  The recent demise of the Pine Knot makes the designation complete.  But the little white cabin will be missed by those who of us who wished for a better ending for it.

Park Point's history is very complex.  It is a highly unique land mass that needs protection and care by all of Duluth's citizens that hike its beach, dunes and forest.

Chad

about 9 years ago

Ed Pollock is my mother-in-law's cousin. I was sad to leave the cabin for my first and last time in 1999. If it could have stayed in the family, you can bet my wife and our family would be using it quite often for a "getaway" as we love Duluth. So sad to see it gone.

Denise

about 9 years ago

My husband is related to Ed Pollock. We have very fond memories of visiting "the cabin" when Ed was there during the summers. It was like being in another world there; so beautiful and peaceful.  It is very sad that it is gone!

Steve

about 9 years ago

My grandmother was a McMannus from Superior. They owned a cabin next to the Pollocks. As a boy in the early 1950s I spent many wonderful summer days under the tall pines and foggy mornings on Park Point. I was wondering if the Pollocks would have any pictures of my family's cabin. I have a few and one even has part of your place in the background.

Scott Fletcher

about 8 years ago

Sandy, my third great-grandfather was a keeper at "The Old Standby" lighthouse in the 1850s. I have some info and photos if you are interested.

rnarum

about 8 years ago

It doesn't seem as though the question on the pumping station has been answered, so here it is: Yes. All the way to Cloquet, and Superior, too.

Most of the first mile of the trail is along the gravel road accessing the two pumping stations which supply Lake Superior water to the town of Cloquet and the City of Superior.
From the "Park Point Trail" page on duluthmn.gov.

Leave a Comment

Only registered members can post a comment , Login / Register Here

Read previous post:
Disney vs. Wilco (Wilco lost!)

I have great seats (Balcony B, Row C, 7 & 8) for Wilco on February 19. (See http://www.decc.org/entertainment/seatingcharts.htm) With fees,...

Close