Duluth’s old Mathisen Tire Co.

Here’s another photo from the Cliff’s Barber Shop Collection. It’s from the spring or early summer of 1962, and the location is 400 E. Superior St. in Duluth. (PDD all-star points go to the person who can explain what this parade is all about. It might be the Fourth of July, but that’s totally a guess on my part.)

Mathisen Tire Co., “distributors and jobbers of the general tire,” occupied this location from the mid-1940s until about 1980. The business first pops up in Duluth’s city directory in 1940 at 315 E. Superior St., which is ground now occupied by the Duluth Sheraton Hotel. In the early 1940s, MacDonald Motor Co. occupied the spot in the photo. By the mid-1940s, Mathisen moved to the 400 location, listing as officers Oscar Mathisen, Milo Widmark and J. H. Mathisen.

I’m speculating here, but the business was probably pushed out to make way for the I-35 extension that happened during the 1980s, because the spot is listed as “vacant” from about 1980 on, which is when Mathisen Tire briefly operated on Bergquist Road, just outside of Duluth.

Here is what the old Mathisen tire location at 400 E. Superior St. looks like today:

Mathisen Tire at one time had a Superior location at 1711 Broadway St. There are currently Mathisen Tire locations in Hibbing and Virginia, operating under the Tire One banner.

By the way, the guy in the old parade photo who is waving in the car is George Abalan, department commander of the Duluth American Legion in 1961-’62 and a member of Zenith City Post 487. He was born in Duluth, graduated from Central High School, served with the Army in the South Pacific, and was a longtime employee of the Duluth Public Utilities Dept.



about 12 years ago

It's more likely the Port -O- Rama days parade.  That was a summer event celebrating our international port; back when Canal Park was an industrial site and people could tour the ships in port.

Paul Lundgren

about 12 years ago

Thanks Patty. I'll see if I can confirm this is a Port-o-Rama Parade.


about 12 years ago

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert... Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear --
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.'

OZYMANDIAS by Percy Bysshe Shelley


about 12 years ago

I recall watching a Port-O-Rama parade from just across Superior St. from Mathisen Tire, so I know that parade route was in that part of town.  And, as I recall, it traveled from East to West on Superior St.  The Christmas City parade has always traveled from West to East.  Although, clearly, the parade in the photo did not take place the Friday before Thanksgiving!

mark mathisen

about 12 years ago

I remember working for my father at that address, and yes we were pushed out by the highway extension. Duluth was a wonderful place to grow up and live. I still recall changing semi-truck tires in the middle of winter, I could see my fingers but could not fell the lug nuts I was turning, I do Not miss that part of the tire business.

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