Duluth and Isle Royale, c. 1933

A film of Duluth and a trip to Isle Royale by my Grandpa Henry.


Paul Lundgren

about 12 years ago

This is so hot that it really ought to be commented on scene by scene. I will offer only moderate ambition toward this end, though, and just toss out a few remarks.

That's a pretty fancy dining room on the ol' SS Hamonic.

Excerpt from "The Burning of the Noronic" in the Times Magazine:

The Noronic plied the waterways between Canada and the United States for years, as did her sister ships, the SS Huronic and the SS Hamonic. As if a harbinger of things to come, the Hamonic caught fire in 1945. The dock itself was on fire and the crew were unable to build up enough steam to get her out of harm's way before the ship caught fire. Fortunately, since the fire was on the dock, passengers and crew had fair warning and were able to escape. Only one fatality was suffered in that event.
So it goes. Hey, sweet silhouette. Duluth Incline!

Paul Lundgren

about 12 years ago

More on the S.S. Hamonic on the International Metropolis website, where the above quote about one casualty in the fire is contradicted: 

The Hamonic burned at Point Edward in her berth in 1945. However due to the quick reaction of her heroic Captain, there were no fatalities.
International Metropolis includes this nice photo of the dining room.


about 12 years ago

I agree with Paul; this video could be taken apart scene-by-scene and examined, especially since I'm a huge fan of Isle Royale (I've cross-posted your video here for some Isle Royale fans to dissect.

I've only ever seen post cards of the incline; now I've seen it in action!

I found myself going down quite the rabbit hole over the two ships I could make out coming into the harbor on the film, too.


about 12 years ago

Very cool video. One clue in dating the video - the Aerial Bridge is in fact a lift bridge, and not in its earlier form as the Aerial Ferry Bridge, with a gondola. 

That transition happened in the winter of 1929-30, with the first "lifts" taking place in 1930. So, this film - or at least the part of the film showing the bridge - would date to 1930 or later.


about 12 years ago

Awesome, man.

Somehow, I never thought of speedboats zipping around the harbor in 1928 (or 1930; I hope the historians among us can date this more precisely, as akjuneau has already begun to do; do shipping records exist for that far back?).


about 12 years ago

Thank you so much for the comments. Here is some more info. The young man shown walking at the beginning is my great uncle A. Orville Dahl, born 1910. His brother (my grandpa) Henry was born 1905 -- he is shown sitting down between their parents at about 40 seconds. It makes sense that this was taken in the early 1930s, since Orville looks a bit older than 18. Also, this seems to be before my grandparents married in 1937. Orville was a botanist, as you can see from his interest in the flora of Isle Royale. He studied at the U of M. My grandfather worked at a camera shop and loved photography and film.


about 12 years ago

Wow wow wow!  Duluth Incline!!!  That is so neat.

None of us will be here in 80 years; I wonder what future Duluthians will be gleeful about seeing from the early 21st century here, and how/what they will see it on (today is my 48th birthday, so I'm feeling reflective).

Thanks for posting this, it's really great.

Tony D.

about 12 years ago

Way Cool! I'd've loved to have taken a cruise to Buffalo and back on the Hamonic, or its sister ships, the Huronic and the Noronic.

Interesting side note: a fourth vessel built for the Canadian Steamship Line, the Moronic, sank while in dry dock. 

Say, you history curious folks, mark May 1 down on your calendar: we're launching "Lost Duluth" and Zenith City Online (still under construction) at 7 p.m. at Norway Hall.

(Full disclosure: I stole that "Moronic" joke from my copy editor)

Dave P

about 12 years ago

This is truly fascinating. Thanks for posting it. A question out of left field: was your family related to a Rudolph Dahl who built a house in the Woodland area in 1924?

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