Curiosity: Mysteries Near Boy Scout Landing

I have a curiosity about the history of our town and the surrounding area, and PDD has been a great source for finding answers and discovering new things. I hope someone can solve these mini mysteries, (at least they’re a mystery to me).

Out by Boy Scout Landing, there is this wedge-shaped foundation, (Search Google Maps for: 46.654688, -92.224903). It looks as if it was some sort of industry long since gone.

Here are 1940s and 1950s aerial photos of the area, clearly showing some sort of building(s), cars parked nearby, the railroad servicing it. Does anyone know what they did, when it was shut down, torn down, etc.?

Also, as seen in the 1940s and ’50s photos, (and still seen today), what is that square foundation in the river just across from this area? Just what on earth was that?

Bonus: I partially solved this one. I spotted these pilings in the river as well, and wondered what the heck they were. Sometime later, thanks to a link from here, (I’m pretty sure it was from here), of Albertson’s Map of the City of Duluth, St. Louis County, Minn., and Vicinity, circa 1891, I found it had been a railroad bridge that predates the Oliver Bridge crossing. It also looks like there were plans for that area that never came to be. I’d love to see photos of that bridge.


Tony D.

about 11 years ago

That was originally the site of Atlas Iron and Brass Works from 1890 to 1893, afterward the home of Western Steel Products and, beginning in 1935, a manufacturing site for the Coolerator Company. In 1958 Jeno Paulucci's Chun King foods moved into the facility, staying until 1973. C. S. Lukovsky, owner of Gary Builders Supply, purchased the complex and used it as a storage facility. The building was destroyed by fire in  1976. Coolerator also had a facility in West Duluth, later converted to a Shoppers City, about where the West Duluth Menards stands today.

Stop by Zenith City Online for more info. See the Zenith City History archive for "Metal Fabrication (1872-1985)" and "Miscellaneous Manufacturers." This information is also available in the book "Lost Duluth."

Aren't those aerial shots amazing? We used those to help track down two lost golf courses, one in Riverside (1919-1944) and one just west of the Lakewood Road (1931-1936).


about 11 years ago

Wasn't there also some sort of paint/varnish works occupying the area in question?

Tony D.

about 11 years ago

There very well could have been. If there's one thing I've learned researching history, it's that there is always more to a story.


about 11 years ago

As far as the square foundation is concerned, I am pretty sure that is an old bridge foundation. 

I recall when canoeing in the area that there are several other structures in a line that indicate it was for that purpose, but I can't seem to find them on google maps.


about 11 years ago

Thank you for the information & links!


about 11 years ago

Those square things out in the bay used to be a railroad tressel. When I worked for Wisconsin Woodchuck we were contracted by the DNR to salvage some of them in the winter. They are Tamarack posts.

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