Duluth Public Library dedication riot

Does anyone remember that in the early 1970s there was a dedication for the groundbreaking of the new Duluth Public Library, and suddenly a group of war protesters, marching down Michigan Street, were raided by the police.

I was about 4 years old and remember seeing the cops using their billy clubs to best long-hair teenagers.

Does anyone remember any details?


Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

Something must be wrong in those details. The library opened at its current location in 1980, so any groundbreaking ceremony would have been in the very late 1970s and not the early '70s.


about 9 years ago

Ah, do not assume there is an error! The library groundbreaking WAS in 1970 or so, and then people suddenly realized the new library would obstruct the view of the Union Depot. The controversy raged for years, until a compromise was reached where the new library would be moved west a few feet, so we all could see the Depot from Superior Street. 

I'm trying to get more information on the Vietnam war protest that occurred on the same day. If it helps, I believe Dottie Becker was the MC of the groundbreaking ceremony.

Dave Lull

about 9 years ago

I sent a link to this posting to David Ouse, the supervisor of Public Services at the Duluth Public Library, and he sent me the following from one of the Duluth News Tribune "Bygones" columns:

Sept. 13, 1971 About a thousand Duluthians turned out yesterday to dedicate the Fifth Avenue West Mall in a ceremony at the west plaza below Superior Street. The ceremony was interrupted by an anti-war demonstration resulting in the arrest of 10 protesters.

Bob L

about 9 years ago

I think you may be referring to the 5th Ave West Mall dedication and thank you to one of the Marshal sisters. I was there sitting at the alley between the News Tribune and KDAL building. A small group of protesters were also in the area. Suddenly a Duluth squad pulled up and at least one officer jumped out and started to run at the protesters. After that it became a larger problem. I'll bet you can find a reference to it in the News Tribune.

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

From the Sept. 15, 1973, Duluth News Tribune:

10 Arrested at Mall Rites Disruption Ten persons were arrested Sunday afternoon during a demonstration by a group of young persons that disrupted dedication ceremonies for the Fifth Avenue Mall. The group, which included five juveniles, was taken into custody by police who called all available squads to the scene and used chemical spray Mace to maintain control. A police spokesman said later that the young persons -- carrying signs and pulling a papier mache mockup of uncertain design that included an American flag -- came marching up Superior Street during the dedication ceremonies. Police Inspector Raymond F. Peplinski told the group to get off the street, the spokesman said, but some refused and were arrested for disorderly conduct. One person, James Neumann, 24, of 511 N. 19th Ave. W., ran from the scene but was captured by officers. He was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Arrested besides Neumann and five juveniles were: Edward Zawicki, 19; Roger L. LaDoux, 28; Mark H. Slonim, 22; and Bruce C. McPherson, 19. All were charged with disorderly conduct.

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