Mystery Photo #21: What was Cook’s Place?

Cook's Place Duluth Cook's Place - Good for 10 cents in trade

For sale on a couple websites are tokens for Cook’s Place, 527 W. Michigan St., Duluth. What was Cook’s Place? The address puts it on the western end of where the Duluth Public Library stands today.

A listing on offers what appears to be a list of various names the business may have gone by over the years: “Moses S. Cook Saloon 1898-1912; Mayer J. Cook Saloon 1912-1916, Beverages & Restaurant 1920; Homer L. Cook Restaurant 1937-1942; J. Earl Cook Confectionery 1947-1958.”

That seems to raise some questions, though, like: How did so many different Cooks carry out 60 or more years of business in one spot? When was it called Cook’s Place? Is Mayer a first name? There was no “mayor” of Duluth named J. Cook, although Jay Cooke played a big part in Duluth’s history in the late 1800s.

What’s the deal with Cook’s Place?



about 10 years ago

I checked out my 1931 Duluth City Directory and it says that a Moses Cook at that time was President of Cook M & Sons, Inc. which was a men's clothing store, but that was at 405-407 West Superior. Moses also was involved in Cook Investment Company and lived at 211 N. 24th Ave. E. It also notes that Moses moved to Los Angeles around that time, however.

My 1958 Duluth City Directory shows that the clothing store was still on West Superior, but now called Cook's Duluth Inc.

In 1931 527 West Michigan was a restaurant owned by Erick C. Soder. In 1958 this address was Soder's Bar with the Grace Hotel at 527-1/2. So, at least from 1931 to 1958 the 527 West Michigan address was in the Soder and not Cook family.

So, not much help but thought I'd share!

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

PDD's Fairy Research Spy has turned up two clues from old Duluth News Tribune articles. The first is from the "Police Court News" column from June 20, 1912, and indicates Julius Cook was the proprietor of a saloon at the location in question. He seems to be an honest man who takes care of business.

Julius Cook DNT 20June1912 Police Court News

So, apparently "Mayer J. Cook" is Julius Cook, successor to Moses Cook.

The second clip is from Dec. 12, 1911, and gives the name of the business as "Cook's Saloon," but doesn't mention the owner. As usual with many of these stories, there is a character who blames "too much booze" for his downfall.

Potato Buyer DNT 12Dec1911
Too much booze was his downfall

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

Well, now this story has taken a turn for the unpleasant. From the Aug. 21, 1921 edition of the Duluth News Tribune:

Financial loss drives Duluth man to suicide - 21Aug1921

In the story below, from the Aug. 24 paper, we learn there were four Cook brothers: Barney, Moses, Julius and Mair. There were also three sisters: Etta, Annie and Hannah.

Estate of Julius Cook - 24Aug1921

And then things just got worse. 

Superior woman follows fiance to suicide grave - 25Aug1921

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

I did a quick peek in five city directories recently and it seems to dispute that these two joints were at 527 W. Michigan St.:

Homer L. Cook Restaurant 1937-1942
J. Earl Cook Confectionery 1947-1958

The 1930 city directory lists a restaurant run by Erick C. Soder at 527 W. Michigan St., along with Andrew B. Larson, barber. Soder's restaurant is also in the 1940 directory at that address.

In 1950 and 1960 Soder's Bar is listed at that address, run by Ewald E. and Mrs. Helen M. Soder, along with Linda Anderson. In 1960 the neighboring door -- 527-1/2 W. Michigan St. is listed as the rear entrance of the Grace Hotel.

There is no listing for 527 W. Michigan St. in 1970.

A few names of restaurant proprietors who operated next door at 529 and 529-1/2 W. Michigan St.: Amanda Suomala, Ole Lilletroen, Mrs. Warma Maki, Andrew Nygaard and Axel Franson.

In 1950, 531 W. Michigan St. is listed as the Seafarer's Int'l Union.

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

While working on the Summer of '65 series I came across an article noting that Soder's Bar had recently closed.

Duluth News Tribune | Aug. 20, 1965  

Board rules on Gateway bar licenses Owners of four former Gateway Urban Renewal district bars will not be granted a renewal of their liquor licenses until they find locations for their establishments. The Alcoholic Beverage Board made this ruling at a meeting Wednesday night. The bars are Green's Crystal Terrace, owned by Green's Inc.; Fifth Avenue Hotel bar, owned by Hubert Gagne; Soder's Bar, owned by Ewald Soder, and the Salena Bar, owned by Harold Hintsa. The City Council has approved the transfer of Green's to 1931 W. Superior St., but Mayor George D. Johnson vetoed the resolution. The veto has been challenged in a Duluth District Court action, but the matter is awaiting a court hearing. Hinsta seeks to transfer his license to the Stadium Restaurant, 3333 Carlton St., under a council-approved liquor rezoning ordinance. C. Russell McLean Jr., owner of the closed Holland Hotel, was permitted to renew his Gateway license because he still has a building in which a bar could be opened. The board recommended that Milton Richardson be granted an on-sale license for 21 W. Michigan St. A similar recommendation made earlier was not acted upon by the council. An on-sale license held by Paul Perovich for 18 E. First St. was not renewed. It also is sought by Norman McDonald, owner of the building at 18 E. First St. Perovich formerly rented space in the building for a bar. The license will be inactive for the time being. The board approved license renewals for 87 on-sale establishments. All recommendations of the board are subject to the approval of the council.

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

Historic Union Depot mid 20th Century

This image was posted today on the Historic Union Depot's Facebook page. It shows some of the bars and hotels across from the Depot in the mid-20th Century, but the far end of the block is difficult to see. One bar mentioned above that is clearly shown in the photo is Green's Crystal Terrace.

Cyndy Rogers

about 7 years ago

I found some matchbooks from the old Crystal Terrace. Can anyone tell me anything or give me a value? They are in unused perfect condition.

Paul Lundgren

about 7 years ago

Crystal Terrace matchbook

Here's a Crystal Terrace matchbook from the Duluth Matchbook Collection post. Apparently it was located at 508 W. Superior St.

What are old Duluth matchbooks worth? Almost nothing. There is someone out there somewhere who would pay a couple bucks for it, of course, but finding that person might be more effort than a couple bucks is worth.

Paul Lundgren

about 7 years ago

Crystal Terrace Nightclub Duluth

And here is a recently unearthed interior photo of ye olde Crystal Terrace.

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